Gift Certificates?

dog artIdaho bed & breakfast  Yes!  Gift certificates are available.

 They can be purchased for any    amount & made redeemable for products from our store or online gift shop as well as for overnight lodging in the big dog, or both!  Each gift certificate is custom created & can be mailed either to the purchaser or to the gift recipient.  To order kindly phone or email us using the contact info on our website.

Winter Activities at Dog Bark Park, a blog by Frances Conklin

Dennis & I are often asked what occupies our time at Dog Bark Park during the winter when our bed & breakfast inn is closed from November through March.

Hibernating beagles

Hibernating beagles

While the big dog is in hibernation & traffic is light out on the highway during winter, as much as we might wish to join the big dog for a long sleep, we instead focus on activities that can only be accomplished during this slower season.

During November, December & into January we’re kept busy in the carving studio making dog sculptures ordered as special holiday gifts. By the end of the holidays we’re typically depleted of inventory for our gift shop.

Dennis, Frances and Sprocket

In the studio, photo by David C.

After a short break in January, we take up the saws & paintbrushes again to begin rebuilding inventory of dog carvings in preparation for the busy summer season ahead.

Creating a dog carving

Creating a dog carving

Last week we increased our supply of carvings from 24 pieces on the shelves in our gift shop to 64 pieces completed & ready for sale.

Dog carvings on shelves

Dog carvings on shelves

We didn’t make such rapid progress this week preparing & packing some wholesale orders for shipping & doing other tasks in and away from the studio instead.
However, by the time April arrives we should have nearly 200 pieces  stocked for shipping to customers or selling directly from the shelves.

After the holidays, while our bodies continue resting from the long days of activity during the previous months, we  kick our mental energies into high gear creating new ideas for our art, business marketing & such. This is when we develop new postcard & other product designs, clean up the shop & store, order in new supplies for the inn, establish goals & objectives for the new year and the like.

We also allow ourselves more flexible work hours at the studio; sometimes not opening when the weather is too inclement.

Winter at Dog Bark Park, photo by Wild Web West

Winter at Dog Bark Park, photo by Wild Web West

We enjoy a bit more time at home reading, watching television & spending creative time in the kitchen & on the computer; all leisure luxuries mostly unavailable to us during our vibrant high season.

By mid-March we eagerly await the return of  spring’s beauty &  the opportunity to welcome visitors & guests to our wonderful part of Idaho.

How we do it – create a German Shepherd dog carving that is

What seems uninteresting & unremarkable to artists is often not the case for non-artists.  Many times artists’ fans & collectors are fascinated by the seemingly mysterious processes involved in the making of art.

This blog will describe some of the processes we use in our studio at Dog Bark Park to create a chainsaw-carved dog carving, specifically a German Shepherd Dog.     

German Shepherd Art

German Shepherd dog carvings

Using a gas Stihl chainsaw we cut a slab of wood from a log stored outdoors in our log  yard.  Imagine the large log being rather like a loaf of bread that is sliced into appropriate thicknesses for the various uses intended for the bread; perhaps thicker for french toast & thinner for sandwiches, for example.  Similarly, we cut the log slice to the appropriate thickness for the size of the piece planned.

chainsaw carving, chainsaw art, dog art

Cutting log into slabs

We bring the freshly cut slab into our studio where the rest of the chainsaw work is done using an electric Stihl saw.  We begin by drawing an outline of the desired dog on the slab, being mindful to “read” the wood to avoid placing a knot or other undesirable characteristic in a location that might compromise the final outcome of the carving.  A large knot  on the nose of the dog, for instance,  is detrimental to the structural & cosmetic integrity of the piece.

