Donald’s Whittling and Scrimshandering Soiree

whittlin crew1

Pippa Murray, Donald Fortescue and John Randolph, a-whittlin’ at the Headlands

Craving both a mental vacation and physical challenge, I decided to embark on an impromptu four day bike trip down the coast, eqipped with the barest possible essentials of food, clothing and shelter. My destination would be the Headlands Center for the Arts near the Golden Gate Bridge, about seventy or so winding miles down the Pacific Coast Highway from the wowhaus compound. My friend Donald Fortescue had invited me to participate in a ‘Whittling and Scrimshandering Soiree’ in honor of Herman Melville’s birthday, as a kick-off to his residency at the Headlands.

whittling invitation

detail from Donald’s invitation

bolinas logoon

cycling past Bolinas Lagoon en route to the Headlands, about halfway there

Making the journey on bicycle proved to be great mental preparation for an afternoon of sitting, chatting and whittling among a crew of mostly familiar faces, all accomplished makers who have had some influence on Donald’s career as an artist (and vice versa). Choosing from Donald’s selection of carving knives and blocks of wood, we arranged ourselves in a circle in the ample, naturally lit Project Room and let our hands do the thinking while we told stories, laughed, snacked on gingery treats and tea, and took turns plucking Donald’s banjo.


Yvonne Mouser’s stools were perfectly suited to an afternoon of whittling

I’m confident we all found inspiration in the primal simplicity of sharp steel on buttery wood, a respite from the complexity that typifies our project-related daily routines.

To read more about the Whittling Soiree and to follow Donald’s project at the Headlands, please click here.

To see the Headlands’ photostream of the day, please click here.

To see Russell Baldon’s documentation, please click here.

yvonne stool1

Yvonne Mouser’s ‘Bucket Stool’

headlands beach

sunset at the Headlands

2 replies on “Donald’s Whittling and Scrimshandering Soiree”

Comments are closed.