Large Radiant Birch Root Burl Bowl
This stunning bowl was turned from a root cut from a very large birch tree in Hovland, MN. The roots of trees usually have figuring like that found in burls. Hence, the use of the word root burl. The trimmed piece had a deep cavity in its bark top that had to be fixed so it could be securely attached to a lathe. Images below show this hole filled with a temporary piece of wood secured in place with screws; and the piece attached to a lathe with a faceplate and a rotating center in the tail stock for safety. This was the starting point for turning the bowl. I was worried about the depth of the hole but fortunately it stopped about an inch from the bottom of the base. You can see the end of the hole in the top view of the completed bowl! The bowl has a complete natural birch bark edge that follows the outer contour of the burl. The bark is hard and solid, not the thin paper texture typical of birch. Old birch trees, especially around the roots, have a much thicker and harder bark. The bowl has the appearance of being on fire. This flame figuring is called chatoyance, very similar to the effect seen in mother of pearl and in minerals like tiger’s eye and moonstone. The chatoyance in this bowl is spectacular giving the appearance of many dancing curls of light. This effect is difficult to capture in photos, but in this bowl, it is very visible and vibrant. This flame figuring usually takes the form of linear rays, but in this bowl some of the rays are in circular patterns. The bowl also has subtle colors and some darker red-brown areas. It even has a few bark inclusions that give interesting patterns and contrast. The bowl was turned using handheld tools on a lathe from green wood, dried for several months, and sanded to 400 grit. The bowl was sealed with two coats of pure tung oil (diluted 50% with citrus solvent to speed up drying), hand sanded after each coat. This finish is considered food safe, although this bowl is best suited for artistic display. This bowl is unusual and would be an amazing centerpiece on a large dark table. I have turned a lot of chatoyant bowls. I can honestly say that this one has the best flaming glow. This bowl's dimensions are: 15” diam at top, 7” max ht, 3/8” wall thickness
This bowl is so amazing I took a lot of photos. Chatoyance is so difficult to show in photos. Hopefully some of the photos catch the dancing rays of light. This bowl really grabs one attention. I have it in my store for sale, but best to come to Fall Art Tour and see it in person. Following are the photos of this bowl. Click on a photo to enlarge.