Hollow-Turned Vessel ("Puka")
Black Walnut with Bark Inclusions
This particular piece was turned from a branched section of a tree that contained a small burl cavity, which probably housed a small mammal or bird at one time. The raw material for this piece was obtained from an arborist that was contracted to remove it. None of my pieces will ever involve the destruction or harm of a living tree just for the sake of a nice turning. I have a number of friends and fans of my work that keep an eye out for "ugly" wood. Ugly wood is defined by woodworkers like me as a piece of wood that no other wood-worker wants - stumps, burls, crotches, lightning strikes, and partly-decayed or hollow logs.
This turning is the predecessor to my new "Puka" series. Puka [poo' kah] - loosely translated from the Hawaiian language - means "hole" or "perforations", and befits this piece, there being a rather large and wondrously-shaped hole right through it.
On most turnings I try to visualize the finished piece so as to have an idea of what I am trying to accomplish. This is not one of those pieces - I had envisioned something totally different. This was one of those pieces that was at first sketched in various forms and shapes, but in the end, I had to dig deep into my bag of tricks and unusual gadgets to bring it to fruition. In working with "ugly" wood a wood turner will often find voids, cracks and holes - thus the Puka series. Bark inclusions such as those highlighted in this vessel are a natural part of the wood and are at times best left intact. Cutting through the bark can often lead to disastrous results in the physical integrity of the piece (meaning, that for every one of these pieces that I offer for sale, a dozen others have ended up in the trash bin)!
This piece was accepted to 8th Annual Southern Alleghenies Museum of Arts Juried Exhibition.
Photography by Peter Shefler © 2003 Clearstory Studios