Home Shop Talk

Category: Shop Talk

blog posts

Contemporary, Traditional, Creative, Western, Organic, Wild … how we experienced the Western Design Conference

Welllp … the Western Design Conference 2008 is over — done — fini — and boy are we tired! Tim and I haven’t had to stand on our feet for that many days and hours in a long time.

Tired, yes … but good-tired. Just moments after we finished loading the truck and saying goodbye to the many wonderful folks we met at WDC, I snapped this shot our hotel:

Later in the week, I will post more about the conference: photos and observations of the conference as a whole, as well as some I snapped of some of the new friends we met here in Jackson, Wyoming. More than anything else, I appreciated meeting some of the amazing artists and craftspeople in the west. Check back in a couple of days when Tim and I have a chance to decompress and maybe I’ll have a photo of you and your artwork here on ShopTalk. — Maureen

Western Design Conference: September 2008

© 2008 Tim Carney

We are heading off tomorrow for the Western Design Conference in Jackson, Wyoming. I am looking forward to finding new venues for my handcrafted furniture, through meeting folks at the Jackson gathering.

Thank you to my wife and family, friends and customers for your support and the opportunity to practice my art and bring satisfaction and enjoyment to you for years to come. Maybe I’ll see some of my customers and readers at the conference


Sushi Table doubles as a Coffee Table

My live-edge walnut and bloodwood sushi table will be one of two of my pieces featured in the Western Design Conference in Jackson Wyoming. The conference takes place September 3 through 6th. Open to the public September 4th – 6th. Please come visit us at the conference!

I made this piece with the idea in mind that it could be used for Japanese-style dining (sitting on floor pillows) for four. The table includes 4 hand-carved sushi plates with chopsticks + chopstick rests as well as floor pillows and a jade-green ceramic sake set. The plates, chopsticks and rests are made by me.

Sushi Table above, © 2008 by timcarney.

or … a “Green Tea Table:”

Thank you to anziAprico for the use of your photo


Holter Museum 15th Annual Art Auction

Tim donated one of his one-of-a-kind live edge tables to the Holter Museum 15th Annual Art Auction & Gala.

Prairie Coulee by Tim Carney of Helena Montana

There are many excellent works of art to be auctioned in support of the ongoing programs at the Holter, including works by Rudy Autio, Jennifer Bottomly O’Looney, Dana Boussard, Chip Clawson, Russell Chatham, Sarah Jaeger, Nan Parsons …. too many to mention all of them here. Head over to this link to see all of the works for auction.

The Auction and Gala will be from 5:30-10 p.m. on Saturday, June 28, 2008. Please come and support the arts in Helena, even if you don’t plan to purchase anything at the auction. The more folks in the audience, the merrier the auction! If you don’t live in Helena, but are going to be in town that evening, please consider attending the auction. It should be a fun evening.

Ticket and Gala information

“Prairie Coulee” part of Holter Museum’s Annual Art Auction

I helped Tim deliver his walnut coffee table to the Holter Museum today. He is donating this piece to the Holter’s 15th Annual Art Auction fundraiser. The exhibit is still being set up, but it looks fantastic so far! I want that polar bear painting on the wall behind Tim (left.)

All auction pieces will be on exhibit from June 6th through 28th. The Gala and Auction is June 28th at the Great Northern Hotel.

Holter Museum’s 15th Annual Art Auction
Bair and Millikan Galleries
June 6 – 28

Opening Reception: Fri, June 6, 6-8pm
Gala and Live Auction: Sat, June 28 at the Great Northern Hotel
The Holter Museum presents an exciting selection from among the finest work of Montana and regional artists: ceramic vessels and sculpture, painting both figurative and abstract, works on paper, fine wood objects and furniture, hand-crafted jewelry, and mixed media. The annual benefit gala and live auction support the museum’s exhibition and education programs.

“Prairie Coulee” live-edge curly maple, live-edge curly walnut and bloodwood, by Tim Carney of Helena, Montana

all photos copyright ©2008 by Maureen Shaughnessy

Timothy’s Furniture represented by Legends, of Whitefish Montana

Tim and I recently spent a pleasant two days in Whitefish, Montana delivering 6 studio furniture pieces to Legends Fine Wood Furnishings at Stampede Square.

