Sunday, April 30, 2006


Turning this...

....Into this....

is a big headache challenge.

But the first impression the customer will have of my work is from the packing~ so it's important to do a great job. Also, fine packing reduces the chance of breakage.

The long thin box is the copper support. It is packed in a handmade birch plywood box~ really nice. The smallest box is the beach stone support, and weighs 50 lbs. Total estimated postage? Over $100.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

and Bigger~

The image does not do justice to the true massive size of this large, heavy wind chime. The beach stone base weighs 45 lbs. Packing this for shipping will be an interesting challenge to face this weekend~ fun. For more information on this wind chime, Click Here.

For those who scanned my last post about my urge to create bigger and bigger works, I have to tell you that I did succumb: I made an even larger piece, pictured above. The idea was that it would go to the new gallery opening in town here in a couple of days. I wouldn't have to ship it. But I liked the piece so much, I could not resist taking some pictures and putting it on eBay~ mostly just to show off. Well, as luck would have it, it sold within a day, and now I get to pack it.

How relieved I was to discover the upper limit for shipping through the mail is 65 pounds. And even more relieved to discover the base stone I used weighs only(!) 45 pounds. That's great~ not only can I ship this work via regular mail, but I can make something even bigger! This work will ship in three boxes~ lots of packing fun.

I'm sorry for the new gallery~ this would have been a real treat for them to have. But I'll get down to the beach and find some super stones, and next week make an even bigger one for them. No crane needed yet~ but getting there!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


At 50 inches high~ this is reaching the limits of what can be shipped through the mail. That large beach stone base is not going to make the postperson's day, either. For more information on this freestanding wind chime, or to buy it, Click Here.

I have the urge to make larger and larger works. Down at the beach, I see a beautiful beach boulder I can't even pick up, and I want to take it home and make something amazing. I want to use heavy metal rods. I want to build kinetic sculptures with boulders and steel and slabs of copper. I want hydraulic presses, acetylene torches, electric winches, jack hammers and that's just a start.

Sadly, I have to make things I can pack and ship through the mail. If I can't pick up that stone, there is no way the post office is going to take it, no matter how many stamps. I am making larger works, to be sure. But each one has to be designed to ship.

Already, with these medium-size creations, packing is a job. Cutting plywood to sandwich copper supports. Fitting large stones into big boxes with fragile glass~ now that's fun! It wasn't overnight that I got to this point, thank goodness. If when I started I had been faced with packing some of these works, I believe I would have given up. It's good to keep challenging oneself~ it keeps it interesting.

Saturday, April 22, 2006


Whether wandering the endless stretches of beach or exploring the tangled rain forest, the Pacific West Coast is truly beautiful and a source of great inspiration for me. Others are also inspired~ Here someone built a stone sculpture in the river. Natural art. To see my own stone work (wind chimes, lamps, vases) Click Here.

Everyday, I walk in the woods. There are miles of trails right down the road, so I don't need to take the car. Usually, it's just me and my dog, Yukon.

The bears are awake again, coming down the mountain groggy from their long sleep, snorting around for fresh greens. We ran into the first one on the weekend~ A big one. I was not happy because the dog chased it like it was dinner on four legs. That's no good. First, the bear might get ticked off and turn on my pup (a neighbor's dog was killed last year), or the bear might get ticked off, chase the dog back, and take its anger out on me. That happens, apparently. It's exciting hiking at this time of year, but a little scary too.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Price is Right (?)

Pricing art is..... an art. Some is perhaps overpriced, but I believe even more is underpriced. For information on this kaleidoscope wind chime, or to buy it, Click here.

A posting on the forum at (great site for artists and art lovers) suggested that much art is overpriced. The poster discussed the really high-priced collector art, but also touched on art by non-famous people.

My own feeling is that a lot of art is underpriced. Art is one of the rare things that has true, long lasting value. I don't mean dollars, necessarily~ I mean intrinsic value. If you like it today, very likely you will like it even more in a year, or in a decade. There is not much else out there that this can be said for. You love that car today, but in a decade it's going to be a rusty pile of loose screws.

People who bought my work three, four or five years ago sometimes come back now to add to their collection. They frequently write how they still love the first piece they bought. That is part of the special value of art~ the pleasure it brings does not decrease after a few weeks or years.

