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MOC designed and hand burned

Slide 5 title


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pop With Brains!

Hello All!

It's been a nutty past few weeks culminating in a really fun night at the Rivoli last Friday! The event was called Pop With Brains, and is an ongoing music and arts showcase that raises funds for CAMH.

Look at me, I'm on the event poster!
Since the beginning of September, I've been working longer than usual hour days at my day job. This meant that my MOC worktime was limited to the evening hours... and sometimes wee hours of the night. I'd rather not work at night, as routers and chisels and such can get kind of loud and disruptive - but sometimes you just gotta do it. Sorry, neighbours!

Anywho, I've never shown any artwork at a bar/tavern venue before, so I had no idea what to expect. I was told to bring a lamp, my art, and table set-up materials.

My wonderful GF was of course there to help me set up, and we got there at about 8:15pm. There were already a couple of art vendors there in the back room, so we nestled into line along the west wall. During set-up, we had a chance to get our eardrums mashed in by a couple of the bands' soundchecks, and before long we were ready. There were a couple more artists who arrived after us, and all in all there were (unless my memory fails me) five of us there packed in all cozily along the side of the venue.
Me with my MOC set up! I'm glad we had the lamp, as it sure did get dark in there! The lamp, by the way, was made out of a couple of books... by THIS guy!
This being my very first show in Toronto, I was very fortunate to have a few of my close friends come out and support me. Thank you so very much! It means a lot to me that you were able to make it!

Here are some of the items that I made for the evening: some original art, as well as some locally themed items.

A buckle done for Adymm Ender, of the band Secrettes, who was awesome as co-organizer for the event.

Some (at the time) unfinished pieces that eventually were completed for the event. Both the Leaside Pin and Robot Love bottle opener sold at the show! All done on a wood called Yellowheart.
Gotta rep the home TO neighbourhood with a Parkdale Pin.
The Regent Park Pin. Burned on to Yellowheart.
Heart Buckle. This one was made from a wood called Bocote, and I used the natural grain of the wood, which had a heart shape in it it for inspiration. The red colour was stained, and the white border was done in acrylic paint.
Same buckle as above. I really love the grain on this wood!
Another buckle using the grain as a starting point for the design, and finished using acrylic paints to provide the colour.
This Ski or Die Buckle was burned on Bubinga. I did this one because I have an affinity for skulls for some reason, and and I used to play the game Skate or Die for the Nintendo when I was younger.
A Compass Buckle on Purpleheart. Compasses are so hot right now.
This last one was a Bottle Opener of Jack Layton. It didn't sell that night, but at least half of all proceeds from any Jack Layton item will be donated to the Canadian Cancer Society. I'd initially thought to have all proceeds go to the charity, but in respect to the time and materials involved, I just need to cover costs.
I was really happy with how this TTC Streetcar Buckle came out, and was not surprised that it garnered a lot of interest before it eventually sold. I will make more of these! This picture shows the buckle just after burning, and not yet in its final buckle form.

It was fun meeting the other artists, and I got to chat up a couple of them that were sitting close to me. Jool and I, were both first timers at the Rivoli, but she's been doing her thing for a little longer than me, and has her stuff in stores (which I was a little jealous of, but I'll get there :P), but her up-cycled accessories and clothes were really cool! She even went as far as to recommend some shops and shows for me to try my luck at, which was very very nice of her!

On the other side of me sat Aparna Yadav, who was showing art on canvas, and very stylish mixed media tote bags. Her and her assistant were very friendly, and we chatted here and there during the evening.

The two other artists that were there were Yuli Scheidt, and Angie Fey. I really liked both Yuli's artistic style, as well as Angie's talent for tattooing and art!

In terms of the music portion of the night, I had a really great time listening to all the acts, as I hadn't been out to see live music in a long time. The first band that went on was a newly formed one called MeanWood (linked is the first song they played that night!) They had a lot of energy, and I loved their sound. Two other standouts for me were the Secrettes, who had some high-energy/very catchy songs, and Most People, a duo who managed to incorporate guitar/bass/computers/drumming (sometimes both at the same time) into what seemed like one sweeping epic ride of a song. I met Brandon, from Most People, who was super cool and also interested in me doing a custom buckle for him!

