2014 People's Biennial at the Museum Of Contemporary Art Detroit

The Sept 12 opening at the Museum Of Contemporary Art in Detroit was great fun.  I was very happy so many people came to see my show at MOCAD.  It was a lot of work to plan and make the boxes and then fill them with copies of articles and photos and things that were important in my life.

Left wall of my exhibit at MOCAD People's Biennial 2014.  Puzzle table with Camp T box, in the corner puzzle table with 500 mile Ski Expedition to Lapland, center wall has puzzle table with 2 sections that extend out with a center area for moments and a drawer below full of photos.  Above this box is a rustic walnut Mantle shelf that holds two turned pieces and the walnut triangular shaped box I designed and built for my father's internment flag.  The walls have frames built with oak in a similar interlocking design as the puzzle tables.  Far left are 2 shelves.  The top one holds Bottle stoppers I turned and the lower shelf has some jewelry boxes i made.

Left wall of my exhibit at MOCAD People's Biennial 2014.  Puzzle table with Camp T box, in the corner puzzle table with 500 mile Ski Expedition to Lapland, center wall has puzzle table with 2 sections that extend out with a center area for moments and a drawer below full of photos.  Above this box is a rustic walnut Mantle shelf that holds two turned pieces and the walnut triangular shaped box I designed and built for my father's internment flag.  The walls have frames built with oak in a similar interlocking design as the puzzle tables.  Far left are 2 shelves.  The top one holds Bottle stoppers I turned and the lower shelf has some jewelry boxes i made.

 My mother saved everything so I had things like report cards and letters I wrote to her from my time at the Michigan School for the Blind in Lansing.  I attended school there from 2nd grade to 11th grade. I wrote home saying I wanted to go outdoors and play.  (I still do)  I learned to cross country ski at MSB and it became a passion I pursued for many years.  I built a Hickory box that was made to fit an iPad into the top with a slideshow of the 500+ mile skiing expedition I took with several friends across Lapland in 1982  .

Hickory box with slide show showing a reindeer herd we encountered on a 500 mile trip across Lapland.  It is setting on a bungalow style puzzle table I designed and built. 

Hickory box with slide show showing a reindeer herd we encountered on a 500 mile trip across Lapland.  It is setting on a bungalow style puzzle table I designed and built. 

Hickory box with slide distinctive dark grain pattern.  

Hickory box with slide distinctive dark grain pattern.  

Side view of the Hickory box in closed position

Side view of the Hickory box in closed position

Side view of the Hickory box in open position. The iPad in the lid plays a slide show of my trip across Lapland and then a slide show of a trailer for "Maire's Journey"  a documentary made by Keith Famie about Maire Kent's losing battle with Cardiac Sarcoma and then follows a boat I built for her ashes as it made it's journey from launch at Cross Village, Lake Michigan all the way to the Atlantic Ocean where her ashes were released. 

Side view of the Hickory box in open position. The iPad in the lid plays a slide show of my trip across Lapland and then a slide show of a trailer for "Maire's Journey"  a documentary made by Keith Famie about Maire Kent's losing battle with Cardiac Sarcoma and then follows a boat I built for her ashes as it made it's journey from launch at Cross Village, Lake Michigan all the way to the Atlantic Ocean where her ashes were released. 

George Wurtzel and the boat he built for Maire's Journey now on display at MOCAD in Detroit

George Wurtzel and the boat he built for Maire's Journey now on display at MOCAD in Detroit

My father died when I was young.  He served in WWll and I designed this walnut box to hold his Military Flag.  The rustic walnut shelf is made from a tree that had grown too large for the space between a house and garage in Minneapolis.  

My father died when I was young.  He served in WWll and I designed this walnut box to hold his Military Flag.  The rustic walnut shelf is made from a tree that had grown too large for the space between a house and garage in Minneapolis.  

Side view of the Walnut mantle style shelf.  Notice the side brackets still have bark on them.   The piece on the right of the Flag Case is turned of oak with a lot of character.  The giant Cherry wood egg on stand won second place at the Minneapolis turner's meeting at Easter time.

Side view of the Walnut mantle style shelf.  Notice the side brackets still have bark on them.   The piece on the right of the Flag Case is turned of oak with a lot of character.  The giant Cherry wood egg on stand won second place at the Minneapolis turner's meeting at Easter time.

