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English Yew Root
Another of the Puka Series created from an extraordinary piece of English Yew root stock. At times when a piece of material is first placed on the lathe I'm hard pressed to figure out what the final product will look like, and this is a prime example.
My first thought was to create a turned sphere completely intact with a small opening at the top, incorporating the sapwood (light new growth) and the heartwood (darker color) patterns. However, when working with this kind of wood - especially root stock - you never really know what you will find inside until you start actually turning it on the lathe.
As I began work on the outside surface using my various hand tools, it became evident that there were more than a few voids or empty spaces where dirt or rot had been completely or partially encapsulated by the surrounding wood. So, it became a matter of either figuring out how to incorporate these voids in such a way that the piece showed the grain patterns most beautifully (without cutting so much in any one dimension between the voids that the piece was no longer held together by the surrounding wood), or totally scrapping the whole turning for a less challenging piece of wood.
As you can see (or imagine) from the results, it required quite a bit of skill and patience and a little bit of good fortune - but quite worth it in the end.
As an admirer of things pure and natural, I decided to include imperfections into the final product, as I do often. Purely an artistic turning, wood aficionados would appreciate the unique colors and blending of the sapwood and heartwood and the natural voids caused by the soil and rock obstructions that it grew in. The interior was dyed black so that the viewer is urged to concentrate on the exterior.
Very carefully seasoned and finished with my standard ten or more coats of Tung oil and later buffed out with a hard Carnauba wax, this piece glows richly and will maintain it is clear luster for many years.
Photography by Peter Shefler © 2005 Clearstory Studios