Sunday, October 31, 2010

Working with LOVE and Letting Go

What a busy month it has been!
We actually took a break from the shop to show Lou's work at the Texas Mesquite Art Festival in Fredericksburg. We caught up with our artist friends, made so many great contacts and gave out more cards than we had actually planned for.  We are now the proud owners of the Rikon Mini Lathe that Wood Craft raffled off for the Texas Mesquite Association thanks to our dear client friend's George & Sheila R. who bought a ticket saying they would give it to Lou if they won it.  I'm the one that really wanted the mini lathe but that is a whole story for another time....

The Dancing Trees were safely delivered and installed in their recently constructed, private chapel home in Bandera.  You can read a bit more on that below.

Carolyn's Curves at the TFM Show
The Carolyn's Curves table was finished up in the nick of time and delivered to the Texas Furniture Makers Show in Kerrville as the final coat of oil and wax slowly dried and was quickly but lovingly rubbed in. As we headed home from the show drop off we received word that my great uncle Gene Walker (age 101) had passed away. He was an amazing man serving as Director of Wildlife Services for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and marrying his best friend's widow at age 85. He will be missed.

As I write this we attended the Texas Furniture Makers Show Award Ceremony and Reception and I'm proud to announce Lou's winning streak continues on, with a 3rd year in a row Best Texas Style Award. Not bad for a Jersey Boy! (MORE HERE)

Then to wrap it all up, a partnership between Lou Quallenberg Studios and Hill Country Mesquite in Nottinghamshire, England was developed with the agreement of sending the two Jackson Sister tables abroad to spread the word about both mesquite and Lou Quallenberg's Art Furniture Style.WOW! We are like worried parents as we let them go on this fabulous journey.

I wanted to touch a bit on the subject of letting go.  I can't speak for other artists but for Lou and I a sense of loss is felt each time we deliver a piece to it's new home or client.  So much time, love, energy and spirit is poured into each piece that the separation comes with a feeling of loss. I can't speak from experience but I believe it is much like the feeling a woman has just after giving birth.  The piece is made real and becomes it's own entity, set free into the world, no longer a part of you but still holding a piece of you inside.  It is at this point that hopefully another project or piece is there waiting in the wings to be made or the sense of loss can linger and turn into an emotional depression. (yep, been there.) We are becoming better at this letting go thing, but there are several pieces that remain in our possession that I suspect we have not been able to release emotionally and therefore are blocking the financial sale of them.

The Dancing Trees Project being one of Lou's largest pieces to date, was an incredible piece both in size and the time constraints placed on the project. Lou is not comfortable working quickly, he prefers to take time with his pieces often saying "you can't rush art." Most of his clients agree and wait patiently for their piece to be considered "done" by Lou's perspective.

We both truly believe the quote:
"Work is love made visible"  Kahlil Gibran. 
So when he agreed to take the project with the October 25th deadline we knew it would mean many late nights and no real time off until the piece was delivered.  When the client later requested that the following bible verse:
The wood burned bible verse on the back of Lou Quallenberg's Dancing Trees
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”(Col 3:23-24 NIV)
be added to the back of the Dancing Trees Lou thought "Oh no problem, we can just have a piece laser engraved and then embed it into the back."  WRONG! She said no, she wanted LOU to actually carve or burn it in.

Lou was so worried that he would make a mistake or that the results would be unprofessional and look like a five year old had done it. There would not be time to get the piece done and add the scripture, so it was agreed that he would add it at a later date.  Well Lou really does not like to do a job half way.  I have found that as you work with love in your heart and soul, the spirit takes over, and time actually has the ability to stretch. Sometimes this is referred to as being in the the zone. In this case it stretched enough for him to practice wood burning, Dremel and carving.

Lou Quallenberg's Dancing Trees glow during installation into their Chapel home.
He found that with such a short learning period, he produced the best results with the wood burning.  He also discovered that the wood burning worked better on an un-oiled surface, so he taped off one of his signature curves into a scroll like area and sanded it down. Then using a font that the client chose he burned the words one by one. Next he added the oil and wax finish.  The writing is inscribed on a lighter area with a desired ghosted effect to help aid in the visibility.

Lou Quallenberg's Dancing Trees were installed WITH the inscription because he worked with love in his heart and time stretched so the project would be complete.

Now we all know WHO did the stretching and had HIS hands all over this entire project from start to finish and for that we say a BIG thank you! We have been so very blessed.