Runic Vessel circa 2020 is a work I created for the AAW-POP (American Association of Woodturners-Professional Outreach Program). This 15th invitational exhibition and auction will be held in St. Paul, MN in July 2021. The invitation was not limited to woodturners, but open to artists working in various disciplines. We were asked to create work based on the theme Elements; the work had to fit into a 6″ cube. Runic Vessel measures 5.75″ at the widest point.) When the lid is lifted, three wooden tiles unfold to reveal designs that were created by dipping pieces of bamboo into paint and then stamping these onto the tiles.
Runic Vessel circa 2020 was begun in late 2020 and was still evolving into early 2021. It is the only 3-D work in my “Runes” series (wall relief mosaics). In this series, the focus is on the natural beauty of bamboo segments and their imprints on wood tiles. Please see my previous three posts about this series: Runes of a New Age / Runes, Book 2 / Runes, Book 3.
Runes, Book 3 is the third relief mosaic in this series. It measures 14 x 30 x 1.75 inches, and combines painted cedar, poplar, cherry, and other woods. The patterned tiles show imprints of various bamboo sections that were strategically cut and prepared for use as printing blocks. See also the previous two posts relating to these works.
Runes, Book 2 is the second mosaic in my “Runes” series. It measures 14 x 32 x 1.75 inches and is composed of stacked painted poplar, cedar, and mahogany woods. The turquoise tiles show the imprints made by using sections of bamboo as “printing blocks” that are dipped in paint and stamped onto a surface.
This photo will give you an idea of what I mean…
Many beautiful designs appear when I cut bamboo, especially at the node section, which is the horizontal ridge running around a bamboo stalk. I will be sure to post more of the bamboo blocks that I created – they are exciting and unusual.
Runes of a New Age is a mosaic relief in wood and bamboo, measuring 24 x 24 inches. The “runes” are dyed segments of bamboo, mounted on faceted blocks of painted wood. Interspersed within the mosaic are dyed birch tiles with imprints of designs made from pieces of bamboo. Careful attention is given to each of the pieces in my mosaic. After initial rough cutting, all are finished by using hand tools, files, and sanding blocks.
Labyrinths are ancient patterns that are found throughout the world. They are sometimes described as symbolic pilgrimages, or walking meditations. Try searching: labyrinths near me, and see what comes up. Chances are there is a walkable garden labyrinth not too far away.
These are some of the many labyrinths that I’ve created over the years, ranging from the smallest at 3.5 x 3.5″ (center, bottom row) to the largest Journey at 41 x 41 inches (left, bottom row). I usually attach a “walking stick” that I handcraft from mahogany, cedar, or another wood. I think of these as calming spiritual journeys, to be traveled slowly and with an open heart.
Inside the Labyrinth is the painting at top left, with clear sphere (this is a recurring element in much of my work). Those that appear to be drawn in pencil are actually silverpoint drawings that are made with a rod of silver; all of these will tarnish to a silvery-brown over time. The two circular silverpoint drawings in the middle are Veiled Labyrinth (8.5 inches) and Scribbled Labyrinth (10 inches). The Bamboo Path (16 x 16″) is at top right, and Infinite Labyrinth (20.5 x 20.5 inches) is at bottom right.
That’s it for now ~
Adrift is a wood and bamboo relief mosaic measuring 32 x 18 x 3 inches. The “mast” is bamboo, as are the triangular “sails” scattered throughout the stacked, painted tesserae. The paint-splashed tiles are made of wood; they are stacked onto a layer of textured wooden shapes that are sliding around – and off – the edges of the panel. All pieces in this composition are hand-painted and finished. Here’s a detail photo of Adrift…
Celtic Sphere is a silverpoint drawing on prepared panel, measuring 6 x 6 inches. The glass sphere was resting on a combed grid when I drew this. I was surprised to see that the grid refracted by the curved sphere resulted in a beautiful Celtic knot.
Confetti Wrap is the newest of my “gift-wrapped” mosaics. It is a complex composition using variations of stacked wood tiles: green-stained wood, paint-flecked wood over metal leaf, and tiny accent pieces scattered throughout. The edges of each piece are hand-shaped and painted with gold mica, as is the “ribbon” that wraps across the panel.
This panel measures 17.5 x 17.5 x 2.5 inches. Here are some detail photos of Confetti Wrap…
I welcome any comments or questions about my work or my process.
Forest Wrap is a recent labor of love. I used the twisted branches found on my nature walks as the “wrap” that embraces the “forest” of walnut, cherry, mahogany, and cedar tesserae. I work intuitively, so the patterns are not pre-planned, I simply allow space for things to unfold naturally.
Each of the pieces in the composition is initially rough-cut on the band saw. This is followed by fine-tuning: beveling the edges of all pieces, fitting, layering, then many hours of sanding and re-sanding between finish coats – as each tile is hand-painted with various layers of paint glazes. Detail photo of Forest Wrap…
I had the idea to create these mosaic “wraps” a few years ago, and had even begun to experiment with cutting “ribbons” from poplar; the ribbons were meant to overlap at a point, and wrap around a deep wood panel.
Well, I finally revisited this idea! I spent much of the Summer working on them and have completed three to date. These are the first two…
Gold Wrap – I first applied metal leaf to a black-painted wood panel, and then scratched a pattern into that. From the panel, I created individual wood tiles. Each tile is cut and hand-shaped, then given a finished, painted edge. Because of the free-form ribbon, I decided against the look of a neat flush edge on the overall composition, and instead let each tile overhang. The “ribbon” is cut and hand-shaped, with gold-mica paint on poplar. This measures 17 x 17.5 x 2 inches.
Ruby Wrap – I applied a decorative pattern of dyes and paint to a wood panel, and from this cut many individual tiles to compose this wrap. Each tile has a hand-finished, painted edge. The ribbon is cut and hand-shaped, then gold mica paint is applied in many coats. It measures 17 x 17 x 2 inches.
Next post will be about a larger and more complex Forest Wrap relief mosaic.