Building stock

Published by Les on

With a whole month of sales behind them, the three galleries where my stock is constantly on show have each been selling well. We also have a fourth sales point, at a gallery attached to a tourist information centre in a neighbouring county, but that still hasn’t re-opened yet.

One thing I have noticed is that the increased number of tourists in the area, since the Covid-19 restrictions were eased, seem to be eager to buy small items to take home with them, so in the last two weeks I’ve been making lots of new stock of apples and pears, trees and mushrooms, and small to medium sized bowls.

It can’t have escaped anyone’s notice that I make a lot of scorched bowls, using distressed timber, as well as stitched and wire-bound bowls, so I decided to make a few more traditional bowls for a change.

Here’s a batch that went through the workshop this weekend…not a scorch, not a staple and not a wire binding in sight!

In the foreground there’s a shallow 3-legged bowl in a lovely piece of cherry, with rosewood legs. I don’t always perforate the bowl and bring the legs through, but I liked the contrast between these two timbers, so I decided to do it this time.

This one is in a very colourful piece of yew, so I chose legs that had a really strong contrast between heartwood and sapwood, and as the legs are very widely placed in this one, they needed to be a little chunkier than usual to give a stronger socket-joint.

This one is a piece of brown oak. That is oak which has been naturally stained by the fungii growing on the tree and to add to the depth of colour of the heartwood, there’s a cusp of yellow sapwood visible. It sits on three elm ball-feet.

Here’s an ultra-thin piece of oak, cut into a flowing ogee curve. It’s as light as a feather and sits on a tiny rim, so it’s not meant to be a particularly functional bowl, but fine to look at.

This is a timber that I don’t buy-in, but there were several pieces included in a job-lot of timber that I bought locally. It’s called afromosia and though I’ve never had problems working it before, I seem to have become very intolerant of its dust and I needed a full-face shield and one of my best masks to avoid breathing in any of its dust.

Another lump of oak, quite small and cut from a branch union where an old branch had snapped off and its stump started to rot away. There were loads of splits and cracks as well as rotten wood in there and it has all been stabilised with a mixture of powdered copper suspended in epoxy resin.

A very simple sycamore bowl for a small salad. It has been well oiled to keep moisture out of the wood, but, like all such bowls, will need a little more oil after its first few washes.

A lovely piece of spalted sycamore with one interesting feature, a bark inclusion on one side of the rim (well, there had to be at least one cracked bowl in every batch!)

…and talking of bowls with cracks in, this one has it in spades! A severely distressed piece of top-slice off an oak trunk. It has a few small areas of burr and loads of stress-cracks in it, so I gave it some ageing treatment. First it was stabilised to prevent the cracks opening up any further, then it was scorched, scoured, limed and then coated with rust-patina, much of which was buffed away to reveal a little of the scorching and liming.

….and then, of course, there was the fruit. 40 assorted apples and pears, and they’ve all gone!

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