Friday, April 3, 2009

Latest From the Lathe, Aurora

Hey, it’s Friday, have some artwork.

This my latest piece, an Alaska Birch heartwood bowl, Aurora #108.

The wood comes from here in south central Alaska. Harvested last year and allowed to dry outside for several months.  Blanks were then cut cross-grain per my usual technique, and the bowl was then green turned to finish.  Once completed, the bowl sat in the drying cabinet until it reached about 8% moisture content – this took about two months. The shape of the dried bowl changed very little from the original green turned piece.

Once dry, the bowl was then sculpted using a variety of techniques and buffed to a polished finish.

Then I tried a new technique I’ve been working on. 

I won’t tell you how I did it, but the carved filigree was filled in with crushed semi-precious stone and copper flake suspended in a clear matrix.  Because the filigree goes all the way through the bowl walls, the jewel-like inlays are lit from within and change color with the light and viewing angle.  In the bottom pictures the inlay appears white due to overexposure (because I took the pictures with my small Pentax pocket camera rather than the big Sony professional model). But in the close-up you can see the jewel-like inlay in more detail.

The idea here is to invoke images of Alaska, the birch forests, the Aurora Borealis, and the gold, silver, and copper hidden in the earth and rivers.


Birch Urn 016 Birch Urn 011 Birch Urn 012 Birch Urn 013 Birch Urn 014 

This piece was an interesting project.

This is the first time I’ve pulled all of the things that I do together into one piece, including green turning, carving and sculpting, polishing, and finally the inlay technique.  It will serve a model for a whole series of similar pieces.

I’m pretty happy with how it came out.


  1. Is this one for sale? If not, please put my name in the hat for a similar piece...


  2. Janiece, yep, this one is certainly for sale, and it's yours if you want it.

    I'll take some hi-res photos of it in the sun today and post them up on my Flickr site. If you're still interested I'll forward you a price via email. And thanks. I'm glad you like it, and it's really spectacular in person and completely unique.

  3. Sweet! Too bad I can't afford one..

  4. Someday when I'm rich and famous... well, rich anyway.


  5. I want something like that, but not exactly like that. I wonder if I can convince the husband that I should've gotten one for my b-day last year... :-)

  6. Well, yeah, NeuronDoc, please buy. Buy many. Considering that I did about $200 dollars worth of damage to my primary Shopsmith today I could use the dough ;)

  7. I'm definitely interested. I told my SmartMan I wanted this for my birthday, so I'll have him send you a note.

    ::commence drooling and gloating::

  8. Beautiful! Yes, please post pics of it in the sunlight. I'm curious to see the light coming through the inlaid filigree, as that sounds like it would be gorgeous.

    I need a better-paying job, as I know of too many people doing good art that I want. *sigh*

  9. ::deleted ascii art zippo lighter that blogger didn't like because of all the spaces::

    Very nice!

    I need just 2 more hours in every day... :(

  10. Husband is not saying yes right away. He should just let me do what I want with no arguments. Things would run completely smoothly without any need for consultations... :-)


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