Pairoducks

Pairoducks

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Copper Snail Shell Cupola Cap


I commissioned my friend Travis Conn to raise a copper snail shell cap for the cupola...
Photo by Scott Hollis

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Arts Walk event @ Orca Books this weekend! (April 28th to the 30th)



Travis Skinner's sculptural works will be displayed at the Orca Books arts walk event this weekend.  They show the process of interacting with different species of trees on an intimate level.  In all of the work you will see the material as the guide for the sculpture.  Hand tools were used to create natural form in Dogwood, Black Locust, Western Red Cedar and Western Hemlock.

Also being displayed will be photos and a short film of my most recent project, the Snail Shell Sauna.  This building is an 8 sided concentric ring yurt with a Fibonnaci sequence spiral radiating out as the entrance way.  I worked closely with sheet metal smith Travis Conn and was aided by the hands of  Christopher Sean Williams.  The sauna slithered it's way to the northern neck of East Olympia in the past few months.  Adventure photographer Scott Hollis snapped shots of the architectural mollusk and a special feature short film of the sauna will play thanks to drone camera man code_ultra_zyl.  Come see where the wave of sculpture crashes on the beaches of architecture.   

Monday, April 17, 2017

Snail Shell Sauna scoots along...

The spring weather allows for construction to slither with an unprecedented smoothness.  The snail shell sauna built itself this weekend, my friends and I were there to allow it to happen...  Thanks so much to everyone who helped.   Here are some photos from yesterday... 









Sunday, April 2, 2017

Copper Lantern


This copper lantern is a commission for Zyl Vardos' new house The Fuscia.  Thanks to Bill Hillman for help with the stained glass :)  I'm excited to see Olympia based artisans working together on architectural projects!


The lantern is a pentagon!  of course... 


It will hang as the entryway light on Zyl's take on the american crafstman style... coming soon.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

New Handle for an Adze...


I made a handle for this tool a long time ago, however the geometry was never quite right.  I was using one of John Reese's carving adzes and I liked the feel of it much more than my own.  I decided to make a quick template on a shoe box of John's adze geometry, so I could make one that matched his at a later date...   After some thorough persistence, I finished making the new handle out of black locust.  I experimented using fire as a finish on the handle which I am quite happy with.  I left the handle rasped with ridges for a nice grip.  I have been roughing out sculptural forms for the sauna bench supports...    

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Stool


 This stool was made for my kitchen counter, to take advantage of the best natural light in my house.  It has a black walnut seat, douglas fir legs and black locust rungs.  The exercise in this piece was to use only hand tools.  I did, admittedly, end up using a power drill to make holes in the seat for the legs to fit into...


I gouged out the bottom of the black locust seat which left nice radiating tool lines.  The bottom of the seat is still a bit wet with oil in this photo.


I used a scraper on the top of the seat and absolutely no sand paper on the whole project.  I have never enjoyed sanding, because once you start you have to make a uniform finish on the whole piece.  I try in every way to reduce particulate matter dust.  The wood dust is an irritant, but the aluminum oxide dust from the abrasives are what I believe cause lung problems in the long term for crafts people.

On another note a have a strong affinity for a knife edge finish.  One relies on sharp tools and skills instead of covering up mistakes.  Mistakes are inevitable and reveal that the work was made by hand, not by a 3d printer or a robot... 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Visit to Dickinson's Reach


In 1981 my parents went on a camping trip in Nova Scotia, Canada.  My father had a copy of Drew Langsner's book "Country Woodcraft" and a fellow by the name of William Coperthwaite wrote the forward for the book.  There was an address at the end of the forward that was simply labeled The Yurt Foundation in Bucks Harbor, Maine.  He didn't know what a yurt was but he saw on a map that Bucks Harbor was not far out of the way, so they drove to the small town and went to the post office because they did not have an address.  They were given simple instructions to park by an old building in a gravel lot and follow the pathway.  After a mile and a half hike through the woods they came upon a 3 story yurt and arrived at Dickinson's Reach.  Coperthwaite was hauling two buckets with an old yolk, moving seaweed from the shoreline to his garden beds...

A few years ago, my Dad was flipping through a book by Lloyd Kahn entitled, "Homework," and he saw photos of some of Coperthwaite's yurts.  He shared them with me and I remembered his tale and the striking images of the round structures.

A few months ago, I questioned SunRay Kelley about his lap cedar roofing and sheathing technique.  I wanted to know where he had seen it first.  The name William Coperthwaite popped up again. This time I bought his book, "A Handmade Life" and then Peter Forbes and Helen Whybrow's book "A Man Apart:  Bill Copperthwaite's Radical Experiment in Living."

I proceeded to learn about an academic who was making his words a reality.  William Coperthwaite was a living manifestation of Emily Dickinson's poetry.  Philosophy was as much apart of his structures as cedar and pine.

A few weeks ago, I asked my dad to meet me in Maine and visit Dickinson's Reach again.  We used the guiding principles of Bill Coperthwaite's words and made the journey to the remote coastline of Northern Maine.   Here are some photos of our adventure...


