Blue Jay, Daniel D. Brown, Ph.D. 2020

I finally finished this little blue jay intarsia piece, trying something a little different this time by experimenting with alcohol inks (there are no blue woods as there are no blue pigments in birds – look it up). I have to thank the amazing artist @ingrainedmoments_woodcraft for recommending @chestnutproducts Spirit Stains. Her work is gorgeous!
This piece was inspired by our new bird friend “Hunter”, who has provided practically a David Attenborough-level of wildlife backyard drama during this pandemic. He became relatively habituated to @tamarynart and I, and would “ask” us for nuts multiple times a day. Several times he appeared to “thank” us with a post-nut squawk (clear communication of some sort), and it seems like he may have even tried to barter a few times with cherries he brought us from a nearby tree (taking the nuts, leaving the cherry). Anthropomorphizing aside, he’s an incredibly clever bird. He mated and raised at least 1 chick. Sadly, he also slaughtered and ate Freddie Chirpury the song sparrow’s chicks (hence the name Hunter). This is nature’s way. Very little in nature comes without a mix of beauty, triumph, and tragedy.

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I finally finished this little blue jay intarsia piece, trying something a little different this time by experimenting with alcohol inks (there are no blue woods as there are no blue pigments in birds – look it up). I have to thank the amazing artist @ingrainedmoments_woodcraft for recommending @chestnutproducts Spirit Stains. Her work is gorgeous! This piece was inspired by our new bird friend “Hunter”, who has provided practically a David Attenborough-level of wildlife backyard drama during this pandemic. He became relatively habituated to @tamarynart and I, and would “ask” us for nuts multiple times a day. Several times he appeared to “thank” us with a post-nut squawk (clear communication of some sort), and it seems like he may have even tried to barter a few times with cherries he brought us from a nearby tree (taking the nuts, leaving the cherry). Anthropomorphizing aside, he’s an incredibly clever bird. He mated and raised at least 1 chick. Sadly, he also slaughtered and ate Freddie Chirpury the song sparrow’s chicks (hence the name Hunter). This is nature’s way. Very little in nature comes without a mix of beauty, triumph, and tragedy. *** #scrollsawart #woodintarsia #woodart #pittsburghwoodworking #madeinpittsburgh #bluejay #bluejayart

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I started a new project. Inspired by the neighborhood blue jays we’ve befriended with almonds, and by the work of @ingrainedmoments_woodcraft. I’m doing something a little different this time. I’m gonna at least attempt to color the wood with alcohol inks. I have NO idea how this will look in the end and I won’t be shocked if it doesn’t turn out how I want. But that’s what experiments are for! Note: some of the pieces are so small, I actually had to cut the overall shape in luaun ply just to hold the pieces together while I shape them. They kept falling and going everywhere. So that’s not the actual background I’ll use. I’m making the bird from this sycamore branch I found and milled up last weekend. #intarsia #scrollsawart #birdart #bluejays

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Darth Maul, Daniel D. Brown, Ph.D., 2020

“Darth Maul”, 2020, wooden intarsia.
All natural wood colors, zero paint or stain. Maul was cut on a scrollsaw, and the frame was mostly handcarved with chisels. Made from 11 species of wood: padauk, wenge, walnut, chakte viga, mahogany, purpleheart, redheart, yellowheart, basswood, holly, and ebony. See below for more information. The process was documented in Instagram stories highlighted on my profile.

Darth Maul was a character I didn’t find particularly interesting until Dave Filoni and his team expanded on his story, character, and motivations in Clone Wars. I thought it was pretty sweet how for the final season they brought in both the original Maul @iamraypark and his voice @switwer1. There was 1 particular scene that when I saw it, I immediately knew I needed to make an artwork based on it. Luke @cyclocrosscutter had the same idea, and actually brought it up to me first. One day I sent him a vid of me working on the design and he replied with an identical vid happening at the same time. From there it snowballed into a competition between me, Luke, and Justin @scrollsawscribbler to see who would make the better Wooden Maul piece. They’re both incredibly talented artists/woodworkers, despite this obviously thorough trouncing (there’s your set up, Luke). As I’m sure you will see, Luke will soon claim victory with some heavy-handed gimmickry. We’ll see if he can actually pull it off. If he does, I will bow down in defeat. Justin’s version is pretty dang sweet, though he had significantly less time to devote given he’s neck deep in actual $ commissions. No one can touch Justin in his unique style.

