Q: How is your work done?
A: My work is
primarily done on a woodturning lathe, where the wood is mounted,
spun, and cut with a variety of hand held knives and gouges.
Q: How do you know if a turning is successful?
A: I feel a turning is
successful if the viewer wants to pick up the piece based on its
form, finds the piece enjoyable to hold and touch, and upon setting
the piece down finds themselves picking it up again.
Q: Were your
round-bottomed bowls originally inspired by the traditional Hawaiian
A: These forms of mine
are not originally derived from the traditional Hawaiian bowls often
referred to as calabashes. I had
turned hundreds of these bowl forms before becoming aware of the "calabash",
although there are similarities in form between some of my work and
some of the traditional Hawaiian styles of bowls. I feel that this similarity of the
lower curve is primarily because of the notion that "form follows
function." Much of my early evolution was pursuing purely functional
I turn large round bottomed bowls that are functional
art, which I call "Celebration
Bowls." I create these heirloom
bowls to contribute to a family's celebration of life either as a
life-enriching art piece, as a sensual object to hold and
contemplate, or as a wonderful extension of a family's festive
traditions. In this aspect of my "Celebration" bowls, I am inspired
by the magnificent Hawaiian traditions surrounding their large hand
carved bowls. I am working
to continue that special tradition in the present with my own bowls.
Q: Who are your influences in terms of other woodturners?
A: An early influence on my work was seeing Richard Raffan's turnings in books, and by meeting Richard and discussing with him
both his and my own personal aesthetics in regard to bowl
I also acknowledge the work
of David Ellsworth as an inspiration and influence on my
concept of form. Both the embodiment of "line as
volume" in his work, as well as his masterful
explorations of the relationship of overall form and
vessel opening size and opening shape, set the bar very
high for those of us that follow.
Q: What is it about round bottomed bowls that makes them a
such focus for you?
A: I am fascinated with round bottomed
bowls. My reasons for devoting so much time and energy to
their study include: 1) Closed round bottomed bowls are a very artistically challenging
shape to get right as the shape is very unforgiving of weakness in
of mistakes. 2) They are very challenging technically
(especially on the inside), much more so than
a footed open bowl. 3) I believe they are the most flexible vehicle
of all bowl shapes, supporting styles from organic to very precise
and formal. 4) I can't help it, I couldn't stop exploring them
even if I wanted to.
I find it interesting that across most cultures the earliest
forms of pottery that have been discovered are very commonly round
bottomed. Probably a principal reason for this is that the
flat bottomed vessel had no real advantage functionally until
relatively recently when civilizations began to utilize flat
surfaces such as tables. A well designed round bottom bowl is
actually very stable on a flat surface even when loaded. It is
self-righting and is in reality harder to tip than the more
conventional footed bowl.