As an art medium, wood is unique in that it once lived, and lived long, rooted in the earth, formed as much by the tree’s own life force as by the external forces acting upon it. Wood can be treated as an inert material; it can be cut, carved, colored, bent, planed, pulped; like any other medium, artists can impose on it whatever form and texture its physical nature will allow. But like a human face, its deepest beauty lies in its record of survival, in its singularity of being, and if an artist chooses to address that aspect of its nature, then the treeness of the wood, that original life energy, can live on in the made object. This is what I try to do in turning, to approach the wood as one vessel of energy to another and to make of that interaction a literal vessel.
In Japanese, ki, , means spirit, energy, mind, heart. It is the root of such words as kimochi, , feeling; kihaku, , soul, great spiritual energy; kiryoku, , vitality; and kifuu, , character, temperament; and such expressions as ki ga tsuku, , to be aware of, notice, realize, be attuned to, and ki o tsukeru, , to pay attention, take care.
Ki also, in the form of the character , signifies tree or wood.
For me, turning is an act of relationship, a process of discovery and response as the wood reveals its nature (and I, mine). As I engage with each piece of wood, asking and answering in turn, my intent is to expose a form—to let emerge a vessel—that expresses the spirit of the wood, the ki of the ki, the essence of that piece of tree. The quality that I strive to achieve in each turning is presence.
I believe that an object made so, with reverence for its source, retains the spark of that source. Such objects when held or beheld can remind us of our connection to the numinous and the material, the spirit and the earth, a healing connection that grounds us and elevates us and restores us to the whole.