This series was the result of an exploration into finishes. I was trying to make the deepest darkest finish i could in the centre of a bowl, whilst still preserving the texture left from charring with a flame.
The bowls twist and warp from the heat, which did make inlaying difficult. I used Jesmonite, and turned the bowls from Sweet Chestnut. I did not want to use varnishes, so oils seemed the natural choice for finishing.
My initial interest in the black centre began with an image of an Ash tree suffering from Chalara Fraxinea, Ash Dieback. This is an epidemic that could see our forests changing over the next few decades. The black centre spreads outward in the limbs and trunk, eventually consuming the tree.
Apple Charred Bowls
STUMPS AND Boxes
These bowls feature the charred centre, but i experimented with bleach and found live edges respond particularly well. The pieces are made from a trunk of a local Herefordian Apple tree.
The last bowl is an early Jesmonite inlay piece with a live edge, and has had the most time to warp. The inlay popped out, and this was the reason for not using inlaying further into the year. I needed to have enough time to rough turn the shape, then let it warp and settle before inlaying if i wanted to make them properly. I've put this project aside for later on.
Initially during my course, I was obsessed by bowls. I could have happily continued playing with the profile and shape of the forms for years. During my third year at University however, I finally understood the importance of the conceptual aspect of making artwork. I tried then to come from an angle of an issue, and let the form arise from that. I followed the Ash Dieback theme, but found myself equally drawn by all trees, and all woods. I felt the issue was not a localised one, troubling only Ash wood, but was a global one. It seemed that all trees are vulnerable, in that they are so large that they are unnoticeable, so ever-present that they are immune to change or danger.
I felt there needed to be an attitude change towards all trees, we should value them whilst they are still plentiful.
I found in my research images of artefacts from easter island. These had been carved by a colony that no longer exists, in hardwood that is now extinct. These carved items are precious and invaluable, but is that only because the trees and people that formed them are gone? Should we not place the same value in our trees and skills that are still present?
The series of work I produced for the degree show presented woods from Britain, Africa, America and Asia. They were placed together using friction connections in the shape of rocking tree stumps. I aimed to display the precarious nature of our trees and the ecosystems they support and contribute to, and how regardless of their placement on the Earth, they are connected.