Dennis then begins cutting away in large chunks any wood outside the German Shepherd shape penciled on the wood.  Eventually the dog begins to emerge into a 3-dimensional piece as the carving process continues as he reduces the thickness of the nose, makes the cuts to fashion the ears, tail, feet and so forth.  The final stages include rounding all the squared edges to give a finished more natural look to the dog.  The scrap wood scattered on the floor around the wood carving platform after the piece is finished is a large volume of wood than what is in the finished piece.  All this scrap is stored becoming our fuel for heating the studio.

Dog art, chainsaw carvings, German Shepherd dog

Carving a German Shepherd

After being carved the dog is set aside, either indoors near the wood stove in winter or outdoors when sunny weather prevails,  for a few days or couple of weeks to dry before prepping the carving for painting.  How long a piece takes to cure depends on moisture levels in the wood, the ambient air humidity & such factors. 

When cured, the dog is given eye & nostril cuttings using a Dremel tool.  The dog is brushed to remove any thick globs of sawdust and then it is lightly burned with a propane torch to burn off any remaining loose material as well as any residual chainsaw oil.  The burning also provides a final cure & adds color to the pine wood.

The German Shepherd carving is then taken outdoors to a painting table to spray paint on the black saddle markings.  At least two coats are applied, with drying time of a few hours or couple of days between coats.  Next the dog is moved to our studio paint table where its eyes and nostrils are hand-painted black.  Final finishing includes affixing a brass license tag  to the dog’s upper chest, tying a red fabric neckerchief around its neck & attaching hang tag.

At most times of the year our carvings are made to order, meaning they will be packaged for pick-up or mailing  to customers upon their completion.  This process is often called on-demand manufacturing.  In any case, what it means for us is that typically our carvings sell faster than we can replace inventory in our shop store.   We do try to maintain an inventory of at least 50 small-size carvings of various breeds at any one time to be able to fulfill orders for them quickly.

Somehow this large-size German Shepherd

Dog Art, Chainsaw dog art, German Shepherd art

German Shepherd Dog carving ready to paint

has not been spoken for.  We have left it “naked” for the time being in the event someone is interested to have a white shepherd, all black one, or one with markings different from the typical black saddle & muzzle.  If ordered this week we could still complete paint and ship the Shepherd to arrive before Dec 25th.       

Dog art, German Shepherd Dogs, Chainsaw art, gifts for dog lovers

German Shepherd large ready for paint, small ready for adoption

A slideshow peek & Holiday picture of Dog Bark Park

Holiday decorations & Mr. Sprocket

 
Besides our regular listing & wonderful visitor reviews on Trip Advisor we can now also be found on Trip Advisor’s Vacation Rental link.  As part of that a new video-style slideshow of updated images.
 
Welcome to the Dog Bark Park Inn, Bed and Breakfast by Frances Conklin in Cottonwood, Idaho. Brought to you by TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals, powered by TripWow!™ 
 
So much marvelous technology is out there to utilize & this is but one of them.  Oh, to have the time to explore all the fun stuff out there!  Being a mom & pop business tending everything ourselves from maintenance to marketing, Dennis & I must always remain mindful of the most important parts of our endeavor – creating our chainsaw dog carvings & keeping the big dog happily housing our bed & breakfast guests.  The connections with our visitors & guests is absolutely the best part of our business!  Everything else is simply the way we get to meet and interact with our visitors.

How we create a chainsaw carved dog

 
Meet Huner, a blue merle sheltie carving recently shipped along with 26 other sheltie carvings to a sheltie club in Texas.  This particular sheltie, named Hunter, is our large-size chainsaw dog.  it is about 18 inches tall, by 6 inches thick, by about 20 inches long & weighs nearly 10 pounds. 

Chainsaw-carved Sheltie Dog
The wood is Ponderosa pine harvested from a dead tree last summer.  We use electric Stihl chainsaws in the studio, and once the carving part is done we cure (dryout) the dog for several weeks before beginning its painting.  When the wood is dry we use a propane tourch to burn away any residual chainsaw oil & to lightly darken the wood which also removes any splintery wood fragments left as part of the carving process.  Note the saw marks along the dog’s ruff & body to indicate long flowing fur.
 