The tall red box I call "Self Portrait" holds a worn out pair of my bib overalls, a flannel shirt and a summer straw hat I wore to pieces along with a cane I have traveled hundreds of mile with.  On the left door are letter I wrote to my parents when I was in second grade, attending the MIchigan School for the Blind.  On the right door are photos of three of my students I taught with their projects along with a letter from a mother thanking me for helping her daughter.  

The tall red box I call "Self Portrait" holds a worn out pair of my bib overalls, a flannel shirt and a summer straw hat I wore to pieces along with a cane I have traveled hundreds of mile with.  On the left door are letter I wrote to my parents when I was in second grade, attending the MIchigan School for the Blind.  On the right door are photos of three of my students I taught with their projects along with a letter from a mother thanking me for helping her daughter.  

The oak bookcase hold a 3 piece dome top  turned jewelry box and a curly maple box on the second shelf.

The oak bookcase hold a 3 piece dome top  turned jewelry box and a curly maple box on the second shelf.

 Close up of a jewelry box with a  spalted birch top with ebony finial and a myrtle base.

 Close up of a jewelry box with a  spalted birch top with ebony finial and a myrtle base.

Spalted birch jewelry box showing all three pieces

Spalted birch jewelry box showing all three pieces

Three tiered oak box in closed position.  The walnut arms rotate to extend the top layer to the sides.

Three tiered oak box in closed position.  The walnut arms rotate to extend the top layer to the sides.

Three tiered oak box open.  The walnut arms rotate to extend the top layer to the sides.

Three tiered oak box open.  The walnut arms rotate to extend the top layer to the sides.

George Wurtzel on the right side of his exhibit at MOCAD.  In the corner on a round glass top table he built is a miniature walnut grand piano representing his 10 years attending the Michigan School for the Blind in Lansing,   A small version of one George was commissioned to build as presentation gift for Stevie Wonder- a fellow alumni of the school.  The next table holds a puzzle like the one his grandfather made.  This puzzle was the design inspiration for all of the glass top tables in this museum display.

George Wurtzel on the right side of his exhibit at MOCAD.  In the corner on a round glass top table he built is a miniature walnut grand piano representing his 10 years attending the Michigan School for the Blind in Lansing,   A small version of one George was commissioned to build as presentation gift for Stevie Wonder- a fellow alumni of the school.  The next table holds a puzzle like the one his grandfather made.  This puzzle was the design inspiration for all of the glass top tables in this museum display.

Closed view of the rough cedar box of Camp Tuhsmeheta memories. 

Closed view of the rough cedar box of Camp Tuhsmeheta memories. 

Camp Tuhsmeheta hold a very special place in George's heart.  This box has snapshots of camp scenes on the inside of the lid,  inside there are lots of newsletters and articles about Camp T while George was executive director of the organization who ran camp for many years.

Camp Tuhsmeheta hold a very special place in George's heart.  This box has snapshots of camp scenes on the inside of the lid,  inside there are lots of newsletters and articles about Camp T while George was executive director of the organization who ran camp for many years.

close up of log foot on the Camp T box

close up of log foot on the Camp T box

Top cedar shelf showing bottle stoppers George turns.  Next shelf on right holds square cherry box with key joints on the corners and maple lid, next is turned walnut box with curly maple lid, and next is oak with box joint corners.  Lower shelf holds a flamed maple box with walnut top and corners, ash box with box corners, distinctive square pedestal  feet and hinged lid.  next is mahogany box with lift off lid.

Top cedar shelf showing bottle stoppers George turns.  Next shelf on right holds square cherry box with key joints on the corners and maple lid, next is turned walnut box with curly maple lid, and next is oak with box joint corners.  Lower shelf holds a flamed maple box with walnut top and corners, ash box with box corners, distinctive square pedestal  feet and hinged lid.  next is mahogany box with lift off lid.

5 turned bottle stoppers made by George Wurtzel at his shop in Minneapolis.   

5 turned bottle stoppers made by George Wurtzel at his shop in Minneapolis. 

 

Close view of a spalted maple bottle stopper turned in the shape of a hat.

Close view of a spalted maple bottle stopper turned in the shape of a hat.

Camp T Birdhouse and photo of the campers who built it.  Above that is an article about George that was published in the April/May 2014 issue of American Woodworker.

