Winged bowls

One of the forms that I have been exploring this year is winged bowls and in particular I’ve been exploring winged bowls where the wings coming down to act legs and suspend the bowl. I’m not sure what sparked my interest but some of it may to do with having come into possession of a number of pieces of wood that lent themselves well to that particular form.

The first one I tried was this one made from a piece of Japanese snowball wood.

I found that the legs moved a bit as the bowl dried but I was able to bend them back to where I wanted them by steam bending them in the microwave.

On these next two bowls I experimented with the orientation to see if I could show more of the crotch grain in the wood. Both of these next two bowls are made from plum wood. On the first one I orientated it so that the bottom came from the outside of the tree. It worked well but lost feathering from the crotch figure in the grain.

On this next bowl I reversed the orientation so that the bottom of the bowl came from the inside of the log. This resulted in a great display of the crotch grain feathering but I wound up with the wings being too short to work as legs. I tried steam bending them into place but on this piece it didn’t work. Still kind of an interesting piece though.

Another attempt was with a piece of magnolia wood given to me by a neighbor.  It had a crack in it that I was hoping to be able to turn away or at least keep tight with the application of some glue but it didn’t work out that way. Being turned from green wood it changed shape as it dried and the crack became much larger. I have a few ideas for making it a decorative feature but haven’t entirely decided which to go with yet. The options I am considering include: leaving it as is, decorative stitching with leather or copper wire or using some kind of resin to fill the crack.

The most recent one is a winged bowl made from butternut wood. The wood came from a tree that my parents had cut down in their yard and then sent me a couple of pieces.  At first I was thinking that it was too large to do a winged bowl with but I decided to try it anyway.  The piece did not lend itself to making a suspended bowl so I decided to go with a more traditional winged bowl design for it. It was much lighter than I expected and did not change shape much in spite of having been turned to finish from green wood. I think this is because the tree was cut near the end of winter before the sap started to flow. I also noticed that when I had it on the lathe it was not very out of balance to start which would be explained by the low moisture content.

Although I have some pieces now that I really like I still feel that I have not yet put all of the elements that I would like in one of these bowls together. I’m getting closer but I’m going to have to play with the design a bit more I think. What I would like to try next is a winged bowl where the wings come down to support and suspend the bowl and oriented to show the feathering of the crotch grain.


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