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“Darth Maul”, 2020, wooden intarsia. All natural wood colors, zero paint or stain. Maul was cut on a scrollsaw, and the frame was mostly handcarved with chisels. Made from 11 species of wood: padauk, wenge, walnut, chakte viga, mahogany, purpleheart, redheart, yellowheart, basswood, holly, and ebony. Darth Maul was a character I didn’t find particularly interesting until Dave Filoni and his team expanded on his story, character, and motivations in Clone Wars. I thought it was pretty sweet how for the final season they brought in both the original Maul @iamraypark and his voice @switwer1. There was 1 particular scene that when I saw it, I immediately knew I needed to make an artwork based on it. Luke @cyclocrosscutter had the same idea, and actually brought it up to me first. One day I sent him a vid of me working on the design and he replied with an identical vid happening at the same time. From there it snowballed into a competition between me, Luke, and Justin @scrollsawscribbler to see who would make the better Wooden Maul piece. They’re both incredibly talented artists/woodworkers, despite this obviously thorough trouncing (there’s your set up, Luke). As I’m sure you will see, Luke will soon claim victory with some heavy-handed gimmickry. We’ll see if he can actually pull it off. If he does, I will bow down in defeat. Justin’s version is pretty dang sweet, though he had significantly less time to devote given he’s neck deep in actual $ commissions. No one can touch Justin in his unique style. There will be a separate post of all 3 pieces once Luke is done with his. … #clonewars #starwars #starwarsfanart #darthmaul #scrollsawart #starwarsfan #pittsburghwoodworking #pittsburghartist #woodintarsia #madeinpittsburgh #makergeeks

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Hummer, Daniel D. Brown, Ph.D., 2020

“Hummer”, 2020, wood intarsia.
I made this little hummingbird piece as a “quick and easy” palette cleanser after my previous incredibly tedious bee project. The main reason I designed this specific piece (besides being a mental health exercise) was to compare it to a similar work I made 3 years ago when I first learned intarsia (swipe to the final pic). It’s funny because I thought my original hummingbird was pretty cool back when I designed it. Looking at it now, it seems just ridiculously amateurish. I call that progress! Hopefully in a few years, this will look equally stupid (though I’m sure I’ve reached diminishing returns).
The new piece was intentionally made of a more chaotic mix of grains and colors. I just wanted to have fun with it and make it kinda weird. It’s constructed from 16 species: canarywood, bocote, walnut, black palm, chakta viga, leopardwood, katalox, holly, cherry, redheart, yellowheart, olive, honey locust, maple, crab apple, and elm.

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“Hummer”, 2020, wood intarsia. I made this little hummingbird piece as a “quick and easy” palette cleanser after my previous incredibly tedious bee project. The main reason I designed this specific piece (besides being a mental health exercise) was to compare it to a similar work I made 3 years ago when I first learned intarsia (swipe to the final pic). It’s funny because I thought my original hummingbird was pretty cool back when I designed it. Looking at it now, it seems just ridiculously amateurish. I call that progress! Hopefully in a few years, this will look equally stupid (though I’m sure I’ve reached diminishing returns). The new piece was intentionally made of a more chaotic mix of grains and colors. I just wanted to have fun with it and make it kinda weird. It’s constructed from 16 species: canarywood, bocote, walnut, black palm, chakta viga, leopardwood, katalox, holly, cherry, redheart, yellowheart, olive, honey locust, maple, crab apple, and elm. … #pittsburghwoodworking #madeinpittsburgh #woodworking #handmade #scrollsaw #scrollsawart #intarsia #woodintarsia #woodworker #handmade #woodporn #garageworkshop #hummingbird #birdart #homedecor #custommade #maker #DoItYourself #imadethis #makersmovement #covid19

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Apis coronavirus, Daniel D. Brown, Ph.D., 2020

“Apis coronavirus”, Daniel D. Brown, 2020, wood and resin.
Constructed from mulberry (milled from my backyard), chakta viga, walnut, yellowheart, katalox, and epoxy resin. All natural wood colors. No paint, stains, or dyes. The resin is clear and the “honey” color derives exclusively from the underlying wood. See below for more information. The entire process was documented in Instagram stories highlighted on my profile.

I started this project at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic shutdown specifically because I knew it was going to be tedious and require hours of concentration, which I knew I’d need to distract from the stress we’re all feeling to various degrees. It ended up being even more time-consuming than anticipated and I spent almost 3 weeks on it, including at least several full workdays on the weekends. I initially designed it in Adobe Illustrator. The 12 bees were made as fully inlayed intarsia, then shaped (via @kutzall burrs), followed by scrolling and shaping of all 72 legs – shaped twice because I wasn’t happy with them after the first round. The wings ended up even more challenging than expected, requiring a couple trials to get them acceptable enough. Thin resin (slightly tinged with pigment) was poured over a crumpled acetate sheet, the wing veins hand drawn, and each wing cut out by dremel to avoid shattering. They were then sanded and shellacked.
Each leg and wing was individually attached with @starbondadhesives CA glue – also a more difficult task than expected due to the fact that I couldn’t just spray accelerator everywhere as it ruins both the epoxy and shellac finishes. The honeycomb and bee bodies were finished with @odiesoil, appendages with shellac, and frame with @generalfinishes polyurethane.

