More colour at work

Virginia creeper colour changes

I thought these pictures might be nice for you to see. Virginia creeper covers the castle walls and changes from lush green in the late spring to a lovely yet unbelievable deep red in September. In October it falls and we see only the hard grey stone of the Penrhyn Castle walls through the winter time. I wait for the spring again and so the season’s come and go. But the colours are worth waiting to see and so too the sound of the leaves clapping their hands.

Walnuts clothed in green

Here’s a walnut on one of the walnut trees not far from my workshop at Penrhyn Castle; in the grounds. Of course like many nuts, the nut casing looks like a chestnut outer, but the casings hide very different content between the nuts inside. But I like the colour of the leaves and the casing. I also like the leaf shape.





Horse chestnut brown is lovely 

Here you have a wonderful horse chestnut replete with casings horseshoed by the handle of my just-completed saw rework and restoration of the saw handle, which is stained and finished with a concoction I made from shellac and leather dye. I love the rich and deep chestnut colour. I try to imagine why such colour is hidden from view; bit like the colour inside every tree is different within the bark yet it cannot be scientifically explained.

Life cycles

The horse chestnut falls in the long grass and lies there through winter. The outer casing seems to start rotting as soon as it hits the ground and so the hard shell comes into contact with the elements. In a few weeks the seed nut nestles to its waist in the dirt and the deep grass leaves cover it from view. There the seed lies until winter is done. When the temperatures are right, the root shoots from the casing and penetrates the soil. The stem rises from the soil and soon the single palmate leaves unfurl to the sun. Looks a bit like an umbrella growing there. The stem grows rapidly and I stop. I look at the skinny stem and wonder if one day it might make some piece of woodwork; perhaps from a fallen limb. Fallen limbs make good product sometimes.

Oak inlay for the White House Pieces

When I made the pieces for the Cabinet Room of the White House, White House staff sent some wood taken from a dropped limb for us to cut inlay from. The tree was planted by President Harrison in the 1840’s and someone had the presence of mind to save the limbs just in case. Apparently, if you look at a $20 bill, the tree on the right is the tree president Harrison planted. we made inlay for the two cabinets I designed for the Permanent Collection in 2009. We turned knobs and used the wood for those inlays in the ebony knobs too. They were very beautiful knobs. I may post on this work some time perhaps.