There is something soothing about holding and using a wooden bowl, a kind of magical peace that brings one to a better place. They remind us of a simpler time, when people gathered together for meals, when they shared food and stories of their day. To me, this is a big part of the “slow food” movement that is gathering momentum in Canada and the United States. Perhaps it is the connection to nature we crave, the uniqueness of the wood, the warmth of it. Combine this with food that you actually made (as opposed to coming out of a box or can) and you have a very special thing indeed.
My work reflects my preference for simple shapes and forms. I want my work to be used and enjoyed for generations and basic shapes with pleasing proportions are essential to this. In my work, you will see minimal “surface enhancement” (as woodturners call carved creative elements) for two reasons: such fashion and taste in decoration are transient. I do not want my pieces to become “out of style”. Secondly, such work often makes a bowl more difficult to clean. This means people will become reluctant to use my work for salads or passing around the mashed potatoes.
All of the wood I use is “found” or somehow reclaimed. Much of it comes from local arborists. These folks are contracted to trim or remove trees due to disease, structural damage or potential property damage. All of this wood has been destined for the wood chipper, landfill or a fireplace. Because there is so much of this wood available, it seems foolish to me not to utilize it. Why would any reasonable person pay a lumber company to cut down a forest, process the logs into boards or blanks and dry them…when there is such an abundance of of perfect timber going to landfill? By using this wood, I am able to lessen the demand put on our forests, which is good for the environment. If there is a drawback to working like this it is that I do not always have the exact size or species of timber I want at any given time. I have to work with what comes my way. Of course, that means I also get to enjoy different kinds of wood all of the time.