Rue Ann Flanders says she knows it’s strange, but, “I really enjoy sanding wood.”
That’s one reason the Indianapolis Rockler store assistant manager feels like she found her niche after taking a wood sculpture class. “I find grinding and sanding wood to be very therapeutic. It's a little loud and a lot of dust, but you wear a dust mask and go on.”
Rue Ann says she is constantly looking at shapes — where she finds inspiration and fun — in glasswork or jewelry, and originally took the sculpture class to add dimensional aspects to her whimsical furniture. She already knew that, “I like curves better than I do straight lines.” Her furniture incorporates curved doors with arches, and balls embedded into the piece.
These days, one of Rue Ann’s most used tools is an air-filled round pneumatic drum sander, the kind used in making boat parts and boomerangs. She does not, however, use her table saw: “It makes a good table. I set things on it all the time.”
The wood she works with is sometimes maple, for bases and cabinets, but it is more likely to be poplar. “It’s easier to shape and sculpt,” she said and, “because I do all kinds of finishes — painting, metal leafing — poplar works well. I can make poplar look like any other wood I want.” Rue Ann also loves color and has used fuschia, lime green, orange and more in her work. “I just like what I do.”