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A Sailor’s Touch


New -- Sweetgum

Making Bowls

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Once Essential,  Wooden Bowls Now Coveted Art

The turning of bowls is perhaps the oldest use of a lathe. Early cultures had few  choices for containing food. Metal was expensive, hard to make, and often poisonous. Clay was not always available and required skill. Wood was usually plentiful and easy to work. These days wooden bowls are considered an art form rather than a necessary item for survival. Plastic, ceramic and other materials have long since replaced the humble wooden bowl.

Artists now use what are considered flaws in wood to create stunning works that thrill the eye and feel good in the hand. Spalted, cracked deformed, and natural bark rims wood, as well as fine examples of domestic and exotic woods, are seeing a renewed sense of wonder. Believe it or not, it is the simple forms that are the hardest to make. A bowl should flow in a natural curve. The bottom must not be too heavy and the finish should bring to life the natural color.

The tall Tupelo Wood vase is turned to represent combinations of wildflowers native to West Virginia. The small Cherry Wood vase was inspired by the small wine bottle candle holders used in an Italian bistro I visited in Naples many years ago.

Tupelo Wood Vase -- $60

Cherry Wood Vase -- $45

Each work has a story, as each wood has a history. My bowls celebrate the tradition of the finest craftsmen. Bowls and vases turned on my lathe are based not only on tradition but on nature, history and how the wood tells me how it wants to look. The bowl of Purple Heart Wood was inspired by of all things a mushroom I saw in the wild.

Purple Heart Wood Bowl – $70

The Sassafras bowl is a reminder of Early American craftsmanship before we were a nation. The bowl of Ambrosia Wood is designed with a reflection of a storm cloud I saw forming just as the sun was attempting to come up one spring morning.

Sassafras Bowl -- $125

Ambrosia Bowl -- $55

The ever-restless Cooper River here in South Carolina asked me to create this bowl in Spalted Hackberry. The waves and ripples of the river seemed to match the swirls and curves of the wood and, therefore, the turning tools took over. What came out was a delicate study of curve and a flow that emulates the water as it rushes to meet the sea. 

Spalted Hackberry $100

The bowls displayed aren’t necessarily in stock, but are examples of creation possibilities.  Each bowl is handmade, so it’s a one-of-a-kind work.The wood condition and age also can dictate price, since it could require much more work.  For example, the Spalted Hackberry Bowl costs $100. The Spalted Hackberry Bowl shown on the page was sold for $300, because of the quality of  the wood and the tedious work involved in turning it.

To order your wooden piece of art or ask questions, contact the chief by email.  His address is torpedochief@aol.com

Chief D. Clayton Meadows

The Crafting of the Bowls

Email Chief Meadows for ordering instructions at torpedochief@aol.com

New Item:  Native Sweetgum Bowl!   $350   This bowl already sold.