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Friday, January 28, 2011

The Wood Rose


White Campion Flowers in Autumn
For more years than I care to admit to, I've enjoyed exploring autumn meadows and woodlands here in Western Massachusetts, always on the lookout for interesting discoveries hidden away from casual view. And there have been many, almost on every venture. There's a lot to see, and much to learn... everything from trees, weeds, grasses, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, even rocks.

A lot of those years were seen through the lenses of still and motion picture cameras, and two one-hour films were produced as a result ("Life Near a Beaver Pond", and "The Snakes of New England") (film, not video... raise your hand if you remember film).

But now, as a woodturner, I'm especially drawn to anything and everything that might be usable in that craft, from downed trees for raw material, to shapes for inspiration.

One of the fascinating little finds is that certain wildflowers seem to try to immortalize their delicate, tiny flowers by drying them out in autumn, hardening their tissue paper-like petals into woody structures that might endure, at least for a little while. Some, like Campion, look like miniature unopened roses made of wood.

Bladder Campion in Autumn

 I've wanted to turn a hollow form inspired by those "wood roses" for a long time, and finally got around to doing the first one recently.
"The Wood Rose" - Spalted Maple

 A small chunk of spalted Maple has been calling out for attention; it had the requirements for the task at hand (hard, close-grained wood; spalting), so now it's officially "The Wood Rose".

The block was turned to shape and hollowed on the lathe,then the rim was carved to resemble the Bladder Campion's five lobes, though not as sharply pointed. The rose is 3-1/2 inches in diameter, 4-1/2 inches tall.

Several coats of finish later, followed by buffing and polishing, the wood rose was completed. There will likely be more to follow!

"The Wood Rose" - Spalted Maple Hollow Vessel

A second foray into the world of flower buds resulted in "The Rosebud", a hollow vessel turned and carved from Boxelder Burl. The natural pink and red blushes in Boxelder Burl add a warm, inviting dimension to a turning, and make this species a perfect choice to form into a flower bud.

The Rosebud - Boxelder Burl Vessel
The piece is hollow, weighing about 5-1/2 ounces; the rim was carved into the opening sepals of the bud. Some natural bark inclusions, common in Boxelder Burl, are the focal point on the front of the vessel, and they're surrounded by random spots and flashes of pink and rosy red.

The vessel is 5" tall, 4" in diameter.
The Rosebud - Boxelder Burl

"The Wood Rose" and "The Rosebud" are available for purchase at Bowlwood.com.   


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