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Sun Pattern Wall Dome

Red Alder—Spalted
Handmade, one-of-a-kind
excellent display piece for the wall
finished w/ food-grade Danish oil
made by Zach LaPerriere
Sitka, Alaska 2018
bowl measures 9 1/2" wide X 2 1/2" deep

This is the final in a series of five spalted wall domes that show the interaction between wild forces of nature and me as a wood artist shaping amazing wood to show what I find most outstanding.

In addition to the wild spalting patterns, as I was finishing the final profile of this shape I wanted to add a small mark of the making of this bowl.  With the lathe spinning, I touched the dome lightly with a course grit of sandpaper on the power sander.

The effect is clockwise spirals in a circle about 4" in diameter.  The spiral cuts are so subtle that many will miss them, but if you look close, you see a pattern evoking the sun—which is a little ironic when you consider that trees are solar powered plants.

These spalted domes will go well just about anywhere, and I think they look as great on a light colored wall as a dark wall.

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Story: In the Fall of 2016 a monsoon dumped many inches of rain on Sitka in a period of a few hours.  In addition to numerous landslides, local rivers flooded and a number of mature red alder trees were washed down rivers.

I suspect this alder came from Kaasda Heen, also know as Indian River, that cuts through Sitka National Historical Park—known locally as Totem Park.  If you know this river, it's impressive to think about an 80 foot tall tree washing down over the rocks and sandbars.

A few days after the big rain another storm and high tide rolled through Sitka and I looked out to see this tree floating by my house, complete with branches and a rootward still holding rocks and bushes.

It took me a couple hours to tow and wrestle the log to the beach in our family's skiff.  Once tied up to the beach, with the tide out I cut the log into rounds and left a number of these round on the beach just above the winter high tide storm line.  After sitting for six months, the green wood had turned into what you see here.

These spalting lines are fascinating: it's almost like a battle of the fungus.  The black lines you see are transition zones, almost like a fence, that competing fungal species put up when they run into another species.

Rounds that I removed earlier were less spalted, and some that I left longer ended up so rotten that they went into the woodshed.

To say that no two pieces of spalted wood are alike is...well...a serious understatement!