If weep you must, then weep; but weep that tears must be, and be
Gentle and grow as, weeping to the ground, the willow tree;
And grace will come, lighting the eyes of heaven, after thee.
— Catherine Breese Davis, Be Graced
The shrink pot above is the result of being asked to design and make a shrink pot to feature a portion of a beloved poem. This pot, as well as a couple others, will let me share some brief thoughts on lettering and painting ideas I’ve been exploring.
The CBD shrink pot above has a square base; as long as the pith was in the middle, the pot walls will shrink around a square as well. This is the same idea as the rectangular base of the book style shrink pots like the one you can see part way down this post. After boring a 2″ hole through, I used a long gouge to shape the tapering square hollow of the interior.
The outside was textured with long loose cuts with a wide shallow gouge, then painted with a couple different layers of glazes of thinned artist oil paints. After carving the willow leaves, I added another layer of thin green, and wiped it off the surface of the rest of the pot. Then I cut the letters, leaving them the natural color of the aspen wood.
I used a similar technique on this shrink pot to the right. After painting a very thin, and relatively bright, blue over the pot, I carved the trees and the undulating rim. Then I painted a thin black over all, wiping the surface completely right after; like applying and wiping off wood stain. The black pigment was accepted readily by the bare wood of the trees and rim. However, on the surface that had been painted a bright blue, it only deepened the color of the blue to a sort of twilight blue.
There are many other ways to play around with different color combinations and carving sequences.
Of course, there are still many occasions where I want the character of the wood to speak for itself. The slide show below shows a cherry shrink pot made by request for a wedding gift. The couple was married in the mountains of Indonesia, and the words refer to how the couple met.
Sharpen your knife and make some chips.