Camp T Birdhouse and photo of the campers who built it.  Above that is an article about George that was published in the April/May 2014 issue of American Woodworker.

My exhibit was one of 17 in the 2014 People's Biennial at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.  

Eric Soth and George Wurtzel - Illustration on the outside of my exhibit space.  Eric Soth, was the person who collaborated with me to make this museum exhibit possible.  

Eric Soth and George Wurtzel - Illustration on the outside of my exhibit space.  Eric Soth, was the person who collaborated with me to make this museum exhibit possible.  

This sign explains the purpose of the exhibit at MOCAD curated by Harrell Fletcher and Jens Hoffman

This sign explains the purpose of the exhibit at MOCAD curated by Harrell Fletcher and Jens Hoffman

MOCAD Teen Council and Youth Program Producer Tylonn Sawyer visiting my exhibit at the People's Biennial 2 in Detroit.

MOCAD Teen Council and Youth Program Producer Tylonn Sawyer visiting my exhibit at the People's Biennial 2 in Detroit.

Youth Program Producer Tylonn Sawyer at my exhibit in the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit

Youth Program Producer Tylonn Sawyer at my exhibit in the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit

MOCAD doorway on Garfield St in Detroit.  The Museum is on the corner of Garfield and Woodward just 4 blocks south of the Detroit Institute of Art

MOCAD doorway on Garfield St in Detroit.  The Museum is on the corner of Garfield and Woodward just 4 blocks south of the Detroit Institute of Art

MOCAD is on the corner of Garfield and Woodward in Detroit.  4454 Woodward to be exact.

MOCAD is on the corner of Garfield and Woodward in Detroit.  4454 Woodward to be exact.

The People's Biennial will be open at MOCAD from September 12, 2014 to January 5, 2015.

HOURS

Wednesday, Saturday, & Sunday: 11AM - 5PM
Thursday & Friday: 11AM - 8PM
Closed Monday & Tuesday

Special thanks to Jonathon Rajewski and Zeb Smith and the rest of the staff of MOCAD.  They were very welcoming and helpful during the set-up.  To Fred Wurtzel and Mike Ellis for recording and mixing a radio interview of me with music which plays in the piano.  Keith Famie for his help with  promotion and loaning Maire's sailboat for this exhibit.  Visit the website www.Mairesjourney.com to see more on her remarkable courage.

PLEASE visit my website GMWurtzel.com

Minneapolis Parade of Homes Fall 2014 Remodelers Showcase

The Minneapolis Remodeler's remodeler's Showcase Home Tour features a home at 2316 Pillsbury Avenue S., Minneapolis that I made both interior and exterior pillars for.  It is R59 in the list of homes.  

I built octagonal porch pillars for the exterior last year, to replace some that had been damaged by age and weather.  The homeowners were so pleased that they asked me to build some custom support pillars to match other interior features of their home.   

Come visit this wonderful remodel Next Level has recently finished! The owners of this historic 1905 home have been carefully restoring and maintaining this home since they purchased it. With a growing family, they realized the need for a larger working kitchen, family room, and mud room, but still insisted on having the finished project be in keeping with the historic nature of the home. Extreme attention to detail was maintained during this project upholding major design elements of the existing home.

Parade of Homes runs September 6-28 (Thurs-Sun. noon-6pm), Remodelers Showcase is on Fri. Sept. 26 from 1-7pm; Sat/Sun Sept.27-28 from noon-6pm

Custom octagonal pillar I made of Red Birch to match the interior woodwork on this classic Minneapolis home.

Custom octagonal pillar I made of Red Birch to match the interior woodwork on this classic Minneapolis home.

The fine detail on these support pillars I made matches the original trim in this classic Minneapolis home.

The fine detail on these support pillars I made matches the original trim in this classic Minneapolis home.

Pillar as seen looking toward the living room.  

Pillar as seen looking toward the living room.  