We unloaded the furniture in the late afternoon, then headed over to the Duck Inn where we stayed the night. I had made the reservation through Duck Inn’s website, so I wasn’t sure how the real thing would measure up to the photos. We were both extremely happy with the room: we had a view of Whitefish River, elegant bed linens and good inn-keeper company.

We shared a fabulous dinner at Tupelo Grille which specializes in Creole and Cajun dishes. As of that night, Tupelo’s Grill replaced Chico Hot Springs Restaurant in my mind, as the best restaurant food to be had in Montana. An excellent red cuvee: Marquis-Philips “Sarah’s Blend” wine and delicious appetizers filled us with just enough room to have their reknowned bread pudding with rum sauce. OMG! I now have a new favorite dessert. Yumm!

Enough about the food (though I could go on about the yummy breakfast at the Buffalo Cafe next morning …)

After spending the next morning at Legends gallery with owner Cindy Goodwin, and taking lots of photos of Tim’s furniture in place (most of which did not turn out — I’m really not a decent interior photog) we headed over to the woodshop of another woodworker represented by Legends, Phillip Pontillo. He was building this cabinet when we visited.

We spent a pleasant hour visiting with Phillip in his small (750 square foot) Whitefish shop. Phillip builds beautifully crafted studio furniture which can be seen at Legends. We were amazed at how much Phillip packs into his small space, and thought his shop deserves some press.

Speaking of shops and efficient use of shop-space, you might want to check out this woodworking shop, 700 square feet of efficient space for one woodworker, Matthew Teague. The link (above) is the “Final Walk-Through” post on Teague’s blog, Smart Shop which is one of the Fine Woodworking sponsored blogs.

Art of Wood

We would like to invite you to join us for an opening reception of the Helena Woodworkers’ Guild 3rd Annual Exhibit, “Art of Wood.” The reception is from 6 pm to 10 pm Friday, November 9th during the Downtown Helena ArtWalk. The exhibit will also be open from November 2 through 30th during box office hours at the Myrna Loy Center for the Arts at 15 East Ewing Street in Helena, Montana.

Helena is home to more fine wood artisans than most people realize. Please come see the talent and craftsmanship of our members during the month of November. Even better – join us for great food, drinks, live music and the attention of our craftsman members during the reception Friday evening.

We have 21 members of our Guild, ranging from hobbyists to experienced furniture makers. Anyone with an interest in woodworking and in learning and sharing is welcome to join our Guild.

If you live too far to visit in person, please enjoy our short slideshow below, and check back for updates on the exhibit during the month of November. (clicking on the individual photos will take you to an enlarged version)

Fantasy Tree: the Baobab

Thank you to Daniel Montesinos, for allowing me to post his photo of Baobab (Alley) Avenue in Madagascar. Coincidentally I was just reading about baobab trees, Andasonia digitata, in “The Soul of a Tree” by George Nakashima, a Seattle woodworker who was honored in 1989 at an exhibit of “America’s Living National Treasures.” That same day I stumbled upon Daniel’s photos of these weird, fascinating trees — and I wasn’t searching for baobab photos either!

Anyway, Nakashima writes that, “although baobabs are huge, sometimes reaching almost a hundred feet in girth, their ages are obscure, for they do not have annual rings like most trees.” Hmmm …. wonder how scientists do calculate the age of these trees? Nakashima mentions a baobab said to be over four thousand (!) years old.

Here is another of Daniel’s photos of these trees — they look like something out of Dr. Seuss’s imagination:

The wood of the baobab tree can be 60 to 70 percent moisture and the tree trunks actually shrink in diameter during drought. The wood is pulpy, so I’m curious why Nakashima included the baobab in his chapter on trees used by woodworkers.


Baobab photos by Daniel Montesinos

The Soul of a Tree, by George Nakashima

Nature, Form, and Spirit: The Life and Legacy of George Nakashima
By Mira Nakashima

More about Baobab Trees