All in all, the night was successful, and I felt like there was a lot of positive feedback from those who saw my work. Thanks again to all those who helped and have supported me on this exciting journey!


Adam Grant
Man of Craft

Saturday, September 17, 2011


I've been getting ready for the Pop With Brains (facebook) (myspace) show on Sept 23rd. Here's a pic of my workspace!

I'm also trying out my new Blogger app for my phone. It's pretty good, but I've had to modify the layout of the images on my desktop, as it just blopped the image at the end instead of where I wanted it in the middle. 

Over the next week I'll be working like crazy (after my regular work day) to make everything for the show on the 23rd.

Adam Grant
Man of Craft

Monday, August 29, 2011

Brock's Big BIte!

On Sunday, August 14th, I was back in my home town of Beaverton, for Brock's Big Bite.  This was my very first arts festival of any kind, and I was really really excited to be there! My beautiful assistant also accompanied me (Lady of Craft?) to the festival and provided some much needed support and assistance. 

Brock's Big Bite is a long lunch style event that also celebrates local arts, entertainment, delicious food, a farmers’ market, and a historical walk through town. This was Brock's first annual 'Bite', and on most (if not all) accounts, was quite the success! My contact on the planning committee was Jay, and she was very friendly and helpful throughout the day. I got to meet some interesting people, and had a fun day all around!

Here's me and the M.O.C. setup! I'm sure it will evolve, but
it was big enough for what I had with me.

A closer view of the products.

My favourite person, modelling her specs pin and hearts earrings!
(complete with product placement! take note Coke, and pay us. :D )

Here's the real life model of the bottle opener shown here. Awesome!

The Strand Theatre bottle opener. The Strand is a movie theatre in Beaverton,
with a lot of history. Made of Padauk; with a satin finish.

The 'working' side of The Strand bottle opener. Made by cutting
the steel down to size and routing out the wood for a nice inlaid fit.

Sunderland bottle opener. Sunderland was named in 1871, and
used to be called Jones' Corners, by way of the Jones Bros.
Made of Padauk; with a satin finish.

The new inlaid steel plates now used in all M.O.C. bottle openers.
My old elementary school, Thorah Central, just outside of Beaverton,
on Hwy 12.  Made of Purpleheart; with a satin finish.

Opening bottles with a fictional bottling company in Cannington!
Made of Padauk; with a satin finish.

A bottle opener inspired by the Cannington Dog Sled Races.
Made of Purpleheart; with a satin finish.

Now you can open your bottles with Sir Isaac Brock, whom
Brock Township was named after.  Made of Purpleheart; with a satin finish.

This one's a belt buckle based on 'The Old Mill', in Beaverton.
Made of Purpleheart; with a satin finish. Note the richness of the
Purpleheart wood compared to a different batch cut for the bottle
openers. There are a lot of variances between the same wood
depending on what part of the tree it's cut from, and even by
whether it's exposed to light during storage. 

This buckle is basically 'Sunderland' laid of a brick wall look.
Made from Bubinga; with a satin finish.

This buckle is based on the 1973 Ivan Reitman film 'Cannibal Girls',
that was partially filmed in Beaverton. A Canadian horror classic!
Made from Zebrawood; with a satin finish.

Here are the three villages of Brock Township, in pin/button form!
Cannington = Bubinga
Sunderland = Yellowheart
Beaverton = Yellowheart
All have a satin finish.

The backs of the buttons above!

And here were some new pendants also made for the festival. 
From left to right, 'The Beav', 'Sunderland', 'Cannington', 'The Old Mill',
and a jaunty moustached fellow in a bowler cap!

Thanks to my family, and to Uncle Bill Brotherston (a wonderful photographer) for lending his table! Hopefully I'll be back again next year in Cannington!


Adam Grant
Man of Craft

The Etsy

I was really excited about Etsy, and I still am! While sales do have room to pick up once word gets out there, I have had some success already and it's encouraging. I've gotten a few nibbles on custom sales too, with one being completed and sent to the USA just last month. :D (you can check out the proof of that one on my Etsy site, under sales!)

