Heart, Daniel D. Brown PhD, 2023

There is a man named Parag Chowdhury. He professes about hearts and viscera and other anatomical and physiological science out in California. It’s also his birthday this weekend.

I met Parag back at the small liberal arts Hendrix College in Arkansas back in the 90s. The older brother of my good friend Pritam (now an archaeologist), I’d mostly see him at parties – first in the dorms, and later at the “log cabin.” Parag was and is – hands down – the smartest, coolest motherfucker I’ve ever met. Incidentally, his influence over the years as he forged his path through science and life had a major impact on the trajectory of my own career in the biomedical sciences. So when his wife Julia @juleschools asked if I’d consider making something for his big bday, I was immediately all in.

I designed and built this heart over the course of two months from South American bloodwood (the heart chambers), African padauk (the oxygenated vessels), and Central
American purpleheart (the deoxygenated vessels), all cut by hand on a scrollsaw. Those coronary arteries were… not easy. The background is American curly maple. Obviously some artistic liberties were taken. The padauk and purpleheart will darken dramatically with UV/oxidation over time. But the bloodwood should remain red, which is why I chose it for the heart itself.

I got my PhD studying the genetics of cardiogenesis (heart development)… holy crap like 17 years ago now 😲. So the heart has additional importance to me, especially given that my own heart has… issues. For this reason I actually made 2 of them. One for Parag and one for me.

Nuthatch & Chickadee, Daniel D. Brown PhD, 2023

Nuthatch & Chickadee.
Handmade wall art to adorn our bedroom wall along with my previously made song sparrow.
All cut by hand with a scrollsaw and chisel from a variety of wood species. No paint or stain. See my previous posts for more details and the story highlight on my profile, which documented the whole process.

Sir Rano Ham(ster), Daniel D. Brown PhD, 2022

This is “Sir Rano Ham,” the beloved fuzzy little hamster-son of our friends Hailey and Mitch (@haileyherdlinger@roguetripusa). @tam_a_ryn and I recently pet-sat him while they went on vacation for 2 weeks. They had told us that he was slowing down, having some troubles, and might not have long on this earth. He was ~4 years old and they typically live 2-3 years. Wouldn’t you know it, he decided to shuffle off this mortal wheel in his sleep at our house, literally as they were hours away coming home to retrieve him. Needless to say, we were all pretty devastated. So obviously I had to immortalize him in wood.

Handcut with a scrollsaw and built from mahogany, honey locust heartwood (pinkish) and sapwood (whitish), holly (regular and blue-spalted), walnut, apple, and wenge.

Please note: I do not take commissions.

Frick Gatehouse, Daniel D. Brown PhD, 2022

If you live in Pittsburgh, you know this iconic structure. It’s the Frick Gatehouse that serves as one of the entrances into our gorgeous Frick Park. My buddy Joseph Parente (@josephparente) restored its roof.

He also fixed our roof twice, purely out of the kindness of his heart. Last year he came out and patched our roof after he saw a story I posted complaining about our leak. The first time he fixed it, we hadn’t even met in person – only through IG! Obviously he’s a truly great person. He mainly does cool historic roofing/restoration using things like fancy copper work that I know nothing about. So I decided a long while back that he needed a wooden artwork in appreciation. It took me forever to figure out what to make, but once I saw him work on this structure, I had the answer! I gather that he put a lot into landing this gig and it seemed like something he was particularly proud of.
Unfortunately, the bridge next to the gatehouse collapsed last year, making national news in the process (it happened literally hours before the President’s infrastructure bill speech*). Swipe to see the Pres in front of it. Miraculously, the gatehouse was totally unharmed! But it also meant I could no longer get to it for photos. So this piece is based on fuzzy photos I found online.
Made mostly from local wood scavenged myself – mostly storm-felled sycamore from nearby Schenley Park. It also has a bit of nearly extinct black stinkwood from an antique South African chair. Also holly, walnut, apple (thanks @afonticiella), crabapple, elm, wenge, sapele, basswood, and curly maple. Obviously the green is dyed. All the rest is natural. With copper foil on some pieces.
I hope you enjoy it, brother!

*political comments will be deleted/blocked. IG and art is where I come to escape all that. General comments on the state of our bridges is acceptable 😂

Stormtrooper #2, Daniel D. Brown PhD, 2022

My IG friends Megan and Austin (@magicalmeg90 and @rebelartdesign) were lucky enough to attend this years Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, CA. Out of the kindness of her heart, Megan asked me if I wanted a silly “I hate sand” Anakin beach towel from the convention after I commented on her story. She quickly shipped it from Cali and cemented herself in my “good people” book (swipe to end). In return, I made her a little wooden stormtrooper helmet artwork, using the first SW design I ever cut. I gave that first one away years ago to my buddy Jordan @scrapforge, so I decided to make myself one as well.
Theirs is made from African padauk and purpleheart. Mine (shown in vid) is padauk and wenge. Handcut on scrollsaw. I expect the contrast on hers will pop a little more with time as the padauk darkens.

What’s funny is I had already intended on making her a small stormtrooper magnet. But after her act of kindness, she got an upgrade.
May the force be with y’all!