Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience.
— Hal Borland, Countryman: A Statement of Belief, 1965
As the oil began to reveal the rich variations in each growth ring, I found myself thinking about the tree from which this bowl came. It was a walnut tree that grew beside a winding stream at the bottom of a wooded ravine. As its branches grew over the water, its roots reached into and under the flow. Each year brought blessings and challenges of one kind or another. Through it all, the tree stood steadfast, knowing that bitter winter gales would be followed by warm summer breezes, that a year of drought might be followed by soothing rain.
For over a century, the tree did what trees have always done, as humans whizzed around above the walls of the ravine. But now it lies beside the stream, it’s roots finally giving way to the wind, and I am privileged to work with it. As I do, the story of those years is revealed in a rich tapestry of hue and pattern unique to this tree.
No apologies for the sentiment. Maybe it’s the design of a bowl like this that sends such a message so strongly to me. An upside-down bowl, the rim lies just beneath the bark, and each ring reaches further back into the story of the tree. From rim to bottom, there are over a hundred years of this tree’s patience revealed.
With no decorative carving, a bowl like this appears deceptively simple. The challenge lies in reading the log before carving, then achieving graceful lines and a pleasing surface. This bowl is very high and full; it would cradle a basketball quite nicely, but might look better with fruit. It is 16 1/4 inches long, 12 1/2 inches wide, and 6 5/8 inches high. It’s on the website here.