Museum trip – Racine Art Museum

This little old blog is getting to be quite sporadic. For that, gentle reader, I apologise. Things have been in a state of flux and other projects have been given a priority.

Also, my posts are usually very photo-centric. This means editing photos, which takes time for me. So, putting together a post sometimes seems like work when I just don’t want to look at a computer anymore.

So, I have a backlog of stuff to get through, so I may as well start at the beginning of it. I hope to put up some series of posts regarding museum trips I made at the end of last year, which prompted me to wonder about what direction to take with work and hobbies.

First up is some photos of a trip to the Racine Museum of Art in Wisconsin. This is a small museum , about four large rooms but it has a lot of craft-based art. One exhibition had lovely blown and sculpted glass. When I went, woodwork was on show.

Apologies to the artists but I don’t have their names associated with the pieces. I’m a lunk with a camera who takes picture of nice things and moves on. So, sorry.

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This is a tall cabinet, made of sycamore, I think. It reminds me of the basic form of the clock on Paul Seller’s website: two sides housed in dadoes on the top and bottom with a panel on front. This one has a door instead of a panel.

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Here is a detail of the top. It has been dished out and the sides have been tenoned into the top. This has some finesse!

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This chest of drawers has a flamboyant wave detail on one corner. Now, this isn’t just tacked on, the artist had to carve the wave first and then do the joinery. Or maybe it was carved afterwards. Either way it isn’t easy.

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This one looks like a mix of a Shaker bench with a live-edge seat and the staked furniture that Chris Schwarz is now promoting. I’m sure it ticks all the boxes of re-purposing found objects with the unfinished seat etc etc. Pretty cool.

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I like this bench for its clean lines. This is the kind of thing that would be termed “honest” joinery, because you can see how the joinery is done. Is other work then inherently dishonest?

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This one is full-on modern sculpture as furniture. You won’t see this in Fine Woodworking or in its metal-craft equivalent. The artist obviously just had a good idea and went with it.

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This little bench is right up my alley: A straight line and a curve together. This kind of arrangement can be found in bridges especially.

In making the ‘legs’ for this piece, one solid lump of wood had to be cut and split in it middle and bent open. Like opening a book. This took some work. Well done!

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This last little cabinet is the kind of one you look at and wonder why you bother at all. It doesn’t overpower but if you look at the details would see that each door is slightly and deliberately off-square, thicker on some sides etc.

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Take this drawer for instance. As much as I don’t go in for router-bashing like some of the hand-tool enthusiasts I follow, it would appear to me that this drawer did not get formed at the hand of a router or at least a jig.

What was going through the artist’s head when making something that wouldn’t be seen normally? The front is tapered in width from one side to the other and then overhang on one end. That’s some attention to detail.


All in all, if you have a chance to swing by this museum I’d suggest taking a look. You’d see the place in a hour I’ll bet. Good if you’re traveling between Milwaukee and Chicago.

If you recognize your favorite woodworker in these photos or have questions or comments, please post below.

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