Bill Luce Woodturner

Green Turned Bowls


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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.  Through study of the movement of various woods as they dry, how the distortion is affected by grain orientation and wall thickness of the piece, and by controlling the drying process itself, I am able to have some influence over the final shapes the bowls take.  But with much variation in different woods, trees and even different wood from the same tree, the wood sometimes has the final say.


This is from my Lunar Landscapes in Holly series.  This is an example of an bowl with an organic quality that would not have been possible in a bowl with a foot.  With the larger pieces in this series such as this one, the addition of any non organic feature even such as a groove would have destroyed the power of suggesting this bowl could have been formed in nature.



This piece is a continuation of my Lunar Landscape in Holly series. It is a medium sized piece, with a groove along the rim to accentuate the fairly extreme rim movement while deliberately reducing the organic quality of the piece. In this case the groove works for me because it accentuates the sudden movement in the rim as it dried near the highest knot. In the more evenly balanced pieces in the same series, especially the larger pieces, I usually prefer the complete lack of added details such as a groove. The organic quality of this piece, to me, is still strong enough in spite of the groove due to the wrinkling of the wood as it dried, the stark white color, and the crunchy matte texture of the piece.

This bowl (round bottomed of course) was turned green. Each of the knots are centered in a flat facet on the bowl from the way the area around the knots deformed during drying.  To me this added both energy and interest to the piece.  The bowl has been highly sanded and carefully finished to show the wood as naturally as possible, as opposed to the way Monkey Puzzle or Norfolk Island Pine bowls are more commonly finished -- which is with a heavy oil finish that induces additional translucence at the expense of the clarity of the wood itself.  In this bowl the knots themselves are translucent forming "windows" of light in the bowl.  This bowl resides in the permanent collection of the Woodturning Center in PA.

Selene. Green turned holly bowl with a single raised bead.  This is not an illusion, the bowl and bead curve gracefully from the very intentional orientation of the wood.



Green turned cherry bowl with the natural edge.  The striking grain, the thin sapwood layer and the even elongation as the bowl dried help make the bowl successful.



This elongated bowl was from the largest diameter (33 inches) apple tree I have ever worked.  The tree had much decay, though, and most of the size of the original blank had to be discarded.



To date the largest of the series "Entropy."  Sometimes explorations in form require giving up tight control to allow for a looser kind of energy in the final piece. I learn what I can about the wood, but ultimately the material speaks for itself. I have worked with madrone burl extensively since 2000, and with this series of bowls the exploration is of the energy that the pieces project from the way they sit.  My goal here is a dramatic distortion and tilted sit of the bowl, but I have worked very hard to learn how to orient the burl wood in such a way that the final distortion does not reduce the strength of the overall statement of 'bowl.'  In simple terms, I am after a high energy tilt, lots of energy from mostly vertical wrinkling, but with a cohesiveness in the rim and overall shape.  The very deliberate intent here is to suggest "bowl", in constrast to work such as Christian Buchard's fabulous "baskets" which are based on the gourd shape.  With this series of mine the surface of the bowl is finely sanded before the drying process to provide visual clarity to the wood while not reducing the energy imparted by  the final wrinkled surface.

A smaller bowl in the same series.  Despite my best efforts, only a fraction of the pieces in the series dry to a final form that I feel is truly successful. But when they do,  I feel it was all worth the trouble.



A small footless bowl utilizing the voids and natural edge of a holly  burl.  The piece was completed and sanded before drying in order to preserve the slightly wrinkled surface.



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