The metaphor of bowl turning

Patternmaker's double lathe (Carpentry and Joi...

Image via Wikipedia

I had a great day yesterday making five short one minute movies of the wooden bowl turning process on a lathe. My business partner Helder is a master carpenter and we thought it would be cool to show people the highly skilled work that goes into what we are making.

It really inspired me to learn about the art myself and as a result I have decided to turn fifty small wooden bowls as a gift for our wedding guests. Watching my friend from behind the lense of my kodak camera on video mode so clearly in his element, was very calming. The hypnotic motion of the specially prepared piece of wood called a blank, spinning on the lathe whilst being refined with a gouge was a wonderful experience.

Bowl turning follows the same principle Michael Angelo used to guide his hand in the creation of his of statue David.  When asked how he had created one of greatest works of art known to man, the veritable  personification of perfection in stone. He simply said David was in the piece of marble already, all he  had to do was release him.

Speaking to Helder my friend he expressed  his deep appreciation for this quality in all things. There is a David in all of us. All we have to do is release him from the bonds of insecurity and self-consciousness.

When making a bowl the idea is to remove only what is necessary to remove. In doing this the bowl finds its own natural shape and is of course completely unique and very  beautiful. One cannot define how a bowl is going to be before making it, one can only really help it be what it really wants to be.

When I think of the coming challenge of being a father this principle warms my heart. For the world is spinning all the time like some giant lathe, and in a way we are all blanks attached to it. The best I wish for as a parent is to play some part in helping my child to remove the excess so his or her innate perfection can emerge.

The movies we made are fun to watch and short so if you have five minutes I recommend watching them


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