William Coperthwaite's home, the Library Yurt.  When my mother and father visited it was only three stories, but Bill was already talking about raising the yurt and building a 4th level.  Sure enough, with three jacks he was able to lift the house with all his stuff inside!  His mugs were on his counter top.  When questioned about how he did it he would say,  "really slow."


The Guest Yurt:  This is where we stayed for our visit.


 There was an outer ring...


and an inner yurt...


There were several outhouse yurts on our adventure.  These little structures made me so happy.  They are intrinsically beautiful, with amazing natural light and after spending the last year living with a composting toilet I have really learned to appreciate the change from the hard, white, reflective surfaces of modern bathrooms to the rustic, wooden and natural ambiance of the outhouse.  There will certainly be an outhouse yurt popping up near the Leafspring soon...


Wow...


The outdoor kitchen dining yurt.  My dad and I spent a lot of time analyzing this little building.  Its natural curves are amazing.  Not only are the walls canted at an angle, but they are curved.  It took us a while to discover how it was done, but he ripped the curve on a wide board with a band saw and then nailed together the flat sides of the two pieces left from the curved rip cut.  More info about it is written on page 112 of "A Handmade Life."


This building was definitely the most complicated and intricate building we saw.  My Dad remembered it was there when he visited in 1981.  


A food cache and storage yurt on a post...


Across Mill Pond is Peter Forbes and Helen Whybrow's yurt.  After reading the book we had to try to find the building, so we spent a few days scouting and looking for it, we found the bell described in the book and eventually made it to the building site.


The last yurt that Bill worked. He tried out his "tortured plywood" technique on this one.  One of the few yurts that used plywood.  It was constructed for a caretaker to live when Bill got old, but unfortunately he died tragically in a car accident 3 years ago at the age of 83.


Amazing natural light on the interior.  There was a grouse trapped in this yurt one morning that I freed and it left me a single, beautiful feather.


After a few days we packed up, cleaned up any garbage we found, emptied the composting toilets and even chopped down a tree that was precariously hanging over an outhouse yurt.  We traveled to Melanie and Josh's project  a few hours south and visited one of the last yurts that Bill designed.  It was still under construction so it was a great time for us to see the details and ask questions...


This was the ladder to the third story loft and one of the best photos I took on the trip.  Josh had a woodmeizer mill and had milled a lot of the lumber for the project on site. 


Here is my dad in the third story loft.  It was an open conference style room with bench storage and a great view.


An absolutely amazing trip.  It was perfectly timed in the middle of my project and now I am back on my building site, sheeting my first concentric yurt project that I am taking on myself.  I did not use Coperthwaite's designs, but his influence is unmistakable.  Check out www.insearchofsimplicity.net for more info on Bill. I return humbled and inspired...

"Not knowing when the dawn will come
 I open every door;
Or has it feathers like a bird,
 Or billows like a shore?"

Emily Dickinson




Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Snail Shell Sauna underway...


The Snail Shell Sauna is inchin' along...  Here is a re-cap of two weeks of work...


I started by ripping up a bunch of found 3/8" plywood into 4" strips.  I screwed together the strips and staked down an 11' circle for a form board.  Rick and I dug for a few days with the tractor and with shovels to grade the site and get all our drain lines figured out.  One drain for the sauna (as a clean out and there is a plumbing vent to allow fresh air into the sauna as the woodstove uses oxygen), another drain pipe for outdoor tubs and a third for outdoor showers.  You can see the three 3" abs pipes above.  They feed into a 6"concrete pipe that was installed in the ground to drain off the footing of a large barn beside the sauna location.     


I finished forming the snail shell entrance and outdoor patio around the sauna, then reinforced everything with a big ratchet strap (thanks pops for that advice).  You can see the hog wire fencing that is cut and fit into the form boards. 


We had a work party with a bunch of friends over to pour the pad and inset stones and forms for pebble mosaics.  


Here is the outdoor shower drain decor...  Thanks Marsha, Wendy, and Deston! 


While Rick, Wendy and Willow were on vacation, the dogs and I spent a few days putting up the concentric ring yurt for the sauna. 


I made an 8 sided cupola as the center ring for all the rafters to land on.  I used 1/8" clear poly carbonate as the shell.  I stuck that cedar dowel out of the top of the cupola as an armature for our sheet metal decor that will be added to spice up our spire later. 


I used a 10' ladder as a scaffold to hold the cupola, while I custom fit all 8 rafters


 I replaced the ladder with a 2x4 brace to fit my last rafter.  You can see the 2x4 brace in the center of the sauna in the picture above... then i kicked out the brace...


The cupola didn't budge with the removal of the brace! I have to frame the entrance way and hang some more rafters, but first I'm taking a trip to Bill Coperthwaite's homestead, Dickinson's Reach in Machiasport, Maine. An opportune time to seek inspiration from the legendary concentric ring yurt builder.  More on that trip to coming soon...

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Special thanks to photographer Rebecca Lamont



Thanks to photographer Rebecca Lamont, we got some finished pics of the Leafspring and we are bound for Lloyd Kahn's next book Small Homes!!  Enjoy... more photos coming soon...