Kevin spoke about how turners get their inspiration from their surroundings, i.e. natural forms, trees, leaves, plants, fabric design motifs, architecture, etc. He spoke of how the wood artist tried to emulate and/or embrace what he or she experienced and then integrate it into his/her work. He felt that our job is to be a communicator to the viewer through our work. The better organized and executed our work is, the more successful we will be in having people like and respond to our turnings. He showed slides of various pieces of wood art as examples of how artists tried to capture the feeling of swirling water or the texture of a sea urchin, etc.
He evaluated our turnings and made these observations:
- The finish should match the texture of the piece, i.e. use a matte finish with a rough or natural edge piece and shiny finishes with very smooth textured finish.
- All elements should relate together. Form, color, grain pattern, shape, foot vs. opening, the curve of the foot should complement the curve near the opening, etc. Where different woods are used, the form should continue across the joint without a break or offset. Avoid abrupt steps or changes unless these steps are a deliberate part of the design. If highly contrasted woods are used (ebony and maple for example), it may be better to “balance” the piece by putting some on the bottom as well as at the top.
- Typically, most turnings need a “pedestal” to provide “lift” to a piece. Most pieces are enhanced if the turning has a small foot. Unless this is your deliberate design feature, try to avoid having the major diameter of the bowl at its base since it will appear to be “heavy”.
- “Form follows Function.” For utilitarian bowls, the base should be relatively large so the bowl isn’t tipsy. For esthetic pieces, the base can be very small.
- If a color or other ornamentation is going to be used with a turning, the color selected should harmonize with the natural wood color. Black is a safe color for most light woods.