A gift of art – a gift of craft


Imagine giving either one of these spalty white oak splits to a friend or acquaintance  and calling them a gift; gift of what?  Firewood?  Well hold on there!  With a little imagination, sharp tools and some time, you’d be surprised what that gift might turn out to be.

Natural edge bowls are great fun to turn.  You can turn the wood while it’s green, so long as the wall of the bowl is thin enough that deformation, not checking will take place as the bowl dries.  This deformation can add to the already unique shape of the bowl.  When complete, this style bowl can be used or simply put on a shelf to be admired.  The bowl in the photos has been finished with several coats of Waterlox Medium Sheen tung oil, then waxed.

To further emphasize the “curviness” of the natural edge bowl, I decided to mount it on a very linear base.  The base was made from several bits of scrap cherry.  It was simply nailed and glued.  In fact several of the nail holes are still very visible (whoops).  I wanted to pick up the dark highlights in the spalted sapwood so I decided that the base should be black.  I opted to ebonize (cherry ebonizes very well) the wood and finish it with Waterlox and wax, as I had done to the bowl.


I’m not sure where craft ends and art begins.  There’s that whole discussion about form following function and vice versa.  But, I think that it has an awful lot to do with “the eye of the beholder”.

Next time you’re invited to a friend’s for dinner, give them a gift of art, your art (or craft, if you prefer).  They’ll love it.

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One Comment on “A gift of art – a gift of craft”

  1. Paul Kemner Says:

    Here’s the distinction:

    Plain old Craft: you could actually use it for something. For example: a chair you could actually sit in.

    Fine Craft / Art: a useful article, made agressively useless. If you pounded spikes up through the seat of the aforementioned chair so they protruded several inches, the piece would instantly become Fine Craft !!!

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