Living National Treasure

I made this bowl way back in 1996 yet I can still remember exactly where the alder tree came from, what it felt like to work, where and how much I sold it for and I can also remember who bought the other bowl that was made from the other half of the log it came from. But I can’t remember where I put my car keys 2 minutes ago. It was memorable because it was the first time I had worked big alder, it was early in my learning about how to get wood into the right state for turning, this was a log that had fallen into the river, been hauled out and then left lying for 9 months and it worked beautifully. The design is one which I have rarely done because it is quite wasteful of wood, you could make a far bigger bowl from the same blank with plainer bowls. It’s a fun design though based on bowls which I had seen in an archaeological report “wooden artefacts from medieval Novgorod” I visited Novgorod in Russia and saw the original medieval bowls in 1998. This one has just been back for re oiling and I thought I would take the chance to get a photo.


This is the other half of the log on the lathe. I was photographed in late ’96 for Country Living magazine when they declared me a “National Living Treasure” the entry requirements to be fair were not quite as stringent as those for Japans famed national living treasures. The biggest bowl of this nest went to Country Living features editor Melanie Cable Alexander. I wonder how that is getting on now.


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