Black Cherry Hollow -Turned Globe
with Eucalyptus Wood Detail
"Oh My" Series
The pieces in this on-going series of lathe-turned hollow vessels are created from decaying logs where the center section of the tree has been totally rotted through. Many friends of mine know to call me when a special tree dies or is blown down, and a good number of these people live where there are remnants of old orchards. Though old-growth fruitwood is of exceptionally fine color and texture, often being mostly close-grained heartwood, these trees are also extremely susceptible to rot and infestation by carpenter ants. Finding a use for these hollow logs became a challenge to me to create something unique and quite different from what I or any other woodturner I knew had ever attempted.
I started with a large log that sometimes weighed as much as thirty pounds, that on completion led to a finished piece weighing often less than 14 ounces with a wall thickness of less then 1/16 of an inch. After finishing the first few turnings in this series of pieces, close friends and collectors all had the same response when they first viewed the piece. Seeing what I started with and the finished product, their direct quotes were all, literally, "Oh my God!" - thus the naming of a series of pieces.
An "Oh My" turning is not for everyone, but collectors of such pieces are very appreciative of the craftsmanship and vision involved, not to mention the uniqueness of each piece that can never be reproduced. A turning of this type will tax the artisan's abilities, patience, technique, and knowledge and is extremely difficult to execute. As the wood is turned "green" - in other words, not seasoned - it is elastic in nature and thus changes and expands or contracts depending on the rotation speed of the lathe and the rate at which both outer and inner surfaces are drying. Sometimes even a hair's breadth change in the turner's concentration and breathing can turn a potential masterpiece into thousands of flying shards in a fraction of a second.
For more information on the technical aspects of creating the "Oh My" series, please see our illustrated section, The Making of a Hollow Vessel.
Photography by Peter Shefler © 2002 Clearstory Studios