Bill Luce Woodturner



Featured Piece



Featured Piece - December 2010


Transition Tube Series #1 (2010)

Douglas fir, pigment:   Turned, shaped, sandblasted

20 ¾  inches high by 5 ¾ inches wide

One of my explorations for the past two years has been what I loosely call "tubes";  upright, cylindrical objects, some with bottoms and some without.  As with all my work, the interplay between form and the wood structure is key to energy of the piece.  Further enhancing this relation I have textured each piece -- either mildly (such as this one) or severely blasting through the wall such as my skeleton tubes.  Some have received further contrast using pigments to differentiate the textures the soft and hard wood yielded from  sandblasting the surface.

This piece is a "transition tube" -- I'll explain.  Almost completely shaped on the lathe it required several axes of turning, then some off lathe blending.  During the creation process, the effort felt too complicated and contrived -- I was too focused on the process and being clever using the lathe to produce the unusual form, rather than on the form itself.  It was largely an intellectual process, rather than my preferred emotional creation process.

 Upon reflection I came to realize that to better pursue this form and other ideas I had in mind, especially on larger scales, I would have to occasionally move away from the lathe in favor of other methods.  After all, the lathe is just one approach, or process, to creating wooden vessels and objects.  Intrigued by this more sculptural approach  I have devoted a major portion of my time this last year  to chasing ideas and refining techniques for working on a large scale with this and other vessel shapes not possible on the lathe.

Part of the fascination for me with the tubes is the exploration of the energy in how the tubes sit, the size and angle of the "mouth", and the contribution of extra life by the "bend" of the tube.  Small differences can greatly affect the overall dynamic impact: where I place the bend, the nature and degree of distortion, the overall angle,  the grain and how it relates to the change in direction and size, etc.    With its dramatic vertical dimension, the tube offers me new and fresh territories in my quest for developing a sensitivity to possible conversations between form and natural structure.

I have long been influenced by Japanese art and this piece has a strong Wabi Sabi quality that I enjoy.  I chose to include the ring shake in the "behind" of the tube as well as the many small cracks and imperfections that were already present in the wood -- each contributing character and interest of their own.  Even the color of the ribs varies depending on the angle viewed, due to the "imperfection" of wood as a sculpture medium.


Here's another view: (piece facing away and to the right.)


The "behind" a little closer: (The opening you see is due to a ring shake in the pith (center) area of the tree.  With a typical vessel I would not have chosen to include it, but here it adds character to the piece).



Even  closer-up (a bit toward the front). 


The very bottom:


As always, email comments regarding this piece (or any other piece on the site) are welcome.

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