The planning for my work starts not at the lathe, but when I’m standing over a log, trying to figure out what sort of vessel will fit into a particular piece of wood. This is crucial to the process due to the fact that I work with wood that is green (unseasoned) and as the material dries out, the vessel changes shape. The way I cut the piece from the log can determine the final shape of the vessel. I like to think that I can interpret what way the wood is going to warp but sometimes it can surprise me.
The shaping of the piece involves a spinning block of wood, sharp gouges, stopping to check the shape, scooping out the inside, stopping to check the depth, paring down the inside wall, keep checking the wall thickness, has to be thin but not too thin, then maybe some carving or texturing with more sharp blades.
I feel as if I’ve been making the same piece for almost 30 years. Someone said to me recently that he thinks my work is about memory, in particular my fluted pieces, ‘that every slice of the chisel leaves a imprint that captures that particular moment in time” There is also the memory of the pieces I’ve made before and of course the memory of actual tree itself. The space between each growth ring is a record of each particular year.