All posts by woody

Babies Everywhere!

Much like a few years back when all of our Saskatoon friends were done with the weddings and moved onto the baby making, it would seem that the westerly winds have brought the infant-bearing instinct to Vancouver.  If I look back at my fond memories of being 1-month old, I imagine being surround by wooden pull-toys and hand-cranked automatons that tortured my living soul for not having the innate gift of bipedal movement or…well, any motor skills whatsoever.  So what do you make for the drooling individual aged 0 to 1?

Continue reading

Slitherin’ Slytherin

I have finally re-immersed myself back into the Google-verse of Sketchup!  I spent a beautiful Saturday afternoon in my fortress of pseudo-solitude, Netflix on the peripheral running early-century sci-fi and classic Broken Lizard comedies, with a driving focus to design my new workshop.  I hope to have a preliminary set of drawings in the next couple weeks that I can present to the District for my application to the Board of Variance…so I will, at last, be able to explain to them why I shouldn’t be required to conform to their “laws.”

However, as the dinner hour approached, it began to feel like I was pushing the societally-accepted limits of the lazy PJ-wearing Saturday.  So I took a break from blueprinting to reaquaint myself with a failed toy experiment from last week.  Keep in mind that it is purely coincidence that this toy happens to fall upon the now-defunct weekly toy schedule…rest assured that the focus of this month will be buckling down with the garage design.
Continue reading

Peking Ducks

With a population of only 9000 residents, the small Russian village of Bogorodskoye is still famously known for its hand-carved wooden toys that bear the village’s namesake:  the Bogorod toy, a craft that has been generationally passed down over the last 500 years.

Oddly, most of the websites I found referring to the traditional Bogorod toys seem to indicate that they are ONLY made in Bogorodskoye and nowhere else!  Accurate or not, it’s as if our fellow comrades were permitted to build these playful wonders, but ONLY within the confines of their tiny village.  I would argue that it bears some resemblance to the questionable circumstances surrounding Eduard Khil and his “offendingly western-positive” lyrics that led to Mr. Trololo.  Trolololo-lo-lololo-lololo…

Continue reading

Caterpillar Automaton

I’ve always found automata strangely fascinating.  Yes, it’s a fairly broad topic that can describe any self-operating machine, but I’m primarily talking about the wooden ones.  The kind of engineering delights that use cams and gears, cranks and crank shafts, levers and linkages!  It could be as simple as a wind-powered rooftop whirligigs — yup, that’s it’s actual name — that animates a lumberjack chopping wood.  Or on the opposite end of complexity spectrum of automata, amazing kinetic sculptures that artists like Reuben Margolin or Theo Jansen design!
Continue reading

DSC_2652

Ape Climber

This is the first of the aforementioned “weekly prototype” initiative…the Climbing Ape.  It is a variation I saw on the Internets, based on the traditional folk toy, the double-corded climber.

That’s a funny looking ape!  Hey, this is wood class, not art class.  So my ability to cut an ape in wood was largely debilitated by my inability to draw an ape on paper.  My first sketch was loosely based on King Louie from the Jungle Book…but I suppose if you squish your eyes around, you could see some semblance of Donkey Kong with a hint of Homer Simpson.
Continue reading

Why Am I Here?

I am apathy surrounded by ambition and self-improvement.

The “30 Day Challenge”…the latest craze on the Internets promoted by the bloggisphere and Facebook and Twitter and whatever social networking tool you fancy, driven by a fleet of users seeking new experiences and new beginnings.

The premise is that you commit to trying something new every day for 30 days and tell the world about it…like having the traditional New Years resolution, but failing at the end of the first day, then repeating for the next 30 days.  This seems like a lot of work.
Continue reading