From the Studio: Biographical Bookends

Welcome back to my piano art studio. Today I’d like to share with you how simply a piece of trash may be redeemed.

Unsightly scrap

Who would have thought something so cotton-pickin’ cute could come from the trash pile?

It’s my passion to take the pieces of old pianos and make something useful and/or decorative out of them. But when it came to the piano desk (the wood that supports the keys), I honestly didn’t know what I could do with it. Several desks have remained stacked in a corner of the garage for years, waiting for me to come up with an idea. One of them was particularly ugly, so I decided to cut it up (to fit it in the trash bin) and throw it away. But as I cut, suddenly the pieces began to take shape. With the rounded edges, some pieces actually looked like books, and I realized I had a treasure.

Unlikely art

Now that I knew I wanted to keep the wood, I began to work more deliberately: measuring, making straight cuts, washing, drying, sanding, more sanding, painting, lettering, varnishing, and at last, adding a strip of felt (also a piano piece) to the bottom. And speaking of lettering, normally I hand-letter anything that contains writing. But for these books, I wanted to give them as authentic a look as possible, so I used a Cricut for the first time in my life. (What an experience!) It was both fun and challenging creating the book titles (yes, I actually made them up), then forming the letters with the Cricut, then preparing the letters for use and placing them on the spines of the books. I found the wood grain to be so beautiful that I decided to leave the “paper” edges in their natural state, rather than painting them gold. They did get a few coats of matte varnish to accentuate the grain and to preserve the wood.

Unfinished posts

The titles of these future biographical blog posts are as follows:

Turquoise bookends
• Victor Borge: Comedy in Music
• Brother Ray: A Biography of Ray Charles

Orange bookends
• Rachmaninoff: From Writer’s Block to Rhapsody
• Lisztomania: How Franz Liszt Rocked the Music World

Blue and Gray bookends
• Beethoven’s Greatest Symphony
• Claude Debussy by Moonlight

Burnt Umber bookends
• Leonard Bernstein: Musician Made in America
• The Passion of Johann Sebastian Bach

How can I make it mine?

Only two sets of bookends are available at this time: the turquoise and the orange, and you may find them both in my shop.

♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬

Thank you for joining me on this tour of the studio. I look forward to seeing you on the next one. Until then, I invite you to check out photos of my other work in the gallery. Enjoy the rest of your day!