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Yew Root Stock
As a part of my "Puka" Series - Puka [poo' kah], loosely translated from the Hawaiian language means "holes" or "perforations" - this piece is truly an unusual, distinctive, and unique creation. The interior of this vessel was dyed black so that the viewer focuses on the exterior and the unusual colorations and grain patterns of this chatoyant wood that are brought to light by the turning process.
Planted nearly 60 years ago, this particular tree started to die off slowly over the last few years and I was honored to have given it a second life. It is a shame that the majority of this type of material ends up in a landfill or trash dump, given that the opportunity to work with such material is an unbelievable joy, especially when the piece is completely finished (or extremely frustrating when I cannot finish a piece because of decay and/or stress cracks). In pushing the creativity envelop it can also land this piece in a very expensive firewood box.
This piece was finished in the summer of 2012 with the initial stages of turning started in mid-2011. This hollow turning was another true "work-in-progress", where I started and stopped working on the lathe for many periods. Simply being too aggressive or too timid, hesitating too long between periods of turning, could lead to its return to the firewood box.
Bringing these types of turnings to completion requires me not only to be creative, but also very attentive and imaginative in discovering stones, glass, and bullet fragments as well as mud and clay. Once completed it is put through a very delicate and exacting drying process. "Green" (still or recently growing or alive) wood turns and handles much differently than the stabilized "seasoned" wood. It will expand and contract and can check or crack in unexpected ways if not properly stabilized and cured. The finished dimensions on this Puka piece are 8 1/2 inches diameter x 6 inches tall. Then it is hand-rubbed with 8 to 10 coats of Tung oil over a period of several weeks to months after which it is finished with a carnauba wax buffing.
This turning won the Juror’s Award at the 2012 Greensburg Art Center Juried
Exhibition in Greensburg, Pennsylvania October 2012.