The undercoat grey/blue color is achieved by applying several layers of spray paint.  Next to go on are two layers of white hand-painted on to define the sheltie’s legs, toes, tail, muzzle & collar. To make the merling we lightly dry brush on touches of white over the dog’s body.
After all the white paint is dry, the dog is given black eyes, nose, lip line & whisker marks.  When the eyes are dry a thin dab of white is applied to bring the dog to life.  Because of all the steps involved, it usually takes us several days to paint a Sheltie.

Chainsaw art - Newfoundland dogs

 
This pair of Newfoundland dogs just shipped to a customer in NJ.  Brown colored newfies are described as bronze.  The black & white one is a variation of what is called a Landseer Newfoundland, which means a black & white Newfie.  The most common coloration for a Newfie is solid black.  The tiny white eye marks described above,  show in this photo.  Underneath the red neckerchief, each dog  wears a brass license tag marked with the year & location of  its origination, Dog Bark Park Cottonwood, Idaho.
Weimeraner chainsaw art dog carving

The Weimeraner, a smooth coated dog with an unusual grey/brown coat coloration, was a breed we have finally been able to offer after discovering a technique a spray painting to achieve a resemblance to its unusal color.   We apply several layers of brown & grey paints with the final layer a light drifting of grey.  The dog has amber eyes & a brown nose, both not readily visible in this photo. 

 
All three dogs pictured are the large-size carvings we offer on our website.  This size carving is suitable to display outdoors on a patio  or porch or indoors in any entryway or by a favorite chair for example.  If protected from the weather they will last for years to come. 
 
 
 
 

Embroidered logo apparel

Women's Yellow Short Sleeve Polo

Limited quantities & sizes of embroidered Dog Bark Park polos and t-shirts are now available for our on-line friends & customers.

Ladies Chocolate Brown Lands End cotton polo

The yellow & chocolate ladies polos are quality Lands End shirts.  Long-wearing & drape nicely.   Short sleeves. 

Unisex Sage Green T-shirts

The sage green short sleeve t-shirts are made by Beefy T.  Pre-shrunk heavy cotton.  Unisex sizing.

All shirts are $29 each which includes shipping in continental US.  These are not  shown in our website webstore.   To check availability of colors & sizes send us an e-mail or give us a call.

Happy to gift wrap & include a gift card at no additional charge.  Last date to order for Christmas delivery is Dec. 17.

Have a ‘beaglicious’ holiday season.

Jack Frost on Thanksgiving Eve

Frosty window

This was our view from our office this afternoon – a beautiful snowflake patterned frosted window.  Jack Frost nipping for certain with afternoon temperatures barely above zero and now tonight at zero or maybe less.

Outlook for tomorrow includes warmer temps than the last few days with more snow probable.  A lovely start to the holiday season.  Many of Idaho’s ski areas are now open or opening this weekend.

At Dog Bark Park the big dog is now closed for the winter & will re-open for overnight visitors next April.  Meanwhile holiday orders for our chainsaw carved wooden canines are keeping us plenty busy in the studio where the wood stove has been working overtime buring our scrap wood keeping us warm & happy these extra-cold days.

We have a good selection of small-size carvings in stock for quick shipping.  Also our Dog Bark Park mugs & selected sizes of t-shirts & ladies polos.  Phone for details/pricing.

We enjoyed making these two custom dogs (Akita & Beagle )that mailed out to the new families this week.   Customers usually send photos of their dogs for us to use as guides in painting the carving to look like their special pet.  And if photos aren’t available we often can work from descriptions of the dog’s markings.

Akita custom painted dog

         

Beagle custom painted

Aren’t these guys cute? 

We hope their new owners are pleased, too.
Enjoy Thanksgiving.  And if Jack Frost decorates your windows, enjoy the magical configurations & think of warmer days ahead!