Sunday, November 29, 2015

Balloon Mobile in Process

New Balloon Finish
haddad, art, painted balloons, mobiles
Balloon Mobile Pieces from Haddad Art

Here are three sets of balloons with a new finish style.  The process to create this aged and primitive look includes:
  • Painting each piece a solid color.
  • Sanding each piece to take off the luster of the paint and remove paint from the edges
  • Repainting the balloons with a color wash to provide a muted warm affect.
  • Shellac will be applied to the balloons for a warm sheen
There are nine balloons which will be used for three balloons separate mobiles.  The clouds are in the process of drying with glossy white paint.

Each balloon have a gondola with two pilots.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Mister Boxy

Happy Turtle

Mister Boxy will add a smile to any room in your home.  He will trudge along or hold one of your favorite plants.  I have Mister Boxy's big brother in the works and will be completed this week.  If you want to give a unique gift to your a turtle loving friend, let me know. 

Repurposed Studio and Gallery

American Beauty

I am so excited about having my American Beauty delivered next week. This addition to my complex will add clean studio space, a gallery to show my art and storage space for completed work.

Kitchen - Studio Space

As you can see the front of this classic is floor to ceiling glass which provides excellent natural light for the kitchen studio.  The kitchen cabinets will store paints and finishes.  The counter top will provide excellent work surfaces for my art.  The size of the kitchen will also allow my art to become larger as well.

Living Room - Gallery

The living room will provide gallery space to show my creations and art.  The living room also has a wood burning fireplace to add some charm and heat to this space.

Bedrooms and Bathrooms

The rear end of the trailer has two bedrooms, laundry room, bathroom and utility closet.  This space will provide ample storage for the time being.  As my mother used to say, "you never have enough storage".

American Beauty left side
Haddad Art Gallery
American Beauty master suite with bow window.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Catalyst to Using Color - Akins' Bird House

Akins' Bird House

Akins Birdhouse
The Akins' Birdhouse pushed me into using paint for the first time in my life other than finger paints in my early years.  I procrastinate due to fearing rejection and success. 

Steve pushed me in a new direction in my work.
When Steve picked up the piece, he loved it.
After thatI started to make wall sculptures and used the left over paint.  In January Steve stopped in to share how the birdhouse was received.  The recipients loved it.

I showed Steve my wall sculptures, he was enthralled by them.  At this time he suggested I make vases.  I started on the vases and created some rustic pieces from pallet wood.  I painted the vases a multitude of colors with different textures.  At this point I started to use paint more often to add color and dimension to my work.  I am not a painter by any means and have great respect for those who can paint.

How My Vases Came to Be

Fire Red Vase - not a great picture
 My vases started with my friend Steve Akins recommendation to build vases and use the colors found in my wall sculptures.
After short consideration I started creating a few boxes with scraps with the same finish as the wall sculptures.  There was something cathartic about the vases.

Initially the vases were square and painted with solid colors of acrylic paint.  Adding black to the finish added a dimension to the box vases.  But the vases looked like funky and square boxes -  kind of like the old Volvos - Boxy but good.

When I was sanding the corners and eliminating the remnants of the fastening pegs, I decided to use my 3"x36" bench grinder in place of my palm sander.  The grinder worked great squaring edges and sanding the boxes smooth.

The real excitement started when I decided to use the grinder to "wonkitize" the sides of the vases.  Wonkitizing is the work I use to describe the curvy and sensual lines created with grinding the vases into shape.

In less than a week of heavy use I burned up my fifty dollar grinder.  While I was wonkitizing a vase, thick white smoke poured from the under belly of the grinder.  A sad day to say the least.

Being broke most of the time lead me to CraigsList where I found a 1970 something 6x48 inch cast iron Craftsmen grinder.  I bought this beast for fifty bucks (the same price as my cheapy grinder).  I was back in business until I burned Craftsmen motor up wonkitizing vases and boxes.

I was shocked when I found the cost for a new grinder motor was two hundred bucks.  A small electric shop in Henderson, KY was very good to me and sold me a new closed body motor for a hundred bucks.  I was back to grinding and carving.

Below are a few vases that I have created recently.

Additional Vases and Pencil Boxes

haddad art vases, primitive vases, wood vases
Modernist Rustic Vases

Wood Vase, Grinder Vase, haddad vase
Purple Grinder Vase

sculpted wood pencil boxes, haddad art pencil boxes, pencil boxes
Sculpted Pencil Boxes

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

BLUME: John Haddad arts and crafts

Credit: Aimee Blume / Special to The Courier & Press

Woodworker and modern folk artist John Haddad of Evansville prefers art to be functional with a dose of whimsy, for example, this turtle-head coat rack.

Not everyone is willing or able to leave behind a successful career and dive into a passion for creativity, design, and humor. However, John Haddad of Evansville has managed to move from a career in the building trades into modern folk art, while still relying on materials common to house construction, carpentry skills and a keen eye for appealing design.

Haddad and his wife, Lesly, moved here from Pennsylvania three years ago. Haddad worked in the home building industry. Lesly grew up in Odon, Indiana, and has children living in Petersburg and Vincennes. Wanting to be nearer to family but in an urban area, the couple chose Evansville as the place to settle.

“My intention when I came to Evansville was to publish a home improvement magazine,” said Haddad. “I had everything lined up. At home I was the expert, but everyone here thought of me as a stranger. After a certain day, I walked in the house and said ‘I quit.’ Lesly asked what I was going to do, and I said I was going to make wooden birdhouses.”

