Saturday, November 17, 2012

Tools of the Trade Show Pt.2

The University of Oregon book store, called the Duck Store even though there were no actual ducks for sale anywhere, has two floors. Part 1 was just the ground floor stuff. Now, we'll show you the lower floor - for the most part.

But before we go downstairs let's take a bit more of a look upstairs. Marker art is really big nowadays
One of the finest marker and watercolor artists we've seen is Brandi York. Actually she is masterful in many media. Brandi is the sign painter for Trader Joe's. This portrait of a friend of hers is on her post card and the haunting gaze of this girl always attracts attention.
We don't know this girl's name but people would stop and look at the portrait and ask about her. Some would ask if she was OK or what she was so sad about. Brandi assures us that she is fine and was simply sitting for a portrait.

And Manga marker artist Marianne Walker was demonstrating the line of Copic Markers. She also worked with Bee Papers of Beaverton Oregon to develop a line of Aquabee paper especially for markers. Most papers will suck markers dry with a vengeance but not this new paper thanks to Marianne. Check out her blog.

And since we are now downstairs, this is pastel artist Dan Chen and one of the best. He specializes in wildlife but also does other subjects. He was working on this painting on Wednesday.

Dan paints in pastels and pastel pencil on industrial abrasive paper. He likes the colors and the way it works with the pastels. We have subsequently found that a couple of abrasive companies make a line just for pastel artists. Here is the finished work.
And this is a chicken that lives with a friend of Dan's. He describes the pigeon as the chicken's girlfriend. Dan says they are inseparable friends.
All in all we had a great time at the Tools of the Trade Show. And many thanks to the University of Oregon Duck Store for their help. The weather was wonderful and Eugene is a great place to get a fantastic breakfast - thanks to Studio One Cafe for helping us wake up each day and to the Campus Inn for a very pleasant and restful stay (thanks for the use of the chair, Sheila).
The Duck Store is open to the public and they carry the Orbital Easel - that's the important thing.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tools of the Trade Show Pt.1

Our sales rep team in Seattle got us into the 31st Annual Tools of the Trade art supply show. It was at the Duck Store which is the book store at the University of Oregon in Eugene.
We had a tiny space right inside the front door. Even so, Hilary was able to sit and draw and do calligraphy. People really loved watching her do that. It helps that we developed the tripod base.
RP was at the "Official" booth farther back in the store. Cindy Black of KC Sales Group in Seattle helped out and thanks to her.
The featured artist of the show was a watercolorist named Ron Stocke who was there with his wife Ursala. Ursala is an oil painter. Check out their works and check out the video on Ron's Workshops/Videos page. Ron did the painting for this year's poster in the first picture.
Ron has been featured in the national magazines and on videos for Graham watercolors. His work is full of life and light and really draws you in. I was going back time and again to watch Ron work. Ron and Ursala often travel to Europe and Ron will usually paint en plain aire. His sketchbook is really something to see.
 There was a 25% off sale during the show and we stocked up on paper. There was a giant pile of Aquabee paper in the middle of the floor including a nice paper made of hemp. Well, this is Eugene.
Calligraphy instructor and author Marilyn Reaves was right around the corner from us. She is an expert on pointed brush calligraphy and was working mostly with gouache.
It's always a real pleasure to watch a real master at work!
Ok, that's part one. Part two is in the works and our crack web team is on it (well, it's really me, Muggins here that does it so maybe crackPOT is a better term).
Stay tuned...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

2012 Woodcraft Woodworker's Show

?The Weekend of October 6th Woodcraft Seattle had a big sale and Woodworking show. They do this because the big national Woodworking Shows quit coming to Seattle.
There were lots of woodworking displays and demonstrations. Some are shown below.?
Say you want to do woodworking but can't get a shop full of wood - just use pre-made wood. Everything in this display is made of Popsicle sticks, tongue depressors, coffee stirrers and things like that. Amazing!
Michael Dresdner explains the technique used to make that wood pretzel thing in the foreground.
It is not steamed, soaked, or heated. Michael retired as a design engineer for Martin Guitars and lives in Seattle.
Things were hopping in the store. Store owners Ron and Michele? were running around just as fast and hard as the rest of the staff. They are all great folks there.
 It WAS Seattle after all and if there is one thing more prevelant than coffee, it's music. And the Seattle SeaChordsmen provided the melodies for the day.
Seattle Woodcraft is one of the highest selling stores in the country and it's no wonder. They have everything you need, including wuden skwares and sirkulls.
A lot of people made pens for the first time.

 Patty from SawStop shows that the safest saw in the world does indeed cut wood very well.

You can't see it happen when you see it happen - so to speak - but Patty demonstrated the SawStop feature with a hot dog as a substitute for her finger. You literally can not cut yourself!
We all had a great time, sold a few things and met some amazing people from around the world. Thanks to Ron and Michelle Hall for the great time and the good food.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Colored Pencil Workshop with Gary Greene

Sunday August 5th we at Grip-All Jaws went with our Orbital Easels to a workshop at the headquarters of art supply manufacturer Daniel Smith in Seattle. The workshop was on Creating Radiant Flowers in Colored Pencil and was presented by Gary Greene, probably the world's preeminent colored pencil artist and instructor and author of several books. Check out Gary's website. We won't even go to the home page but directly to the gallery. Yes, every image is colored pencil.
Gary spoke at some length about the unique virtues of colored pencil as a medium. We were able to explore the translucence of colored pencil and the ability to lay color on color and blend. Way cool!

