NC-1 Nutcracker

Questions and thoughts about collecting tools.

NC-1 Nutcracker

Postby Dennis » Sat Aug 01, 2009 7:40 pm

John,

Would you mind weighing in on the NC-1 nutcracker? I have heard this was at the Smithsonian for a while (or may still be there)? I did buy two of these one in ebony and one in rosewood.

I hope you really made them......

thanks!

Dennis
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Postby John » Sat Aug 01, 2009 8:24 pm

Dennis;

I designed the nutcracker in the mid-70's to give to friends and family as a holiday gift. I really wanted to make something with wooden threads.

At the time, I had no money (some things never change) and I was also trying to create a portfolio of my work, of which this piece was included. Part of this process involved shooting and developing my own black and white photographs. I used a rental darkroom for the prints.

One day at the darkroom, while trying to get the print dryer to work, the dark room attendant came by to give it the proverbial kick start. While looking at my prints he asked me if I was a woodworker. I said I was and he commented, "Kind of hard to tell with these shitty pictures."

I asked him if he was a photographer and he replied that indeed he was. It was then I asked how much he would charge to shoot a picture of the nutcracker and he replied fifty bucks.

That one photograph had the most significant impact on my life because it was my only slide sent to the jury of the American Crafts Council show in San Francisco. I was accepted to that show and with the hasty addition of a couple furniture pieces, that show was a segue into my first one man show at the Elane Potter Gallery in SF and a follow-up show in Mendocino. These led to exhibitions in New York and other destinations and commissions as far away as Tokyo.

The "abrasive" photographer was Joe Felzman and I am proud to call him a friend--he has shot all my work for the past 33 years.

The nutcracker was accepted into a juried show at the Renwick gallery (part of the Smithsonian) and I received a letter informing me that it was being purchased for the collection.

That is the story.

As you know, it is a cross-grain turning and I will confirm that indeed, I turned them. We made a run of these in ebony years ago, and I wish I had kept some. The originals were all cocobolo (rosewood).

Oh well.

The moral of the story is to never underestimate the power of a professional photograph. That, and never overestimate the damage you can cause yourself by ignoring the previous sentence.

John
Last edited by John on Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:54 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Dennis » Sat Aug 01, 2009 8:34 pm

WOW!

Thanks for this reply John!

These are really beautiful pieces of art. I will take very good care of these!

Sincerely,

Dennis
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Postby rwest » Sun Aug 02, 2009 4:34 am

Hello,

Could one of you "toss" up a picture of the NC-1?

Thanks, Rutager
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Postby Dennis » Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:45 pm

Rutager,

I have a picture of this, but the posting process is a bit cumbersome. If you would like, I could e-mail directly to you and you could post.

Dennis
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Postby rwest » Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:24 am

Dennis,

I would be happy do it. rutagerwest@yahoo.com but you may want to try it yourself, it really makes posting more fun, just open a free Flickr account and follow Michaels instructions under "posting images" in the forum. It"s not to difficult to do!

Rutager
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Postby Dennis » Mon Aug 24, 2009 7:36 pm

Rutager,

I've been meaning to send a picture, but alas, I have been extremely busy and "haven't gotten to it yet". I also am a bit paranoid after what John said. I'm far from a pro at photography. I do have a picture, but it doesn't show the entire nut cracker (only the body). the thumb screw really makes the piece balanced and "artistic". I'll try to get something out soon. After John's comment I really feel honored to own them.

Dennis
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Postby John » Mon Aug 24, 2009 8:53 pm

OK, this is REALLY OLD, but here ya go...

Image

Here's another old image;
Image

--John
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