My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1372: Fifty Shades of Black

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 07-29-2014 11:23 AM 1904 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1371: More Progress and New Plaques Part 1372 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 1373: On The Road for a Couple of Days and another Site Update »

OK. Only two. But you are here reading so I got your attention. 

Today will I will show you the final photos of the scroll sawn version of my "Nevermore" plaque. I finished it up yesterday, and it is heading out to New Jersey this morning to be published in the November issue of Creative Woodworks and Crafts magazine, which will come out in September. That will give those of you who want to make it  plenty of time. 

I am pleased with how it came out, but I still couldn't quite decide on whether the ebony raven was better than making a birch one and using stain on it. So (as usual) I decided to offer BOTH and let my editors figure out which one would look best. I think they are going to show both as well, and it will depend on how things photograph. 

Black things are very tricky to photograph. Even with excellent lighting, it is very difficult to get the proper detail. This is especially true when the black item is placed in a multi-colored background, as with this plaque. Add to it the shadows of the dimensional branches and it really can be tough. I did manage to get some nice lighting this morning just as the sun was coming up. It was a time when it was light enough out for my camera to capture the pieces, yet not so bright as to cast additional shadows.  I think it is the best I will do with the equipment that I have. 

First I wanted to show you the two ravens side by side:

As you can see, I added some 3mm red rhinestones for the eye. I think this made a huge difference in the wooden version and I really liked the result. If ever there was a time to add a rhinestone, this would have been it. 

I took photos of the plaque with the ebony as well as the stained birch raven and I can't really decide which I like better. 

The ebony bird looked more like a silhouette in the photo, although in person, you could see the details – albeit they are very subtle:

The stained birch raven also looked good, with the lighter shade of black allowing the wood grain to show through – looking like the feather pattern:

It really was hard for me to choose. I suppose it will be a matter of personal choice as well as the availability of materials. 

I suppose with the high cost of the ebony, the stained birch is a very nice alternative. That is why I wanted to  present both versions. I don't think it is really worth it to chase all over looking for a suitable piece of wood if you don't have to do so. That is just my thoughts on it. 

I have a very busy day today, as I am writing the instructions for this project as well as for the painted Damask Ornaments that I showed you all last week. We are planning to get the site updated either tonight or tomorrow and then we want to take a couple of days to escape to Prince Edward Island for a small vacation for a couple of days. We are watching the weather and hoping that it will be nice. 

Thank you all who have been commenting on this project and sending me notes on it. It really makes me feel good when I see so much interesting in something that I created. I hope everyone enjoys making it as well. 

After a dreary, humid and rainy day yesterday, it seems much cooler and a bit my sunny today. The trees, flowers and plants are all happy and so am I. 

I wish you all a wonderful Tuesday. Have fun and enjoy your day! 

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

8 comments so far

View KnotCurser's profile


2040 posts in 4124 days

#1 posted 07-29-2014 11:56 AM

They both look fantastic and either would make this project look great.

I would personally use walnut for the raven, simply because it’s a dark wood, doesn’t need stain and I don’t have any ebony. :-)

This is going to be a big hit when the magazine hits the stands!



-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: [email protected] /

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3976 days

#2 posted 07-29-2014 12:29 PM

Thank you, Bob. :) I considered walnut until I found I had the ebony. I am sure it would look nice too.


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Roger's profile


21054 posts in 3860 days

#3 posted 07-29-2014 12:46 PM

That’s just over the top cool Shelia.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Rick13403's profile


271 posts in 4561 days

#4 posted 07-29-2014 01:03 PM

Good morning Sheila, I am with KnotCurser on this. I love working with Walnut and always have some of different thicknesses on hand. You did a great job on this plaque and I will be waiting for the mailman when that issue goes out. Have a great get away if you go. You guys deserve it.

-- Rick - DeWalt 788 & Ex21 -

View Celticscroller's profile


1286 posts in 3129 days

#5 posted 07-29-2014 04:23 PM

Good morning Sheila! Everything on this plaque has turned out so beautifully! Love the rhinestone eye! Both versions of the raven look great. My personal preference would be the darker one.
Have fun on PEI! I hope you manage to get away. A break is always good especially to a beautiful place.
Sunny and warm here!

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View Druid's profile


2205 posts in 3851 days

#6 posted 07-29-2014 06:53 PM

Looking good Sheila. My preference is for the darker black of the ebony, simply because it is closer to the colour of the ravens that visit our back yard. Nice work.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3348 days

#7 posted 07-29-2014 10:45 PM

This is an outstanding project and I’ve enjoyed following your posts. As I see it, it ends up being an artistic choice of the person who is doing it, but these are two great alternatives. I think I’d probably opt for dying walnut, but that’s just me. Best wishes on what I’m sure is going to be a great success.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3976 days

#8 posted 07-29-2014 10:48 PM

Thank you all so much for your kind words. It seems that most people would choose the hard wood raven over the plywood piece. I actually like the darker one better as well, but I know that photographing black is really hard to do.

I sure appreciate everyone’s kind input. I have received such a huge amount of positive responses from this project – as well as the painted counterpart. I think I enjoy creating from the ‘dark side’ once in a while. We will have to see what else I can come up with. :)

Thanks again – have a great evening everyone!


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

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