Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Ninth Chair: Beyond Burnt has returned from "On the Edge of Your Seat: Chairs for the 21st Century" show at the Center for Wood Art in Philadelphia. It is now on display at Red Dot Gallery, 826 Canyon Road, Santa Fe. The Fall Show 2016 will be up through fall (appropriately enough). Here's the link to the show website:

RDG is a project of Santa Fe Community College and operates as an innovative learning laboratory for students interested in business, marketing, entrepreneurship and art gallery operations.
RDG regularly features artwork and concepts by SFCC students, faculty, staff and alumni. It's good stuff by good people; come check it out!
Kim and I have three "bird-themed" works in a group show at Mariposa Gallery from September 2-30. One of the oldest contemporary craft galleries in the US, Mariposa is located at 3500 Central Ave in the Nob Hill neighborhood of Albuquerque. Kim made the birdhouse that features a framed entrance and birchbark sides. I made the honeycomb/cardboard bowl and birdcage sculpture.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

On the Edge of Your Seat: Chairs for the 21st Century

Doug and former student (and current friend) Carrie Compton made a chair last summer that was juried into On the Edge of Your Seat: Chairs for the 21st Century. The show opened May 6, 2016 at the Center for Art in Wood in Philadelphia and runs through July 23, 2016. We'll be attending a reception on June 23rd from 6- 8:30pm in conjunction with The Furniture Society's Annual Conference (June 23-25). The show includes seating by 40 artist/makers from around the globe. This link takes you to more on the exhibition (once there, click on a name to view individual pieces):

The 9th Chair: Beyond Burnt

This piece was an experimental collaboration between Doug Jones and Carrie Compton. Through experimentation with fire and wood and various finishes, we became inspired by the changes in the characteristics of wood that emerged in the burning process, especially the effects on end grain.  We were particularly struck by the beauty of white oak and the emergence of the cellular structure/growth rings that appeared when the cellulose burned and was scrubbed away and the durable lignin remained.  Transformations in color, texture, technical properties and working abilities were explored through a repeated process of burning, scouring away the charred cellulose, applying liming wax and rubbing out.  Throughout our process and experimentation we were pleased and surprised to discover the

extent to which our process was controllable or uncontrollable.  For instance, some edges of the chair frame developed their own organic and imperfect shaping and the wax on the seat and back was a bit more malleable than expected.  We were able to control and highlight a bit more of the natural coloration in the white oak (bringing out more browns) versus the black and white that originally appeared with the application of white wax.

Designing and building this piece was not limited to a collaborative interplay of ideas, experimentation and design viewpoint but also, we realized, it was a collaboration between wood and fire.  The simple unadorned chair frame became the canvas for a blend between structure and the organic as the alder frame’s once crisp lines softened in the burning process, showcasing the temper of fire on wood; the wood’s own imperfections blending seamlessly with the refined grace of fine woodworking.  The alder’s light tones turned a particularly rich color after the charred blackness was rubbed away and unique organic edges became apparent depending on where the fire caught or burned more deeply.  The panels of white oak end grain that make up the seat and back were texturized and softened as well helping to integrate them well with the form of the frame. 

This project was a successful blend of the technical and intuitive natures of woodworking using common species in unexpected and unconventional ways, to be experienced against a backdrop of a simple chair form.  The elemental “treeness” of growth rings transformed into a refined seat with a strong visual and textural statement. Gridlines appeared along the glued end grain of the panels as flame dried and scoured the surface, creating an overlaid pattern that enhances the natural geometry and characteristics of wood. The pattern and texture of wood replaces the pattern and texture of a more traditional upholstered back and seat. We feel that the 21st century will be about making the most of precious limited resources and that creatively approaching common woods and materials leads to good, sustainable design. We hope that a sitter will be intrigued by the surfaces and processes represented in this chair and be inspired that common woods can be transformed by thoughtful design.