Art is hard to price because each piece contains something of the artist's soul. That's something you can not measure by the pound or by the yard. Knowing what to do, and what not to do~ how far to take a piece, and not to cross the line-- that's the artist's job. Putting a price on this is not an easy task.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Frustrating Folks

This is a large freestanding wind chime. It turns out that trying to show it life size on the Web is a mistake. Live and learn. For more information on this wind chime, or to buy it, Click here.

Looking around the web learning about web pages, I was struck by the constant warnings not to use large image sizes. That struck me because my image host allows images up to 200k, and I had been taking advantage of that. My images, it turned out, were way too large.

What really grabbed my attention was a person writing that out of a bunch of his web pages, one was being skipped over. Looking at those pages, the only difference was that this one was 7k larger than the others. He had trouble believing that this small difference could account for the lack of time people were spending, but after reducing the size, the statistics started matching the other pages. Wow.

So this weekend I have been reducing the size and quality of all my JPEGS~ 90 images. Slightly over half way through with the job, and yesterday my counts almost doubled. Coincidence? I doubt it. I can only barely remember what it was like when I had a dial-up connection ~ the long wait for an image to appear. I guess I was really giving people a headache with my large images. Sorry. Live and learn.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Looking for a Home (page)

This little pup needs a home~ a home page, that is. The options are numerous, and confusing. What to do, what to do? For more information on this large beach glass inspired artist-made glass, with red cedar, fir, and copper wind chime, or to buy it, Click Here (not my home page~ yet).

First, sincere thanks to all those who took the time to leave such thoughtful comments on my last posting, 'A Slap in the Face.' I deeply appreciate the support. I feel better! And by the way, the two star rating disappeared~ I have no idea why.

So I am not (read NOT) a technical guru whiz guy... no, I'm not. I wish I knew more, and I am constantly learning. But often the more I learn the less I feel I know.

For years people have been urging me to make my own web page. Ha! Easier said than done. However, at they have a foolproof (yes, I still made a mess!) site builder, and I am taking advantage of the 'free' 30 day trial~ you can admire my efforts here.

Being so web ignorant (yes, I have researched, but everybody everywhere has 'the best deal'), I am confused. I bet some reading this know a lot. I bet they just might take a minute to comment. I bet some have really good ideas and suggestions (probably: Use me, I have the best deal' !).

As I see it, BoundlessGallery is good because it is easy, relatively cheap ($6.95 per month), and links in with their own site, so you upload to their site, get exposure there, and the images and information automatically are added to your website. It's bad because it is not really just $6.95~ when someone buys something, there is a 10% fee. Also, it is not really your own website~ I don't think you can put links etc. And people always get redirected to BoundlessGallery~ like if they click on checkout without having made any selections, they jump off the website to BoundlessGallery.

So what is the best option for someone who just wants a simple site to feature their art work, and to offer a straightforward, pleasant shopping experience? I wonder.

Monday, April 10, 2006

A Slap in the Face

2 1/2 stars out of 5? Hmmm... Thanks a lot, Anonymous. You made my day.

Natural Pacific barnacle beach stone bolted to a tung nut oiled red cedar base with copper support and beach glass inspired artist-made glass sunshine catcher. For more information, or to buy this piece, Click here.

Some art-types are sensitive folks: like me, for example.

I can get a hundred enthusiastic compliments on my work, and then one slightly less than 100% positive review wrecks my year day. Why can't I just concentrate on all the enthusiasm and ignore the critical? I just can't.

Trying out some new art selling sites and found one that is pretty darn good~ at least as far as boosting the ol' ego. is just the place for the artist seeking sweet pats on the back. It's so good for that, one starts to think posting a picture of a half rotten work glove (yep, I have one of those) would glean five star reviews. Now that's support! I love it!

However, another site has provided the slap across the face. Don't get me wrong, is a swell place. They (the owners?) first have a look at the work you propose to put on their site, and if it is not good enough, I guess you might get a rejection email. Well, I was happy to receive a "we maintain stringent criteria that every provider must meet. You have met and exceeded these criteria and we couldn't be happier for you." Okay!

The problem is that they have an anonymous star rating system. Anyone (I think) can view the work and click on a strip rating the piece from zero to five stars. Fine. But anonymous? So is your critic a talented art reviewer? A jealous competitor? A moron? I have to believe that the jerk lovely individual who took the time (one second?) to rate my latest posting falls into the latter categories-- . Why bother rating if you feel that way? Perhaps just a miserable nasty troll person looking to stamp on sensitive toes, or ? They should have a 'rate the reviewer' system: I rate this guy zero stars.

