The Ongoing Struggles of Photographing my Artwork

I love and hate taking pictures of the things I make, especially when they are gifts. I love it, because I get to stare at it a while, in different lighting, and study this thing I’ve made, and really memorize it, because usually I’ll not see it again, at least for a long time.

I hate it, because I can never seem to take pictures that do it justice. But I’ve gotten better, largely due to a new camera and lens setup that gives me more manual control. This time, my problem was mostly lighting, which was my own darn fault.


So, a good family friend? Niece-in-law? Not sure how to put it? Anyway, she graduated high school, so I decided to make a graduation gift for her. For no apparent reason, I decided to make a pen, which is something I learned to do when I was in high school, and not something I do often. (The significance of this was lost on me until my sister pointed it out…) To dress it up a bit, I opted to make a nice case for it as well.


Have you ever had one of those projects that ended up going a different direction than you intended? You start off with something in mind, but due to materials, or tooling, or desire to do something new, it ends up miles away from what you had envisioned? Not to mention, way cooler?


Yeah, that happened with the case.

Focus on the front
Focus on the lid

The pen, and both the base and lid of the box are all cut from the same figured walnut board. The lid is mortised, with no joints. The pen groove is flocked. The whole thing is sanded to 1000 grit, then rubbed with steel wool and my finishing mix, then buffed with beeswax. What I love is that you can feel the texture of the figuring in the wood, something that is usually lost in sanding, but makes for a much closer, natural feel of the wood, in my opinion.


I could gush on for a while about this, so I’ll stop here. However, it’s not the biggest thing I’ve made, but it’s definitely one of the more fulfilling, and nicest things I’ve made. Between trying new things with it, and nailing everything on the first shot, I am very happy with it, and so was Autumn!


A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; but a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist. ~Louis Nizer

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