Bill Luce Woodturner

About my work



As an artist, my passion is exploring certain subtleties of simple shape and form.  My goal is to create vessels with quiet yet powerful emotional impact, utilizing the lessons learned  both at the conscious and intuitive level. Part of the real power of a piece, when successful, is the unity and harmony of the visual form with the tactile form. Such a piece can give quiet joy every time it is experienced, the shape and balance speaking quietly yet firmly.

My work is inspired by traditional ceramic forms from around the world, and shapes and patterns found in nature. Many of my vessels have no separate foot. They rest in balance on a rounded lower portion. In this way the form seems more pure, with no interruption from rim to rim (visual or tactile). Much of my work is done with fresh green wood with which I deliberately utilize the natural distortion of the wood as it dries to alter and enhance the shape of the piece.


I constantly strive to simplify my forms through refinement. With the goal of minimalism I often create a series of similar work to explore and study nuances of form and tactile balance that interest and excite me. This allows me to experience an increased sensitivity to what at first may seem like small differences between pieces.  Since my goal is work that creates a subtle yet powerful emotional response,  I feel that including  this ongoing focus on the emotional impact of similar pieces is essential for my continued artistic growth.


All of my work is related--a continuous exploration and study of simple form. Within that exploration is a study of the interaction of vessel shape and the visible elements of the wood– grain, color patterns, etc.  Sometimes I enhance those patterns using techniques such as sandblasting and or  dyeing.  Since around 2002,  I have been pursuing  a series I call the "Bones of the Tree" in which the internal structure of the wood-the bones -is  revealed.    The "Bones of the Tree" is simply an evolution of my work,  studying the impact of radical manipulation of certain visible elements in the material on simple forms. More on this series can be can be found in Sand Carved Bowls.

 While I take great care and effort to utilize the grain and patterns of the wood to relate thoughtfully to the form of a piece, it is usually the form itself that excites me. In fact, for some work I prefer wood that is less dramatic, as that starkness can enhance the power of certain forms.

Another focus of my work is pushing beyond the previously accepted limits  working with very difficult woods.  In particular, I have been pioneering using rescued/recycled fresh Douglas fir as a turning and sculpture medium.  It is very challenging, unforgiving and sometimes a bit maddening , but when successful the results are well worth the effort. Working with this wood has been a magical journey of discovery - both in terms of the wood and of myself.  It's power has affected me so profoundly that it has changed how I view myself.  Perhaps how traditional peoples felt about their reliance on the buffalo or whale. This tree's flesh provides me a spiritual sustenance that I can not image a life without.

In the last few years my explorations have included an increasing use of non lathe tools directly with my work, including chainsaws.  This allows me to explore forms with a lack of symmetry and uniformity not possible using the lathe alone.  Some of my newer vessels are created using both the lathe and other tools, while others do not involve the lathe and are primarily sculpted with a chainsaw. As with all my work, these less traditional vessels are simply a continuation of study of simple forms incorporating visual patterns available in wood structure. An image of some of  rough formed chainsaw tubes can be seen here.

I select a limited number of pieces of work for sale each year to represent my studio explorations.  Prices range from approximately $400. to $10,000. USD.


For information about what wood is suitable for me to rescue and recycle in the greater Seattle area , to best honor the spirit of that tree, click here.  If you are aware of a tree that will  be removed and might be suitable for my work, please feel free to contact me with details.

Something new I have added to the page is periodically I will add a link to a pic that is somehow related to my work or it's process.  Just to give visitors a changing snapshot into my world.  I plan to update it occasionally if visitors find it interesting. 


All rights reserved copyright William Luce 2012

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