The way I am, all the thousands of positive feedback comments from happy eBay customers, and the dozens of enthusiastic comments recently received on, get pushed to the side, and I brood on this two star rating from Mr. Anonymous. That's just how I am~ unfortunately.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Pacific West Coast

This tung nut oiled red cedar wind chime clearly is Pacific West Coast. The beauty of the Pacific West Coast is striking~ I strive to bring some of that beauty to my art. For more information on this wind chime, or to buy it, Click Here.

All my artwork is heavily influence by the beauty of the Pacific West Coast. But some creations really shout West Coast. Case in point: the piece pictured above.

Around here, large cedar decks are more the rule than the exception. And what could look more at home on such a deck than a wind chime featuring lots of red cedar?

Walking along any beach here, if you look closely you are likely to find small pieces of sand and surf polished glass. These little jewels are commonly known as beach, or sea glass. My youngest son collected hundreds of pieces, and I was so struck by the beauty of this glass that I determined to find a way to make my own beach glass. I now use this glass extensively in my artwork.

There couldn't be a nicer metal than copper to use with cedar. Best of all, as the copper ages, it darkens and looks even nicer. And the high quality of my wind chimes assures that there will be many years of aging~ built to last.

The Pacific West Coast is truly beautiful~ I strive to bring some of that beauty to my work.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Thank You Postal Workers!

Treated harshly, even the best packing could not protect glass. Over three years with nothing broken~ kudos to the post office! For more information on this beach glass inspired artist made glass sunshine catcher, or to buy it, CLICK here.

The other day I wrote about the 'joy' of packing big beach stone wind chimes with fragile glass. But packing doesn't get the order to the customer~ it only helps to get it there in good condition. The post office does the rest.

It's always a pleasure to drive the nicely boxed orders to the post office. My work is almost done~ payday! Looking around various seller forums, I have been struck by the negative, often angry, comments about the postal service. Postal clerks get dumped on, but more often people yap about high postage. I don't feel that way at all. When I put a large box on the scale, and the clerk stretches his arms wide to measure this beast, often when the postage comes up I can't help saying, 'Hey, that's not bad at all!'

It strikes me as remarkable that I can ship a BIG, heavy carton from the Sunshine Coast to Florida for maybe $23.00, insurance included. It would cost me twice that just to take it to Vancouver, 40 minutes away on the ferry.

And Fast! Most often things arrive within ten days, sometimes less, sometimes much less. That's surface mail, and, I think that's pretty darn good.

Despite jokes about postal workers going out of their way to drop, kick and run over any box with a fragile sticker, nothing I have shipped has broken in the past three years. That's hundreds and hundreds of fragile shipments-- many really fragile, and some really fragile with big beach stones mixed in the box. Not bad.

So kudos to the postal system.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Ship Shape

Beach glass inspired copper wind chime. Shipping something like this is a challenge. After years of experience, it's now routine. For more information, or to buy this wind chime, Click here.

If only I made little paintings— something easy to ship! No, I have to make huge beach stone wind chimes and fragile glass things. Visitors to my home often ask, "How in the world do you ship these?".

After years of packing, I'm really good at it. Nothing has broken in over three years.

My most recent shipment to the UK was an expensive wind chime consisting of some of my more fragile glass. The air mail postage was staggering. Shipping something like that so far is nerve racking. Canada Post insures against loss, but not against breakage of glass. If it breaks, I'm out for the sale price plus all that postage. I mean, I pack really well, but maybe customs unwraps everything... stuff happens. So, getting an email from a happy customer is especially nice on a shipment like that.

Today I will spend time packing a deluxe bird feeder wind chime and a large, heavy beach stone wind chime. They are going to separate destinations, so that simplifies things~ when stones and glass are in the same box, it's extra tricky. Still~ it's going to take time. I'll need to cut special strips of wood to protect the wire on the stone wind chime. I will have to make a box for the big bird feeder. They will both require plenty of expensive foam. There will be a lot of packing material, because you don't want these things rolling around in the box. And lots of tape to reinforce the boxes. The customs forms will have to be completed.

Well, it's raining again, so a perfect day just to take my time and do a good job. It's worth it~ I get many compliments on my packing. People appreciate getting their order in great condition~ and it shows them I care about my work. That's true: I do care.