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In contemporary craft, the vessel is an esthetic counterpart to functional form. Here, the vessel is used as a three-dimensional canvas to present images of material revealed in the turning: the inherent beauty of wood is showcased wherein woodgrain itself becomes the painting. Many of the best-known woodturners have built their careers on this idea. Bob Stocksdale creates pictorial landscapes in his vessels that resemble the natural phenomenon of picture agates. Similarly, Ed and Philip Moulthrop look for the imaginary in the real. They each exploit the atmospheric effects of figured tulipwood or red leopard maple in huge spheres that depict worlds of their own. Microcosms of pattern, texture and color are featured in David Ellsworth’s elegant vessels made from exotic woods, spalted and burl abnormalities, or heart and sap woods. These images of variety and growth pay homage to the tree as source material.
Christian Burchard is featured in a video clip in the Design section of the Exhibition Themes. He shows how to turn spheres from a block of wood. The outcome of this process is visible in this beautifully turned and carved spherical vessel, called Between Heaven and Earth.
David Ellsworth’s Homage Pot is a stellar example of using the beauty of natural phenomena in wood to decorate a turned vessel’s surface. The spalted pattern on the vessel was created by fungi that infested the tree’s system. The effect is a wildly linear surface pattern, which contrasts nicely with the vessel’s elegant form. This object can be view ed from five different angles. Drag the mouse in the opened clip toward the top or the bottom to change the viewpoint.
Bob Stocksdale’s turned vessels also echo Scandinavian Modern design principles. Here, the bowl has been turned at a right angle, so that the cracks that emit from the center of the tree trunk decorate the sides of his vessel form. Watch the video clip below to learn more about the anatomy of macadamia wood, from which this object is turned.
This video clip features a rare look at Bob Stocksdale in his California studio. He speaks about the unique characteristics of macadamia wood, and the risks associated with turning the wood. Be sure to look at the object in this section, turned from macadamia wood.