B.O.W.L.S. - Barbara Overcomes With Lots of Support

Sometimes the project list changes when the Universe makes a suggestion - like this one.

A woman going through cancer treatment wrote down some of what she was feeling not long after her diagnoses. She envisioned her immediate future as being at the bottom of a bowl - with enough water in the bottom to float in and rest by floating on her back, and ridges up the sides she can use to climb out of the bowl between treatments. The bowl would have a wide rim - wide enough to rest on before going back in the bowl. The bowl would be oak, like the big old oak tree she, and probably a few generations have climbed in as kids or rested under it in the shade on a summer afternoon. She even had a name for the bowl - B.O.W.L.S. - Barbara Overcomes With Lots of Support.

A friend posted her writing to the turning forum on Wood Central.

Universe: Got your next turning project for you. See attached story for details.

This just sort of came out - shallow bowl - blue water at the bottom, steps going from terra cotta orange to sunny yellow at the top, wide gently curving rim - a green grassy hillside to lay on - in the sunshine - to watch clouds and see the faces of grandkids in.

Sometimes you do things and you don't know why. Finding a pearlescent white airbrush paint and Prisma Color felt tip pens earlier seemed to have been acquired for an earlier project. Turns out that was just practice for Barbara's BOWLS Bowl.

Didn't have any oak handy so this one was going to be out of redwood - California redwood - readily available in these parts.

Helping a friend with his new shop project, I happened to see another friend who is an arborist, sawyer and woodworker. He'd just sawn some 2" to 3" thick planks of - Universe Calling - oak - quarter sawn oak, with nice medular rayed flecking - and asked if I could use some oak for turning.


When the Universe wants you to do something, it often lends a helping hand just when it's needed - enough nice oak for three or four 8" diameter blanks, just in case the first one or two don't turn out.

The first one it turns out - turned out just fine.

While sanding, the medular rays stayed high - subtle little bumps pattern in the back side of the bowl.

Once again, the Universe stepped in.

I'd burnished the surface of an earlier piece and had liked the results. The curved polished agate burnisher left over from earlier jewelery making was still on the WorkSharp sharping machines table on the end of the lathe bench. A little burnishing on an area of the back and the Universe was right - again. DUH! The burnished surface got a nice sheen to it, but the little medular rays bumps pattern could still be felt. Nice. (The agate burnisher is below the bowl in the right photo below. It's curve and its rounded point made it easy to burnishing up against the rim and the foot.)

A little PhotoShop work on the left photo just to visualize the affect of translucent colors confirmed that this coloring idea just might work - a translucent pearlescent white airbrush paint as an undercoat coat - which still let the grain show through - and Prisma Color felt tips for the colors.

A little sanding on a cut off of the oak, a painted on thin coat of pearlescent white, Prisma Color pens over that - wood's grain still visible and a nice pearlescent shimmering look to the colors. (sorry about the photo quality - but you get the idea)

Needed some more Prisma Color pens so it was off to University Arts. While there I looked at airbrushes. The only had one - an Iwata Eclipse HP - BCS in a kit. Nice brush - but $175 was a bit much.

And the Universe sent another message.

"Oh, the kit is on SALE - 25% OFF!" noted the salesperson.

When the Universe drops a not so subtle hint, it's best to take the hint.

Came home with the Prisma Color pens - AND the Iwata.

The pearlescent white undercoat lets the wood's grain show through. The Prisma Colors going over it should also let the wood's grain show through.

So far, so good. Helps when the Universe lends a hand.

A bright, warm Monday morning - nice for photographing Barbara's B.O.W.L.S. bowl. Once again - the Universe comes through.

Those light streaks - medular rays in the wood. They're just proud of the background - subtle - but you can feel them. There's no finish on the outside at all - just burnished smooth - nothing between you and the wood. Over time the surface will change as it picks up finger prints and places begin to wear from handling - which I hope this bowl gets plenty of.

Barbara - this bowl's for you. The Universe said so! ; )

(We get by with a little help from our friends - and occasionally - a passing stranger)