Vessels Emerging #1: #5 Camphor - OR - What Happens When I Start Thinking About Tulips

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Blog entry by Mark Wilson posted 01-11-2016 02:50 AM 1701 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Vessels Emerging series no next part

A few days back, one of my Most Beloved Buddies (Grumpy, I think) posted a short blog, sharing a link to a YT video of a guy showing another guy how to turn a Tulip. It’s a thing I’ve seen before, and, a thing I’ve tried before. So I picked up a Camphor stick and mounted it between centers. A wacky stick, it was. Thick on one end, thinner on the other, and a couple bramch stubs sticking out.
I started turning something like the beginning of a Tulip. Then, the voice started in.

Isn’t this too nice a piece of timber to make a Tulip? I mean, there’s so much wood here that would be wasted.

I thought about it for a minute, and thought, You’re right. Let us do something else with this.

Now, when I was getting close to done with Ficus Bowl 7c, I started ruminating on what to do next. I picked up a Peach Log (7” x 7”), got out the faceplate, and set about mating the two, with an eye towards turning a Vessel Emerging. Having gotten distracted by the notion of Tulips, I did, instead, as described above.

So the Wacky Camphor Branch and I discussed it, and agreed that it should be a Vessel Emerging. Vessel Emerging #5, specifically.

This is where I began taking pictures. Once I had the outside, upper part, polished.

Having learned my lesson on an earlier piece, about finishing a Vessel’s upper part before giving it a thin stem, On I went.

This is where you get to see the neat new tool I devised for getting WOP inside a slightly-more-than-one-inch opening. Now, the quality of the inside finish wasn’t of paramount importance to me, for two reasons. 1) The overall presentation of this piece is as an “unfinished” Obet de High Arte. And, B) My main concern was simply to protect the wood. (You’ll notice that it is a re-usable tool.)

That’s your story?

Uh huh. And I’m sticking to it.

The lip,which had gotten very thin, kept getting teched by the sand paper and getting chipped. I was going all “Egg-Shell” on this Thing. I had to, several times, carefully, sand out the little chips. It was just like grinding a little chip out of a tool. (This lip is really sharp – trust me, you don’t want to drink from this vessel.) In the process, the lip took on a charming little undulation that I thought fit well with the “unfinished” nature of it all.

I’d been thinking hard about the base. I had said, out loud, that, were I “One-Of-Those-People”, I might do some carving. I described, again, out-loud, the picture I was seeing in my head. And, you know what? The picture became real. I guess that makes me “One-Of-Those-Kind-Of-People.” Hmmm? First, I needed something like a cliff face for this Vessel to grow out of. So I made some cuts with my Japan Saw.

And stared at the picture in my head, long enough for my fingers to get their brains wrapped around it. (The second photo in this montage is where I turned on the lamp.)

I then Concentrated on the branch stubs.

I created some wild striations with a gouge or two, and finished it by brushing WOP. I cut it off, signed and finished the bottom, and, you can see the finished piece in a couple hours. It’s dinnertime, and Aged P is waiting for me. Also, I’m hungry.

-- Mark

8 comments so far

View Grumpy's profile


25943 posts in 4452 days

#1 posted 01-11-2016 04:37 AM

You mean I inspired that creation. Certainly am flattered Mark but won’t let it go to my head.
Nice job mate.
I know what you mean about wasting wood to get a result, been there done that.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2696 posts in 1664 days

#2 posted 01-11-2016 04:43 AM

Thanks, Tony. And, thanks again.

-- Mark

View lew's profile


12931 posts in 4357 days

#3 posted 01-11-2016 05:03 AM

I envy folk who can see inside of a piece of wood and visualize what is hidden there.

Great work, Mark!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View DocSavage45's profile


8881 posts in 3444 days

#4 posted 01-11-2016 05:04 AM


Great blog, great job. Great art!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2696 posts in 1664 days

#5 posted 01-11-2016 08:33 AM

Thank you, Lew and Tom. Lew, I just go in and see what’s in there. I have a picture in my head, and, on extremely rare, occasion, that which is in my head and that which is in the wood somehow match up.

-- Mark

View CFrye's profile


10821 posts in 2441 days

#6 posted 01-12-2016 12:30 AM

Me thinks the ‘matching’ happens more often than you let on. Although, not as often as you’d like. Nicely done, Mark.

-- God bless, Candy

View leafherder's profile


1889 posts in 2553 days

#7 posted 01-12-2016 08:24 PM

Hey! Way to go! Not only are you listening to the wood, you are responding and having complete conversations. See the wood really does know what it wants to be – and you will have great success if you learn the language.
Great job on the “not tulip” and the blog. Thanks for sharing.

-- Leafherder

View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2696 posts in 1664 days

#8 posted 01-12-2016 09:25 PM

John, we do talk things over. But I make it understood that I am in charge. Sometimes, cooperation is in order. When abject obedience is called for, I generally get it.

-- Mark

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