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Intrigue Uplifting Bowl

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 8 1/2" X 3"

 

You have heard the axiom: Form follows function...right?

In this bowl, we could say: Form follows intrigue.

Why?  Because I shaped this bowl to best center and show the spalting patterns.  A more traditional, rounded bowl would have been all wrong!  As a note: these spalting patterns are caused by the early stages of fungal decay, and once the bowl dries, all fungal action is suspended and inactive.

You may note this bowl is oriented with the heart (center) of the tree at the base.  Most bowls are the other way around, the heart at the top because it's a more efficient use of wood.  But I love this orientation.  Spalting and grain patterns run at 90 degree angles to growth rings, so you'll see an effect of the features radiating out of the bowl.  It's an uplifting, rising feel—and that positivity is what I tried to mirror with the shape of the bowl.

I shaped the bowl to be thin, and alder is a lighter weight bowl, so you will likely be surprised by how light this bowl feel in your hands.  Not to worry though, it is still plenty strong, especially given the straight diagonal sides.

This bowl will serve as a fine display piece, especially on a lighter colored base to accent vertical movement.  It's also a perfect size for a bundle of grapes.

•••••••••••••••••

Story: At the end of Winter in 2017 an arborist friend gave me a call and asked if I'd like to help cut some red alder trees down behind a church in exchange for some wood.
I've gotten pretty selective about what wood I take on, so I said No thanks.
That's when my friend asked if I'd consider donating some of my time to help the church.  I couldn't say No.  The church does all sorts of great things for our community.

The were some amusing diversions, such as the mechanical engineer who guaranteed that we needed to pull hard on a rope to have it avoid hitting a plastic picnic table.  We couldn't talk him out of it, and guess where the tree fell?  : )

At any rate, I decided I might as well take some alder home and do a spalting experiment.  Knowing the sap hadn't risen in the tree yet, I guessed that the fungal action would be slower than a Spring or Summer cut tree—because spalting is caused by the early processing of fungus, and the sap has more sugars, which means more food for the fungus.  In summary: my guess was that spalting would be slower and more subtle, but I had a mission: the light white flecks you see in this bowl.

As you can see, it turned out exactly as I had hoped.  This isn't the dramatic spalting you see in some of my other bowls, but a happy medium between wood grain and spalted colors.