Article: Hayley Smith Demonstrates For CMW August 20, 2011 By Bob Gunther
September 08, 2011 21:25, submitted by Nettie Turpin (author: Bob Gunther, photos by Tina Collison)
# Hayley Smith Demonstrates for CMW
August 20, 2011 by Bob Gunther Photographs by Tina Collison
Overview: Hayley was born in Cardiff, Wales in 1965. She started to turn wood in 1989 while at art school and received her BA (with Honors) in Art Education in 1991. She started exhibiting in 1990 and made the transition to full-time studio turner upon graduation. In 1998 Hayley moved to Bisbee, Arizona where she currently lives with her husband, Todd Hoyer. Her work is in exhibits throughout Europe, North America and Australia, in numerous museums and private collections and has been widely featured in books and magazines. In 2005 Hayley and Todd demonstrated for CMW.
Hayley began to explore surface designs while making two-dimensional printed images. Now she concentrates on the turned form which has become the focus for her expression. “The wood contributes its own character with which I form a dialogue, creating contrast, and balance by manipulating its surface.” She is renown for her expertise with the Dremel and Foredom tools which she uses to create precise patterns and textures on the wood surface. She intends the intricate surfaces to "draw in the viewer and create a dialogue.”
Hayley began her demo with a power point presentation of her work. As noted above she began working with wood in 1989. Each piece Hayley creates leads her to ideas for the next piece. She strives to use these ideas to improve her work. She uses a sketchbook to develop ideas for her pieces and to design newer concepts.
Early in her artistic career Hayley designed various bracelets and bangles of an ethnic essence. Unfortunately, she did not want to produce large quantities for catalog sales. She wanted to design and produce pieces that incorporated previous ideas that she considered acceptable and pleasing. She then moved on to develop her surface treatment on both large and small platters. She used color, grain and texturing to embellish her pieces. She tried to find a balance between her ideas and the inherent qualities of the wood. She takes many ideas of the past and combines them into her own designs.
At a stage in her development Hayley realized that she had a sketchbook with multiple ideas but she did not have the skills to transpose them onto the wood. Therefore, she went back to basics and developed a knowledge of wood and how to work with it. For most of her pieces, the time spent on the lathe is short – then the bench work begins which is quite slow and often tedious.
Then woodturning work in the U.K. was quite traditional and Hayley turned to the USA for inspiration. She also received inspiration from ceramic workers and used their shapes and textures in her designs. She also tapped into the work of sculptors. Much of her work entails concentric circles and enhancing them with various texturing and coloring techniques. A spinoff of the concentric circles was the creation of hemispheric bowls, again using texturing and coloring.
Hayley uses shadow forms created by various shapes and textures. An example she showed was a tire tread track. The shape or form of her texturing determines whether the surface appears soft and shallow or hard and deep. Hayley uses many forms for ideas. An example was the view from an airplane of central point irrigation field formations and shapes. Using these shapes and textures she can form a piece from a solid block of wood that appears to be a piece formed from several separate pieces joined. Hayley designs her pieces on paper because she knows that creating a piece in 3-dimension will be a very time-consuming and complicated process. When making her current pieces, Hayley does all the turning first. Then she completes the bench work such as routing, texturing, sanding, and coloring.
After working for a time with concentric circles and hemispherical forms, Hayley added the use of square shapes that enhanced her designs. She also added the use of anatomical forms such as the hand to her work.
Hayley’s demo then turned to the lathe. She had a 6” disc of 1” thick ash that was on a chuck using a tenon. Ash lends itself to wire brushing because of its pronounced soft/hard grain patterns. Hayley used a file card (used for cleaning files) that produced a uniform scratch pattern on the surface of the piece. As the lathe rotated she held the file card at 45 degrees to the wood surface and moved it from the center outward. She removed the softer grain areas leaving the harder grain pattern. Hayley then used a propane torch with the tip on the end of a hose. This permitted her to leave the propane tank lying on its side so it will not fall over. By using the hose Hayley achieves a more consistent flame pattern. As she applied the flame to the wood, she rotated the lathe by hand. This prevents areas from being over scorched and helps dissipate the heat. Hayley burned the entire disc surface. Hayley burned the edge very carefully so that the wood would not catch fire and scorch the edge of the piece. If the edge burns so that a wavy line forms, Hayley simply corrects it by turning the edge area away achieving a crisp edge. Hayley prefers a thoroughly burned surface. This gives her a softer appearing finish after applying oil.
Once the entire surface of the ash was scorched Hayley used a file card dedicated to use only on scorched areas to create the texture on the surface. Normally, now she would oil the surface to fix the carbon with Watco Danish Oil Natural and let it dry before doing any further turning. If the piece rotates on the lathe before being allowed to dry completely, the centrifugal force will cause blackened oil to travel through the piece, ruining it. Instead, during this demo, she used a parting tool with a fishtail grind and a handle made from an axe handle to clean up the burned edges and produced crisp details. Before applying a texture or color to a piece Hayley tries the technique on a sample cut off to prevent ruining a piece with a technique that might not work.
Hayley mentioned at the start of the session that because of the precise and unforgiving nature of her work, she does not seem to be able to remove a piece from a chuck and then put it back on and have it run true. Thus, she does all her turning before the piece removing the piece from the jaws.
