Memorial Bowl

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This tulip poplar log came to me with a history.  John’s son-in-law explained to me that John watched this tree grow and would often comment on its simple beauty and growth when they were together.  A couple years ago, John passed on.  Since then, John’s humble but special tulip poplar had to come down and I was asked to make a bowl as a reminder that both would be missed.

After some thought, I decided on an asymmetric form that followed the flare of this butt log and the simple meaningful message “John P. D’Apolito loved this tree.”  I never knew John, but I think this short message reveals something of him and mankind’s relationship to nature, and it feels good to know that it will be in his daughter’s home.

I shared the early progress on this bowl at the end of this post.  Here are a couple photos following the post-drying carving stage, but before the lettering.

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Interior from the gouge, handle from the drawknife.

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Upside down

I worked out the lettering design on paper before drawing on the bowl itself.  I sketched the general shape of the handles in ink, then played around with the lettering in pencil.

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Once I liked it, I propped up the sketchbook and drew the idea fresh onto the handle.  Same thing for the “loved this tree” handle.

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Even then, they’re only pencil lines — strong suggestions.  The knife has the final word.

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When bowls are attacked.

My specific tools and techniques vary depending on the hardness of the wood, size of the letters, and other variables.  For this tulip poplar, I hogged away much of the material with a larger knife.  My left hand would normally be involved as well for control.  I made refinements with the penknife blade.  Slow and steady.

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Phew.  Here is one handle finished…

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…and the other

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I’m always fascinated by how the appearance of v-incised lettering, and a bowl for that matter, changes with the angle of light and point of view:

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Some oil and it’ll be all ready for action.

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17 1/4″ long,  8 1/2″ wide, and 5″ high

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This entry was posted in bowls, Lettering, nature, trees, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Memorial Bowl

  1. francedozois says:

    another fabulous piece of bowl carving and incredible lettering–

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Scott Thomas says:

    What a beautiful tribute. I’m sure the family will be proud to have it as a constant memory. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hans says:

    Hi David, what a marvelous piece is this! I like the curvature very much. Greetz, Hans

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You’ve got some lovely touches in the lettering. That’s an object people will pick up and turn over and over. Great way to be remembered.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Karl says:

    It took me a while to notice the special touch you gave to the “T” in “tree.” Beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Tone says:

    Perfect. So crisp.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Uwe Adler says:

    Beautiful! Art, craft and story – at it´s best!

    Liked by 1 person

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