-Doug Jones and Carrie Compton, July 3, 2015

Sunday, December 14, 2014

December 2014

Random Orbit has been somewhat dormant for awhile. Doug has became a full time faculty member of Santa Fe Community College as well as Chair of the Arts & Design department. It is a change we welcomed and he has met the challenges, but he has been extraordinarily busy this past semester. Kim is working less at an outside job and we are re-envisioning designs and a path forward for our work.  We have been making less of the vintage canisters that were very popular for quite a few years. Over the last few years there have been some custom orders and quite a bit of speculative work. Both Kim and Doug had work (designed separately, not as Random Orbit) in a seating show at the Santa Fe Community Gallery in 2014.

One of our hopes for the next year is to work on our ancient mailing list and update into an e-mail list, so if you see this and would like to be on it, please send your e-mail info. We will try not to wait so long for the next blog!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

What's Happening...

Our show's just ended at Mariposa Gallery in Albuquerque, but please check out our on-going selection of fun decorative works there, including this "tin tower" and many other works incorporating recycled tins and painted wood.

If you're interested in any of the works shown on last month's news and events blog (see below), just send us an e-mail (please see contact info). You can also view more of our most current work on our new Etsy storefront,

Also, we are participating in a studio sale of work on Artful Home's website, starting July 15th:
Artful Home

No craft shows planned at the moment, but we look forward to participating in "Art at the Coach Barn" this October on the exquisite grounds of Shelburne Farms, near Burlington, Vermont:

Finally, you can check out Kim's wood sculptures at Chiaroscuro Gallery in Santa Fe, NM or follow this link:

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

More Deliberate Mischief

 "Deliberate Mischief," our current show at Mariposa Gallery in Albuquerque, has been extended until the end of June, 2012. The show features wall mirrors and cabinets, a bench, a new version of our popular chinese checker table, a small hall table, and a variety of unique sculptural objects and boxes. Nearly all the pieces incorporate recycled objects or unusual materials. Here are some more pictures of the show.
Spare Bulbs Wall Mirror
Lotus Bench  

"Buddha's Reincarnated Incense"(above) is created from several vintage metal boxes, an old chinese checkerboard, and Kim's rendering of a foo dog-like creature, assembled on our decorated wooden panel behind. Buddha watches serenely above from the pinkish box. 

Cabinet Number 2, door open: handmade marbelized paper, turned corn cob, raphia nut shell, kalimantan nut!
We named these wall shelves "Nichos" after the Southwestern wall cavities or cabinets that provide a featured place for special objects. Each Nichos features a different type of central panel, made from recycled natural materials (created by a company called Kirei). The one on the left is made from lightened coconut shells (remaining from oil production) laid in a dark substrate. The one below utilizes waste sorghum stalks compressed and sliced into a fascinating board. Each has a hickory frame. Some of our small sculptural objects called "Minis" are featured on each shelf.
An Assortment of Minis and several, fanciful "Can Containers"

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Deliberate Mischief

Number 2 Cabinet
We’re excited about our show, “Deliberate Mischief,” at Mariposa Gallery in Albuquerque, running through the end of June, 2012. We gave ourselves the gift of time to experiment.
The result is a new body of small works that express our sense of design, collage, and humor.

El Practico Arquitecto

We delved deeply into our stockpile of vintage games, containers, and other ephemera, as well as exotic veneers, lesser-known woods, and some new, green materials. We used our familiar techniques of woodturning, decorative painting, and veneering.

Ouija Marquetry
We also developed unconventional ways of making patterns with veneer and old game boards, created a new series of sculptural shapes, and even learned how to turn a corncob and preserve it with wax.

We see a wide range of possible applications for all of these ideas in the future. Everyone tends to get locked-in to certain ways of designing and making; it’s very satisfying to break free every so often! The response has been very gratifying and we are thankful to Jen and Liz at Mariposa for the opportunity to show a body of work. For more on the show please contact Mariposa at or 505.268.6828

Photo Credits: Margot Geist, Geistlight Photography