Sitka Spruce Stump Handmade, one-of-a-kind
excellent display piece
finished w/ food-grade tung & citrus oil
made by Zach LaPerriere
Sitka, Alaska 2018
bowl measures 8” X 6 1/2” root end measures 7 1/2" X 6 1/2"
“Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
I’m naturally curious. If nature wears the colors of the spirit on the outside—what about the inside?
That’s why I say that the act of shaping a bowl from old growth woods is always a discovery. And some bowls are outstanding discoveries.
When I first found this spruce stump on a remote beach, there was a hint of what might be inside. But more often than not in Alaskan species, the curly wavy grain is only on the very outer edges of the tree.
You can see that amazing grain runs right through this bowl. I left the interior of the bowl shallow so you can see the differences in how the tree grew. I’m guessing the tree grew on a steep hillside, slow growing in a tall forest. The larger roots of the stump suggested in was torn from the forest in a landslide.
I wanted to convey the connection between outer texture and inner with this bowl, but I knew that a bowl alone could not do everything. So I also slow-dried a companion piece and sanded with a progression of 9 grits to show the intersection of texture, color, and grain.
I’m including that piece to also be displayed with this bowl. As you’ll see in the photos there are several different orientations for best displaying this root end, and I’ll leave that up to you. I recommend changing the display every so often, particularly if you entertain visitors.
Perhaps the most striking thing in both pieces is the interior of the bowl. I left this shallow so you could see it better. As a display piece, it is probably best to leave the interior open for show or put at most one thing that can be removed for admiring the grain.
In addition to the natural edge rim of the bowl, there is a section of natural edge near the base that could not be captured in photos. It’s a natural indention from the growth of the stump. Likely the stump grew around a rock.
There are so many features in such a small area: curly grain, chatoyance, knots, and ancient worm holes near the inner rim.
Something that often surprises people when I tell them: these stump bowls take about two years to complete. The first year is for slow drying outdoors. I then turn the bowl and dry it even slower in my indoor drying shed that is kept cool naturally by our temperate climate. Heat is the enemy of drying wood slowly—and Alaska has kindly given natural air conditioning!
I know these pieces will go to a special home. It really is a joy to bring you such wild and crazy Alaskan pieces—and to know that the story of a darn cool tree will be shown and told many times for many years.
It goes without saying, but I’ll say it again…. Because these were crafted from a single pieces of wood, they will last for generations with minimal care.