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Dragonfly Vase

What is a Hollow Form?

Dragonfly Vase a Hollow Form Style art piece. Hollow Form is a style of woodturning where the opening at the top is smaller than the diameter of the piece. The concept was developed by David Ellsworth in the early 1970’s. David is a student of ceramics and took an interest in woodturning. In ceramics it is relatively easy to form a small hole at the top of a piece. The artist can manipulate the clay upwards and close the opening. David sought a method to achieve this with wood. With clay you can always add material to make the part larger. With wood the material that one starts with always gets smaller.

From Utility to Art Form

Not only did David invent a method to make a small hole at the top he also invented the tools and shared this knowledge with the entire woodturning community. This was revolutionary and changed woodturning from producing solely utilitarian items to that of creating wood art on a lathe. Because of this openness that David shared it is a known fact that if you ask a woodturner how they made something they will share their knowledge with you. This is not true in other crafts. Ask a jeweler how they made their piece or a creamist about their glaze and chances are you will not get an answer. I know this is a fact from asking friends in both fields.

So this is how to make hollow form. One needs special tools and a skill set. It take quite a bit of practice and patience to make a hollow form. First the craftsman makes the exterior form. Then a small opening is made. Next there are special tools that have a hook shape tip. They enter the wood and the carving process takes place as the wood revolves at high speed. Did I mention that the artist cannot see what is happening. So how does the wall thickness remain even and not break through? It is practice and experience. There is a lot of measuring with curved calipers and the sound of the cutting is very important since there is no visual assistance.

The Dragonfly Vase decoration is with Pyrography which is branding the wood and then applying layers color stains.


I design and produce all my items in my studio in Montvale, NJ, USA.


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