I have been building wood trim and doing restoration for many years.  Contact me if you need any type of architectural millwork.  I can restore original pieces, reproduce vintage millwork or design appropriate new pieces to compliment your old home.  WWW.GMWurtzel.com

Bungalow Style Bookcases

This weekend I built 2 red oak bookcases with fixed tops and bottoms and two adjustable shelves. They are open style, very sturdy, but light enough to move easily.  Solid red oak lumber components. The sides and backs  look like pickets in a fence with beveled angled tops.  The four legs are on the side corners with one narrower slat centered between them and 2 narrower slats on the back to keep the books in. The legs are oak slats 7/8" thick by 2 1/2" wide. They are similar to those built in the Arts n Crafts era about 1920, and they look like contemporary styling too. We had some very similar to these in every dorm room at MSB. 

 dimensions -  42' tall by 19 1/4" wide by 12 1/2" deep with two adjustable shelves.

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Assorted Decorative Wood Bottle Stoppers

My selection of bottle stoppers is forever changing and it is unlikely that I will make two the same. Each stopper becomes whatever is in my head when I turn it on the lathe. Most are made from my special box  labeled "wood too small to save".

They fit a wide range of bottles and are great for wine, oil, beer, vinegar or any other product that needs a quick and easy pretty top. For some of us with arthritic fingers these make it easy to uncork and re-cork bottles.

To purchase or to visit George's storefront, contact him at 517-449-2150 or gmwurtzel@gmail.com.

Assorted decorative wood bottle stoppers. Photo by Karen Kopacz.

Assorted decorative wood bottle stoppers. Photo by Karen Kopacz.

Rosewood stopper with stainless base

Rosewood stopper with stainless base

MINI wine glass

MINI wine glass

Stainless stopper is tapered and will fit in most any bottle

Stainless stopper is tapered and will fit in most any bottle

Black Ash Bowl

This black ash bowl is made from burl. The exterior has bark still on except the ends where it was cut from tree. Interior of this bowl is stunning with grain and coulers going in every direction. Size of the bowl is 12 inches across and about 6 1/2 inches deep.

To purchase or to visit George's storefront, contact him at 517-449-2150 or gmwurtzel@gmail.com.

Black ash bowl. Photo by Karen Kopacz.

Black ash bowl. Photo by Karen Kopacz.

Handcrafted Christmas Ornaments

Like many of my little things, Christmas ornaments just imagine themselves in my head  kind of like sugar plums dancing around. I cannot make them fast enough to keep up with my friends who want one of my special creations hanging on their tree for years.

The ornament featured on the left is made from a prism, salvaged from old chandelier. It is suspended inside of a walnut ring with a small black wood button and another glass crystal above that. The ornament featured on the right is a special ornament for my friend Dawn. It is made from 3 pieces of turned wood. The top and bottom are blood wood and the center orb is birds-eye maple, her favorite wood.

Watch for more ornaments to appear in this Newest Work section. You willl need to be quick to get one.

To purchase or to visit George's storefront, contact him at 517-449-2150 or gmwurtzel@gmail.com.

Ornament with prism, salvaged from an old chandelier. Photo by Karen Kopacz.

Ornament with prism, salvaged from an old chandelier. Photo by Karen Kopacz.

Blood wood and birds-eye maple ornament. Photo by Karen Kopacz.

Blood wood and birds-eye maple ornament. Photo by Karen Kopacz.

Red Birch Bowl

I sometimes find logs that have the bark firmly attached and look like they would make interesting pieces. Here is a red birch bowl, about 9 by 6 inches by 3 inches deep. This is a good bowl for keys, phones and other little treasures that you want to keep from wondering around the house. This bowl was made from a split log and the ends were hand cut to expose a lot of the grains. The finish is clear tongue oil.

To purchase or to visit George's storefront, contact him at 517-449-2150 or gmwurtzel@gmail.com.

Red birch bowl. Photo by Karen Kopacz.

Red birch bowl. Photo by Karen Kopacz.

Globe Lamp

Sometimes I see something and say to myself I could make something cool out of this. Here is a glass globe lamp that uses an old 9 inch spiraled glass globe. I do not know how old the globe is, but I bought it at yard sale and have had it around for 20 years.

The base is a piece of stunning curly maple that has very distinct graining. The chatoyance (a striking three-dimensional appearance) of this wood is excellent.

This lamp is 12 inches across and about 11 inches tall  has a 25 watt  incandescent bulb. There is no venting so if you want it to be brighter an LED bulb can be used.

To purchase or to visit George's storefront, contact him at 517-449-2150 or gmwurtzel@gmail.com.

Globe lamp. Photo by Karen Kopacz.

Globe lamp. Photo by Karen Kopacz.