Natural Edge Vessels

Madrone_Ariel_Burl_13inT_x_14inW.jpgNatural edge vessels are my favorite style of piece to turn. It is called a natural edge vessel because the opening rim is the actual bark or the outside of the tree. When making a natural edge vessel there are three major factors that I like to focus on. Shape, weight, and character. I think a natural edge vessel should have an elegant free flowing form that keeps your eye moving all the way up and down the piece without stopping. When you pick up the work it feels lite or weightless which shows skill and consistency. And I like to give each piece its own natural feature whether it be a natural edge opening, a bark inclusion on the side of the shape, or the warping and movement of the final shape that occurs only in certain species of woods. When cutting up a large wood burl into several turning blocks, it is hard to visualize your finial piece inside the rough looking burl especially when turning a natural edge vessel. Because the outside bark of a tree is never perfectly flat, often the natural edge opening will have an angle leaving a high point and a low point. Cutting a big burl into turning stock is another art in itself. With all these things to consider while making a natural edge vessel, its almost like the wood is talking back to me while I'm working. Telling me what direction I should take it. Letting the piece speak for it's self as an individual.