Collaboration by Lynne Yamaguchi, Connie Rayburn, and Bina Rothblatt
This is the second collaboration I was part of at the WIT eXchange, this one with Connie Rayburn and Bina Rothblatt. In contrast to my first collaboration, Connie, Bina, and I came up with the concept for this quite quickly, right after getting “empty” and “balance” as our words: balancing objects on the rim of an empty, small-footed bowl. We all worked together on the main bowl, then split up to make objects to balance. I wanted to make a raw, chaotic, asymmetrical piece to contrast with the elegance of the main bowl, so I played with a reciprocating carver for the first time (loved it so much I bought one after I came home), then torched the edges. Connie turned a small version of the main bowl and another bowl that we decided to paint green. After playing on the lathe, Bina wasn’t satisfied with any of her objects, but she found a cool-looking scrap of wood burned to coal and cut off the tip to put on the rim. We painted the inside of the main bowl and its mini-me black to emphasize the emptiness, then added the base to emphasize the balance, painting it black for aesthetics. If we’d had more time we would have tapered the base to echo the curve of the main bowl. It took all three of us to find the balance of the objects, but we did—nothing is attached in this piece, all just balanced.
We discovered an interesting surprise after we finished: we had ended up balancing chaos and destruction (my carved object and the coal remnant) against growth and (re)production (the “baby” bowl and the green). The unconscious at work?
Collaboration by Lynne Yamaguchi, Anne Ogg, and Cathy Peters
Anne Ogg, Cathy Peters, and I made this on the first day of collaborations at the WIT eXchange, after drawing the words “pointed” and “flavor” as our starting point. I barely slept the night after we drew our words: I kept hopping out of bed to turn on the lamp to jot down more ideas. I finally left the lamp on all night, with my notebook and pen at hand on the bed beside me. “Sleeping on a solution”—submerging myself in the parameters of a challenge—is a strategy I use often when I’m trying to solve a problem.
I had five pages of notes by morning, approaching the words both literally and figuratively. Examples of a more literal approach to “pointed flavor” include pepper, Tabasco, poison, cactus fruit, a spiky salt shaker. M, an apple with a razor bladeetaphorical examples include criticism, “yet she persisted,” a scream.
When Anne, Cathy, and I met in the morning, we shared ideas. We all liked the idea of lemons, and loved the idea of making the lemons as boxes with teeth inside to represent their sour bite. We decided to each make our own lemon box. After turning them independently, Cathy and I ended up carving them together using rotary tools, while Anne used burning tools instead. The burning added a terrific color element to the inside. To our surprise, the teeth ended up looking like the material remaining after a lemon is juiced, so the lemons looked far more realistic than we had intended.
Anne began turning a bowl to contain the lemons, but we realized that we had run out of time. Instead, we torched the bottom for contrast and used the blank as a pedestal for the lemons.
Last September I attended the first Women in Turning (WIT) eXchange at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. It was a life-changing experience. I describe it in an article published in the February issue of American Woodturner and again in an article forthcoming in the August issue, this time through the lens of creativity. Please check out the articles (I’ll link the second as soon as it’s published); I guarantee they’re worth the time.
The topic of creativity and how to ignite it has become an obsession for me. After diving deep over the last several months, I have developed a day-long workshop designed to awaken, foster, and grow participants’ creativity. I am really excited about it. My first presentation of it will be for the Prescott Area Woodturners in June.
I will post separately photos of the three collaborations I was part of at the eXchange, along with stories of their making.