Using a bowl gouge she trued up the burned edge of the ash disc. This gave her a crisp edge to the piece and removed all imperfections that the eye would immediately go to. Next Hayley turned her attention to surface treatment. She began with Watco Danish oil. She poured a small quantity into a jar. Then she added dry Liberon earth pigment (vegetable black) to the oil. The pigment will suspend in oil or wax but not in water. This, when applied to the burned surface, penetrates the wood, and produces a deep black satin color. Hayley brushed the pigmented oil on and took the piece off the lathe to dry. Once the piece dries, she waxes it with Renaissance wax. The final look would be a soft, satin finish.
Hayley then used a 6-inch diameter, 2-inch thick ash disc and used the torch to scorch an area outlined by the grain pattern. This created soft lines delineating the scorched areas. This area could not be wire brushed. If it were then, the carbon from the scorched areas will spread to the unscorched area. To prevent this one can oil the unscorched area, let it dry and then wire brush the scorched area. Hayley placed pennies, dimes and a quarter on the disc surface and scorched around them to produce circular areas that were unscorched. To achieve a scorched straight line use metal ruler.
Next Hayley discussed stabilizing the work piece once it is off the lathe. This permits her to have both hands free to do her surface work. It is also possible to use a flat piece of plywood or MDF. Hayley left the tenon on the piece when she removed it from the chuck. She placed drafting tape on the back surface of the piece to protect the wood from the hot glue she will use. The MDF is either screwed to the bench or clamped. She placed accurate angle wedges on all four sides between the MDF and the undersurface of the piece. These were then hot glued in place thus stabilizing the piece on the MDF. She left this to dry.
Next Hayley placed a pre-turned 8-inch maple disc with a small shallow bowl in the center in the jaws. Hayley would sand this to about 800 grit prior to any texturing. She produced a series of concentric lines on the surface of the disc. She used a screwdriver that had been ground into a 2-point tool. She used one point to measure and the second point to cut. This produced consistently spaced rings around the disc. She started in the center and worked outward. If she gets to the outermost part of the disc and there is not enough wood to make a final ring, she can reduce the diameter oft the disc ,accordingly. It is possible to deepen the lines made with the 2-point tool with the edge of a sharp parting tool. Next, she applied thick white acrylic paint from a tube to the grooved area with a short, square paintbrush. She scumbled the paint into the grooves. This dried quickly.
Hayley returned to the hot-glued disc on the MDF. She will texture this disc using various burrs – available from <www.riogrande.com>. Hayley buys them in bulk (in packets of six. The more one buys the deeper the discount). This is much cheaper than buying them one at a time from woodworking stores. The Dremel or Foredom tools can use these. It is also possible to use them with air tools. Hayley used a Dremel with a round burr held at 45 degrees and produced a generic texturing pattern. When texturing a platter rim one should not start at one point and simply go around. One should go randomly around the rim. This will give the texturing a uniform quality. Deep texturing creates shadows and the more shadows the darker and rougher the appearing surface. Shallow texturing produces a softer and lighter surface. The size of the piece and the grain pattern will determine the texturing pattern.
Hayley then “took the burr for a walk” across the wood surface. She used a round burr. She started the pattern near the inner and outer edge of the rim and met in the mid area of the rim. The edges are where people scrutinize a piece.
Next Hayley made an angled, deeper texture using a round burr. She formed each detail of the texture in a spiral, angled pattern. This permitted one texture detail to hookup with another under the surface of the wood. After she completed this, Hayley cleaned up each hole to give a more pleasing effect.
Then she used concave cutters to produce a mound appearance to the pattern. The cutter defines the size of each dome or mound. These cutters make a lot of smoke because they not only cut wood away but also burn it. The burning is what produces the soft effect. They are somewhat difficult to control. They are presented straight down into the wood surface until they form a perfect dome without a flat top. It is possible to use a woodburner to remove the small triangular pieces left between the mounds to get rid of the proud areas.
Hayley then went back to the lathe and the piece that had the concentric grooves and that had been painted white. By this time, the paint had dried. Hayley used a scraper to remove the white surface leaving only the white grooves. It was then sanded starting at 220 grit. To maintain the flat surface where the grooves were the sandpaper was wrapped around a flat piece of wood. This maintained the crisp details. Other grits would be used up to that required to remove all scratch marks.
Then she demonstrated bleaching. If an area needs to be protected from the bleach solution Saran Wrap can be taped over the surface. Hayley’s choice is Klean Strip bleach. It had been available as Part A and Part B in pint containers. Now only gallon sizes are available and the set of Part A and Part B costs over $100.00. Bleach is available from Woodcraft. Only store bleach in plastic or glass containers – not metal and never use lids. Label jars containing bleach. She placed the Part A on the wood. After 10 minutes she applied the Part B over the Part A. Prior to bleaching, Hayley used distilled water to raise the grain. Once raised it is sanded down. This helps minimize raising the grain during the bleaching process. She used synthetic brushes with the bleach because natural bristles will dissolve. When Hayley brushed the Part A on, she was careful not to apply it too heavily at the edges. Once she completed the bleaching process (two hours between each coat with Klean Strip, 24 hours between each coat with the Zinsser bleach product) she neutralized it with white vinegar and distilled water. Each bleaching product includes detailed instructions with cautions.
This completed a very informative and interesting demonstration. DVDs will be available in the CMW library in October 2011.