Below are some of the items I've got up there right now. If you're interested in any of them, you can only purchase them on the Etsy site.

Parkdale buckle on Bubinga wood, finished with a satin clear coat.

Anchor buckle on Bubinga wood, finished with a satin clear coat.

Buckle Up buckle on Bubinga wood, finished with a satin clear coat.

Skeleton key buckle on Bubinga wood, finished with a satin clear coat.

Leaside's Finest buckle on Bubinga wood, finished with a satin clear coat.
I also sold some cufflinks to a favourite buyer of mine, and I hope the intended recipient loves them!

These 'links weren't burned, but rather left blank to show their
beautiful Bubingan grain. They were finished with a satin clear coat.
I also add some blanks of the three woods that I currently use for buckles. The Zebrawood is hardest to burn on because the grain has many soft spots that are easy to scorch. Careful, careful!

From top to bottom: Zebrawood, Purpleheart, Bubinga.
All are finished in a satin clear coat.
More items will be up soon, from my recent participation in Brock's Big Bite, in Beaverton. (Aug 14, 2011)

Adam Grant
Man of Craft

Early Pyro

A showcase of early burning.


These two buckles were the second and third ones ever made.
The 'hand burned' is pretty straightforward to understand, but
the VSS is in homage to the Varsity Sports Store where I work.
As you can see, the first two images were taken just after the
burning was done, and the last is after stain and finish were applied.
Next, I decided to experiment with acrylic paints, buckles for people I knew, and more complex designs.

Shown here are unfinished versions of four soon-to-be buckles.
Three of these will be discussed in the next photo, but the JoJo
Gun buckle is for a friend's band, called... JoJo Gun and the Bullets.
As you can see, I'm a fan of Toronto sports teams! Good or bad,
I cheer for them every year! While the 'LEAFS' was fairly easy,
the Jays design was more challenging and detailed. I was happy
with how it turned out! (and people often ask me where I got it
from :P) My friend Alex and I are in a band called ALPHABAND!

River City is taken from a sweet video game called River City
Ransom, and was done on Basswood, and acrylic paint was used
as the colour. The 'BOOKSTARS' buckle was done on an African
wood called Bubinga, and is one of the first buckles done on a
wood that I didn't need to stain, as the natural colour is quite nice.
Also, if you don't know the Bookstars, you don't know softball!

My confidence was growing, and I took this opportunity to give to a charity golf tournament that I wasn't able to attend this year. My old friend Dave Waller, passed away in 2008, and each year that passes is a year that is without an amazing person. In lieu of attending, I donated a belt buckle and cufflinks set for their annual fundraising raffle. I was happy to give and I can only hope that the set raised some funds for their causes!

These were my first cufflinks! Miss you, Dave! These were
burned on Bubinga, and finished with a semi-gloss clear coat.
Around this time I attended TCAF here in the City. It was amazing just walking around seeing all the talented comics artists! I was tasked to meet a few of my GF's favourite webcomics while I was there, which was pretty fun, but a little nerve racking for this guy being as shy as I am sometimes.

One of the artists was the talented Erika Moen (of Dar, and Bucko fame to name just two). After a signing mix-up, in which the wrong name was written in one of her books (totally my fault), I came back on day two of the festival and brought her her very own Bucko! belt buckle! (a crowning achievement on my part, I thought). She was wonderfully appreciative, and told me that she'd link my Etsy shop in her blog, which she did! Amazing! Now here's my chance to repay the favour, although she may have a few more blog readers than I do at this point... just a few. :P

Bucko, was burned on Bubinga, has some red acrylic paint
and was finished with a clear matte spray.


I didn't make too many during this time period, but I'll show you them anyways!

Unstained versions of a Leafs pin and some specs pins. The
writing on the specs pin is 'They're real, and they're SPEC-tacular!'
The 'DAVE' buckle was made for my Bro. 
This dude was made before a friend and I went to a Leafs game
this past season... it didn't help them make the playoffs unfortunately.
An azure coloured stain was applied, and a white acrylic was used inside
the leaf.
Okay! That's enough of the early pyro section. :) Next up, my foray into Etsy!


Adam Grant
Man of Craft