2010 July Archive | Amber Jean

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Monthly Archives: July 2010

Misty Morning in Texas

Misty morning in Texas on the Charco Ranch – I’ve a bit of a headache (the margaritas last night or simply dehydration from the intense humidity?) Hobo spent the night with me in the cushy air conditioned guest room which is part of the “Devil Woman Saloon.” He has flees, scars, and a limp but is the sweetest German Shepard I’ve ever met. Roosters are crowing and chickens are cackling while the ducks swim in kiddie pools outside the office here. I haven’t much time to write since the special paint I ordered is due to arrive from San Antonio on the bus in a few minutes and I’ve work to do on an old buggy bought from the Amish a few days ago. Texas is HOT. Humid. I’m melting but inspired by the early morning mist, the late night frogs, the heartfelt hospitality and a new project.

NEW! DVD and poster

Ok. Yes. See? Your suggestions and requests are appreciated and even acted upon. Despite my own reluctance to print a poster or create a DVD…well…I did…! The poster features three detailed carving pictures to inspire you in the workshop. The DVD has video clips from multiple TV features…fun stuff…a peek into life inside and outside my studio and even one pretty funny stint on a game show. Game show?!

Years ago a producer read an article about the huge chocolate carvings I created for Nestle in a glossy women’s magazine. He insisted on flying me to LA, picking me up in a limousine, putting me up in a posh hotel, and taping this show. Personally I was uncomfortable with the amount of lipstick their make-up person put on me but the whole experience was a fun quirky adventure (maybe I even won…but I won’t tell).


Fun Art (yes…even the “minions”)

I just LOVE animated movies!!! Art, humor, story, humor, art….

The kids said I laughed more often and louder than anyone else in the theater last night. Heck, I was laughing before the movie started just by looking at their little faces with those BIG black 3D glasses on. I watched the “villain” fall in love with those three CUTE children – felt my heart open with wonder and warm fuzzies at the gift of three awesome children in my life.


click on the image above to see video from "Despicable Me"

The Big O’l Logs are UP!

Phew!  After months (and months) of delay, Paul and I wrestled with the mesquite logs last week.  He worked out a few kinks in the custom wench/hoist we built at the studio so that I can lift each thousand-pound half-log.  I admit they still make me nervous when trying to jostle the heavy buggers around.  My work consisted mostly of looking.  Yes.  Just looking.  Thinking.  Feeling. 

I drew lines.  Paul made cuts with a rented beam saw.

The logs are beautiful;  they command the space with their presence.  I have more looking, sketching, and feeling to do.  BUT soon plenty of mesquite sawdust will be flying… 

crunch time

Three weeks were scheduled to complete the large chocolate creation for Nestle.  Paul and the kids were going to fly to Wisconsin at the tail end of the project so that we could indulge in the festival then scoot to a cabin on a lake with friends for Memorial weekend.  Alas, life reared up and interfered with those plans when my father was diagnosed with fourth stage pancreatic cancer.  Thank goodness Paul agreed to assist me so that together (without much sleep) we accomplished the project in seven days.  PHEW! 

We used over 5000 miniature CRUNCH bars in the creation.  Unfortunately the bars were individually wrapped since they were out-of-date product.  I could venture to guess how many Nestle-work-force-people-hours were used to unwrap miniature CRUNCH bars but suffice to say simply …ZILLIONS!

Delivering Sculptures

Should have taken some pictures (or video) yesterday while toting a trailer full of large sculptures wrapped in a tarp looking like an 800 pound burrito to the Holter Museum in Helena. Mom rode along with Zaydee and I across the rolling green wheat fields past muddled looking Canyon Ferry Lake (engorged with rainwater and spring runoff). We munched on fresh croissant sandwiches from Wheat Montana bakery and enjoyed the sunshine while we kept a close watch on a classic Montana blue sky. Small dark bruised clouds hung on the distant horizon – a clue of the fitful late afternoon thunderstorms which would accompany us home. 

What a treat the show “Out of the Box” is going to be!!! More than 30 internationally known wood artists’ and artisans’ meticulously crafted sculptures and furniture will be showcased in a show where everyone is pushing the boundaries of vision and craftsmanship in wood. STUNNING!!  
A fat friendly cat sat on a barstool and greeted us just inside the door of the Winston Bar. We met Cliff (who had spent the day fishing the lake) for a little snack. Cliff’s policy is “catch and filet.”  He threw two bags of fish in with the packing blankets and the folded up tarp in the back of my truck before we left Winston in a rainstorm to return home. Fresh grilled rainbow trout was a treat to top off a fine day of “work.” 
I love my job 🙂