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Meeting Bowl

Western Hemlock
Handmade, one-of-a-kind
excellent for a display or jewelry bowl
finished w/ food-grade tung &citrruc oil
made by Zach LaPerriere
Sitka, Alaska 2018
bowl measures 8 1/2 X 2 1/2"

If you were traveling and wanted to learn about a place, you'd go where the action is.  In a city, it might be the town square.  In the natural world, it's the transition zones—think of all the life on shore between the ocean and the land.

Going straight to the action was my approach with this bowl: to see what was inside of what I gauged to be one of the most intriguing parts of a huge hemlock tree.  And here it is!

Each side of the natural gap touch each other, but are not joined.  The tree grew until the bark from each side could grow little further.  The result is fine growth rings that become much finer, too small to count without a microscope.

That's the amazing beauty of old growth wood.  We pause, we reflect to realize that this hemlock stood above the beach for hundreds of years.  That goes back to before the first European saw Alaska.  Generations of Tlingit paddlers in their canoes over hundreds of seasons paddled past this tree.  The tree was middle aged when the United State became a country.

It's enough to really make you think!  And to me, that essence is right here in the bowl.  You can see the antiquity of this tree, understand its growth, admire the tenacity—and know that perhaps if natural conditions were a little different, this tree would have likely stood for centuries more.

I deliberately shaped this bowl to be solid.  When you're holding centuries of growth in your hands—it's profound, connecting us to all of time.  That's what natural elements in our homes do for us.  The ground us, they meet us where we are, they give us perspective on life.

I love the variety of colors, the thin bands of darker wood mixed between lighter growth rings.  It's a phenomenal piece of an amazing tree, and I am thrilled to be able to share it with you.

This bowl will make a perfect display and contemplation piece.  If you enjoy keeping art functional, there's nothing to keep you from making this a fruit bowl or perhaps even a yarn bowl.  Whatever you use it for, people will want to hold this and look at the subtleties of an ancient tree's life.

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Story:The tree this bowl came from blew over and was floating in the ocean near my house.  It took me hours to tow it home in the skiff because hemlock barely floats and all the branches were still on the tree.

Centuries ago this tree started rotted from the inside out.  The tree responded by slowing its growth to dense, resinous, extra strong wood.  The hemlock was probably well over 500 years old when it fell into the ocean, with over 300 years of slow growth.