Spalted Maple Hollow -Turned Vase
with Grecian Briarwood Detail
The exterior of this lathe-turned vase with its extremely spalted patterns gives wood turners like me great pleasure by challenging the artist to reveal the gems such as these that the raw material holds. Spalting is an air-borne fungus that starts the natural decaying process, including discoloration in the wood and sometimes creates striking random designs.
Once the exterior shape of this piece was finalized, the interior was then turned away with hand tools inserted into the top opening, removing most of the wood to a final uniform wall thickness of approximately 1/8". Working with this kind of material is a difficult task due to differences in wood texture between the solid and decaying sections. In addition, respiratory protection from the sawdust is necessary because of the fungi in the decaying wood. Grecian Briarwood trims the opening of this hollow vessel, offsetting and complementing the coloring of the maple perfectly.
After several months of drying out the turning, it was finished with my typical maintenance-free treatment, which includes multiple coats of Tung oil. Each coat of oil is hand rubbed to a luster and finally finished with several coats of a hard carnauba wax using a special buffing process. The owner of this piece has it displayed in a glass artifact cabinet, but similar works were used as dry flower containers, and with the addition of a lid, it can become an urn.
Photography by Peter Shefler © 2002 Clearstory Studios