We got lots of one on one individual instruction and Gary was generous about sharing his philosophy, his expertise, and his skill with each of us.We all learned a great deal and had fun doing it. The young lady at the right, Melissa Davis, was far and away the best of us.
We were all doing the same subject and this is Melissa's example. We learned about pencil types, papers, stroke techniques, colors, blending, burnishing, you name it.
We had taken the Orbital Easels to field test the new desktop base.
The new base is a non-skid table mount that doesn't require clamps. We had a great time but more importantly the new Orbital Easel base is a hit. By the way, that large painting at the back is about 3 feet wide and is colored pencil. Gary said it took more than 300 hours to complete.

More news about the Orbital Easel and the new base coming up.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Tilt-Swivel Base Repair Trick

We were experimenting with one of our Tilt-Swivel bases. We use them in the Orbital Holding System and the Orbital Easel. But we came across a slight problem with one of them. Mind you, we have never heard of a customer having a problem, but at Grip-All Jaws we like to stay ahead of the curve.

The problem is, there is a little pressure disc inside that the clamping screw pushes against to keep the head tight. We found that if you unscrew the clamp too far and bounce the base around a bit, that pressure disc can slip out of place and the clamp won't tighten properly. We fix them here before we ship them out but if you ever notice that your clamping screw doesn't hold tight enough, you may have a "slipped disc". Also, the knob will tend to bind against the housing. At any rate, it's an easy fix you can do yourself. Here's how:
The first thing to do is take the base off the clamp board. Then take the screw knob all the way out.

Turn the unit upside down and remove the three screws that hold the retaining ring.

The ball falls right out and that's what we want.
With a 3/8 wrench, take off either of the acorn nuts that hold the ball together.
Separate the ball and there is the little offender - the pressure disc. If it hasn't fallen out all ready, take it out of the split clamp.

With the pressure disc removed, put a dollop of non-hardening adhesive in the corner of the split clamp. You don't need much. We use Liquid Nails Silicone Adhesive but you could use common rubber cement. But stay away from hardening glues like wood glues are Elmers.
You can't really see it that well, but the pressure disc is curved and you have to reinstall it with the curve up.
The last point is when you reinstall the retaining ring, make sure that the ridge around the edge is down and against the housing. This one is upside down to show the difference, this side goes down.

Then reassemble the whole thing and off you go. Happy carving!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Calligraphy at Hogwarts West

The Portland Society for Calligraphy was the sponsoring group for the 31st Gathering of Lettering Artists that was The International Calligraphy Conference on Tuesday June 26. It was held at Reed College in Portland, Oregon under the auspices of Calligraphy Northwest. This is a big deal. Reed College is a century-old temple of learning nestled in the trees of the Woodstock District of Portland -one of the oldest parts of the city.
The night before the show we went to the famous Powell's Books in downton PDX and they had a show of local calligraphers' works.
It was in a corner of the ground floor near the Orange Room. And you have to agree with Rosanne Rosanadanna, it is always somethin'.

Powell's is the largest new and used bookstore in the world. If you have never experienced Powell's City of Books, it's four floors, at least, in what used to be a car dealership building. It's an entire block on Burnside and people like Chris, above, are not only helpful but can be essential. That info booth is just inside the door and you can get a map to the place (you'll need it). Great coffee shop in house BTW!

The conference drew 500 attendees and dozens of instructors and teachers from all over the world. We were in the student union building with about 20 other one-day vendors. Check out the cool sculptures hanging from the rafters. They're made of balloons! Chihuly on the cheap!

Grip-All Jaws was specifically invited to this event by the organizers and they had us right next to the main entrance! We, of course were showcasing the Orbital Easel. Between classes and during lunch and dinner, people came in and tried out this new thing they had not seen before.
We did pretty well and had a great repsonse. One of the attendees said that this new tilting and swiveling easel was what everybody was talking about in the classes. As one student put it, "This thing is all the buzz." Cool!

One of the vendors there was truely amazing! Tim Leigh is a master calligrapher and one of the nicest people in the world. He was there selling his folded nib pens. Check out his web site for the whole story. Calligraphy is a right-handed persuit but Tim is left-handed. He realized one day that, lefty or not, a 45 degree slant is the same right-side up or upside down. So he taught himself to write upside down - and backwards! Check out the video of him doing it.

We have to say that we had not had such a good time as we had here in Portland. The organizers and tireless volunteers with Calligraphy Northwest were just the best. Check out the Facebook Page. This conference was efficient, well organized, and the people were more helpful than we could have imagined. And to the lovely and talented Angelina who ferried us to and from the parking lot in the funky, steam-powered golf cart, a special thank you. To all the great folks with Calligraphy Northwest, a campus-sized thank you from all of us here at Grip-All Jaws.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Yaahr! Yo ho, me hearties, yo ho!

Grip-All Jaws went to Rusty Scupper Pirate Daze in Westport, Wa June 22, 23, and 24. Saleswise, it proved - well - a complete failure. But in truth, the only people who sold anything were the food vendors. It also rained and the wind blew pretty much the whole time. But on Sunday the sun came out for a while and every Roger was feeling more jolly.
Our very own Lady Hilary aka "Crescent Wench" talking Orbital Easel with a couple o' scalliwags that were there Sunday. Maid Marla and Lickety Split.
These guys threw together a pirate song group and went up and down the street singing them. When they got to our end, there was a bit of a disagreement over what the words were. Swords were drawn but in a most un-pirate way they reached agreement and no blood was spilled.
T'weren't all pirates, to be sure. What's a pirate festival without saucy wenches? These girls were doing belly dancing all weekend - even in the rain.
The guy on the right had some ropes on sticks and a bucket of bubble stuff. This lash up made hundreds of bubbles and everybody liked them.

Like the song says, "...the wind was bad and the rain was strong..." But people made a good time out of it anyway.
We were off to Portland the next day...