Haddad started making all-wood construction birdhouses and bird feeders, using only the shape of the wood to hold the pieces together, with no nails or screws. With these first pieces he also began his signature use of recycled and reclaimed materials — in this case, the knotty pine boards that covered his basement walls but had been damaged by floodwaters.

“Everything I make is out of reclaimed wood,” said Haddad. “I helped deconstruct the Karges house on Second Street and I have a lot of the poplar from that.”

A turning point in his work was reached a short time later when a friend and neighbor requested a custom birdhouse with three-dimensional decoration. Haddad added four layers of wood that looked like the mountains around Gatlinburg, Tennessee, painted the creation and added steel wire trees. It was the first time he’d painted a craft or worked with wire.

That first painting led him to create painted wall sculptures from bits of leftover wood, and soon enough the same friend suggested he try making wooden vases.

When he first began selling at arts and craft shows, Haddad stuck to the straight and narrow. For the Christmas season, he produced wooden snow men made of roughly stacked, painted blocks of wood. The rustic sculptures were quite jolly and commercially acceptable — too much so for the quirky Haddad.

“I did the old County Courthouse show two years ago,” he said. “I made wooden snowmen for that. They were cute. I didn’t like them. But they’ve turned into something else — the angry snowman.” He pulled out another rustic snowman, this time with glowering brows and a fierce grimace, more than capable of being the bad guy in any claymation cartoon. “I made a couple of those just to be silly, and people wanted to by them more than the cute ones.”

Haddad’s style continues to be a work in progress, which is gratifying yet frustrating, he said. Of course, it’s when artists are in extremis that much of their unique work is created.

“Last year was hard on me because I tried to think of everything in the world I might like to make but that people also would buy,” he said. “I was frustrated, and that led to the monsters.”

Haddad’s monsters might be his signature pieces to date. Again made from scrap wood, heavy-gauge wire and paint, the silly creations boast somewhat cubic dimensions, fierce faces with at least one eye, and wire arms, hands or hair that can hold business cards or photographs, if that’s how you want to use them. Haddad is more concerned that they bring a smile to your face.

“I had a guy from new jersey order 10 of the monsters to put around the house just to make him smile,” he said. “To me, that’s success. If I can make a piece that makes me laugh, that’s a good thing. If it makes me giggle while I’m making it, it’s a good piece.”

After the success of the monster theme, Haddad added whimsical animals to his lineup. What began as happy little fish-shaped cutouts for refrigerator magnets became three-dimensional fish sculptures and “stabiles” — stationary mobiles with carefully balanced appendages that sit on a surface rather than hang. Other mobiles give new meaning to the terms “flying fish” and “amphibious aircraft” as fish sprout propellers and airplane wings. Ladybugs feast on blocks of Swiss cheese. Grinning turtle heads stretch from a coat rack to receive your jacket. Anything goes, as long as it’s fun.

“I did some shows and the Franklin Street Bazaar last summer, and the bazaar was really the catalyst for a lot of stuff,” said Haddad. “Every week I wanted to take something new.”

In the immediate future, Haddad wants to keep his sense of simple whimsy intact while creating pieces that are as functional as they are decorative. Coat racks and desk pieces are already in production, while he’s putting together ideas for lighting and chandeliers,
“It has to be the fun and funky stuff though,” he said. “If it’s all straight and square and boring, if it doesn’t make me laugh, I don’t like it. The biggest intent of my work is making people smile and laugh out loud. I want what I make to be fun and lighthearted.”

To see more of Haddad’s art, visit him this summer at the Franklin Street Bazaar or go to his website at


These quacks add a blast of color to any room in the house.  The booted yellow ducks were created using pine rafters from a home built in 1907.  The finish is yellow paint that has been buffed smooth.
hand make, yellow duck, wood duck,
Quackey Betsy Duck - Happily Adopted
Yellow, wood, duck
Quackey Jackie Duck

Quackey Noreen Duck
Quackey Yellow wood duck, wood duck, sandra
Quackey Sandra Duck
Holly, Haddad, Holly Haddad, Yellow Duck
Quackey Holly Duck

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Happy Little Flying Pigs

These dudes just make me smile.  The one on the right looks a bit angry where as lefty looks lost.  I made these from tree branches we cut down in our yard this summer.  At first the branches were going to be walking sticks.  Flying pigs are much more fun.

Two flying pigs
Lefty and Righty - Two Flying Pigs
Angry flying pig
Righty - The Angy Pig
Lost Flying Pig
Lefty - The Lost Flying Pig

First Flying Pig Mobile

This is my first flying pig mobile which is at the Dapper Pig in Evansville, Indiana...the last I heard.  I have created more of these flying pink smile makers which sell well.

Flying Pig Mobile


Out Door Flying Pig

This jumbo flying pig is ready for your garden, entry way or just to hang from a tree.  Barry was constructed from a hickory barn beam donated by my friend Adam who received from another friend Scott.  Barry is residing in Evansville, Indiana and was adopted at the Franklin Street Bazaar in the summer of 2015.  The first picture is Barry and my grandson Gavin.

Monsters - Cheaper than Therapy

My monsters were the catalyst to create pieces that amuse me and put a smile on my face. 

If your looking for a great pick me up gift for someone who is feeling not so great, one of my monsters is close to the price of a disposable Hallmark greeting card.  These little buggers will make almost everyone smile.  For available Monsters, visit my Etsy store: Haddad Art.

Here are six of my monsters created in the spring of 2015.