Inspiration: Bob Stocksdale
Most of the bowls I’ve turned recently are variations on a theme: A fairly tall, simple foot and a plain, curved bowl. They’re easy t o make. The challenge comes in finding the proper proportions for foot and bowl and the ideal shape of the curve. I’m always tweaking and refining the curves with each new bowl. That’s why I can return repeatedly to that same basic shape. For a change of pace, I’ll sometimes turn a bowl whose sides flare out from the base, like the bell of a trumpet.
I didn’t invent those shapes on my own. Rather, I take my esthetic cue from Bob Stocksdale, one of the giants of 20th Century woodturning. Along with Rude Osolnik and Ed Moulthrop, Stocksdale is one of the brilliant artists who helped transform woodturning from shop-class project into great craft, sometimes art. Stocksdale’s work qualifies as art. Two of his bowls are shown in the photos here.
To paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen’s great put-down of Dan Quayle from their vice-presidential debate: I’m no Bob Stocksdale. That’s OK. I don’t want to channel him, just learn from him.
Two bowls of mine, exploring basic shapes and simple proportions
Two by Stocksdale. On the left, a footed bowl in Brazilian rosewood. On the right, one in kingwood. Both are from the Jane and Arthur Mason Collection at the Mint Museum, in Charlotte, N.C.