Monday, August 10, 2009

First there was a Tree

Dale Larson is best known for his wood turning.

"I'm a bowl turner." he says. "I like to turn the local hardwoods because it directly connects me to the environment around me. As I drive around I am always looking at trees and identifying them and mentally looking at where the prettiest bowls are in the tree."

Here is a huge walnut tree that was being cut down to be replaced by a gas station.

Dale had his arborist friend Craig Smith take it down.

Dale ended up turning over 140 bowls out of the wood, and shared the wood with other turners and artists. This beautiful wood would have otherwise been burned for firewood.

"I find it hard to turn wood that I don't know where it came from or what it is." Dale says. "Most of my wood comes from trees that otherwise would be burned or chipped for pulp."

Dale's favorite wood is Pacific Madrone Burl, which is both beautiful and has great working properties. Like many turners, he can recall what tree his bowls came from and where that tree once grew.

His favorite tree was one he calls the "goat tree". His father found this walnut tree standing in a farmer's pasture. The farmer's goats had eaten the bark around the tree, killing it. The farmer was glad to be rid of the tree, and when it fell it was discovered to be the most highly figured walnut Dale had ever worked with. This old tree found new life in a kitchen table, bed and many turned bowls.

This bed showcases some of the wonderful figure in the "goat tree". The spindles are all one piece and the longest Dale has ever turned.

"I like the idea of using wood for a higher use." he says. "Some trees are fire wood, some are best used in art work. Turning trees I know directly connects me to the world around me."

Dale's work can be viewed in his gallery;

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