I found this stylized goose bowl in the curve of a wind-fallen cherry tree. Usually, we think of “finding” spoons in the crooks of tree branches, but I occasionally find bowls as well. Grain flowing through the form allows for lightness, and the line between the sapwood and heartwood flows right along the piece from the tail through the neck. The tree has done much of the designing.
Below are some photos showing a few stages along the journey of this piece.
I discovered the wind-fallen tree on a walk near the river. The cutting with a folding saw and the carry back home is all part of the fun. The bowl is in the upper portion of the log in this shot; tail to the left, head to the right. As for scale; the log is about two feet long and the branches about 9 or 10 inches in diameter.
The upper portion has been split away from the rest of the Y. The pith (center) of the branch runs along the right edge in this shot. The pith can’t remain in the middle of a piece. The tail is to the rear and the head is in the foreground.
I have just shaved off the bark with a drawknife and hewn the sides a bit. Layout on a piece like this is basically freehand. I sketch on a rough center line from end to end and then a general sketch of the bowl cavity and outline on the upper surface. Then on to the sculpting with axe, adze, knives, and gouges.
Out of the log and admiring the snow.
Finished, it is 22.75 inches long, 5.25 inches wide, and 8.75 inches high.
Here are a few more thumbnails.
In the encyclopedic book Swedish Handcraft by Anna-Maja Nylen (1976), there is a wonderful chapter on woodcrafts. Much of the book is dedicated to fiber arts. Here are a couple photos from my copy. I’ve included the caption for the first, which applies to this post. If you’d like to get a copy, this link might be helpful.
“Bowls carved out of wood. The shape of each bowl has been determined by the natural properties of the wood, whereby animal and human forms have been “found” in nature’s own forms. Lima and Mora, Dalarna, dated 1806; Offerdal, Jamtland; Hede, Harjedalen, with the incised date 1816; and Krokstad, Bohuslan.”
There are lots of great illustrations like this.