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Now a video… “Apis coronavirus”, Daniel D. Brown, 2020, wood and resin. Constructed from mulberry (milled from my backyard), chakta viga, walnut, yellowheart, katalox, and epoxy resin. All natural wood colors. No paint, stains, or dyes. The resin is clear and the “honey” color derives exclusively from the underlying wood. I started this project at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic shutdown specifically because I knew it was going to be tedious and require hours of concentration, which I knew I’d need to distract from the stress we’re all feeling to various degrees. It ended up being even more time-consuming than anticipated and I spent almost 3 weeks on it, including at least several full workdays on the weekends. I initially designed it in Adobe Illustrator. The 12 bees were made as fully inlayed intarsia, then shaped (via @kutzall burrs), followed by scrolling and shaping of all 72 legs – shaped twice because I wasn’t happy with them after the first round. The wings ended up even more challenging than expected, requiring a couple trials to get them acceptable enough. Thin resin (slightly tinged with pigment) was poured over a crumpled acetate sheet, the wing veins hand drawn, and each wing cut out by dremel to avoid shattering. They were then sanded and shellacked. Each leg and wing was individually attached with @starbondadhesives CA glue – also a more difficult task than expected due to the fact that I couldn’t just spray accelerator everywhere as it ruins both the epoxy and shellac finishes. The honeycomb and bee bodies were finished with @odiesoil, appendages with shellac, and frame with @generalfinishes polyurethane. … #scrollsaw #scrollsawart #woodworking #woodintarsia #woodart #woodsculpture #madeinpittsburgh #pittsburghwoodworking #honeybee #beeart

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You do NOT want to get stung by one of these.

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Midway point post: honeybees! 🐝 If you haven’t been following my stories, I’ve started this little wooden bee artwork. I still have quite a ways to go – I’m still working on getting a wing prototype I like. And have barely considered how I’ll make the legs. The bees are going to be pseudo-3D, but obviously not realistic. I’m walking a line between both stylistic and realistic and 2D/3D, and honestly not sure how it will actually look in the end. The main reason I started this piece was because it was obvious it was going to be an incredibly tedious one. It’s turned out to be even more so 😂. But in times like these, it’s nice to be able to zone out in intense concentration on my hands while escaping into a good audiobook. #woodintarsia #scrollsawart #woodart #beeart #honeybee #pittsburghwoodworking

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Apprentice & Master, Daniel D. Brown, Ph.D., 2020

“Apprentice & Master”
(Ahsoka Tano & Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader)

Did you know that Anakin Skywalker had a young Padawan learner before his tragic fall to the Dark Side? If not, you probably haven’t watched “Clone Wars” or “Rebels” (spoiler warning). Thanks to a couple follower’s suggestions, I thought I’d give a little explanation of this piece below and why I chose it for the folks who haven’t watched those shows.

First off, my favorite character in the Star Wars Universe MAY just be Ahsoka Tano. Definitely top 5. She starts off as a plucky, slightly annoying, and initially unwanted 14 yr old apprentice to Anakin and ends up over the course of both TV series as a wise, badass, saber-wielding champion and rebel. Thanks to the stellar voice acting of @ashleyeckstein and the creative mastermind @dave.filoni , her story arc is incredibly well-developed (and hopefully not quite over). Her complex relationship with Anakin makes his eventual downfall all the more tragic. Anakin’s slow decent from true hero to corrupted villain and its emotional impact is made believable by the outstanding work of @mattlanter in a way that I don’t think the prequel movies ever really pulled off. I, like many, initially resisted watching because I thought it was a “cartoon for kids”. But once I got into it, I found some of the storytelling to be among the best in Star Wars. So, this artwork is based on a few stills from my second favorite scene from Rebels (guess my first?): the battle in which Ahsoka realizes that Darth Vader is none other than her beloved former Master. Noooooooooo!
Cut by hand on the scrollsaw, it was constructed from 16 species of wood (no paint or stain) in “intarsia” style over ~3 weeks. Their names in Aurebesh were burned into the frame, along with the Fulcrum, Rebel, Jedi, and Empire insignia.
Species: wenge, katalox, ebony, walnut, maple, chakte viga, crab apple, purpleheart, redheart, yellowheart, padauk, aspen, holly, yew, & basswood.