I sometimes paint my bowls with an egg and oil emulsion paint but have always loved the look of Jarrod’s milk painted bowls, I was very keen to see how he did them. He has experimented a lot with various home made milk paints but is currently using a prepared lime caesin powder. This is mixed with water and pigment to give a paint.What gives the special character to Jarrod’s bowls is that he builds up layers of different colours and then cuts back through the leayes a little. This gives a feeling very much like the old bowls I have seen in Scandinavian museums. Often the first layer is white.Here are a bunch of bowls after a couple of layers of paint but before cutting back.and some more gratuitous pics just because they are lovelyand this is the bowl I turned at North House based on Roger Abrahamson’s old bowl. alongside one of Jarrod’s little handled bowls.
After a gentle cut back with 220 grit paper the bowls are oiled with a mix of linseed and beeswax applied hot then buffed.The result is wonderful, if you are in the US and particularly if you are of Scandinavian decent then you absolutely need one of Jarrod’s ale bowls. Check out his bowls here and look back every now and then as he uploads new bowls every few weeks.Our timing in the USA has been very fortunate as we have combined teaching at North House with the canoe build and over the weekend we attended the US spoon gathering at Milan Village Arts School It was a 6 hour drive along roads like this Highlight for me was meeting Del Stubbs. Del is a superb knife maker if you don’t know his work check out his website. I first started coresponding with Del long before the internet, back in the days of hand written letters. Before getting into the life of spoons and knives Del was one of the worlds top woodturners, when I started researching pole lathe bowlturning he was helpful in suggesting good museums and other sources of information. It was great then to finally meet, here he is chatting with another good friend Fred Livesay.
The event has a great relaxed informal feel. Many folk had driven 10 or 12 hours to be there for one full day of entertainment. Del gave a great knife sharpening demo, often knife people can make it all sound very difficult and complicated, Del was the opposite despite his huge knowledge he gave clear simple advice that would lead to a beginner getting a sharp knife. The first trick is to know if your knife is blunt and if so how blunt, the first test is to look right head on at the edge in good direct light looking for anything that reflects, a big reflection is a knick that will be a bulldozer crushing wood fibres.I liked this wooden cross section of a hook knife which helped folk visualise what was happening at the small scale.
and a last tip for sharpening a hook knife, using an upright piece of wood clamped between the knees as a support Next up was spoon club, 20 or so folk sat in a circle, we carved our blank for 5 minutes then all passed it on to the left. After an hour we had all worked on 12 spoons and kept the one we had at the end. It’s great fun, we all have a laugh and it is interesting to work on spoons started by someone else. Here are the finished spoonsAfter the day’s activities were over we had a pot luck dinner then shared some beer and whisky all from ale bowls and quaichs of course.Whilst we were enjoying an ale Beth Dow set to turning a bowlwith occasional assistance and advice from myself Jarrod and Roger Abrahamson
In between times we formed an impromptu band with Roger playing amazing banjo accompanied by Jarrod and jaw harp and me on harmonica, thanks to Yuri for the pic. I have not had so much fun for a long time, so much so we played until 3am.