Evening Trees Shrink Pot


A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening… Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours.  They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them.

— Hermann Hesse, Wandering (1920) [translation by James Wright, 1972]


Evening Trees Shrink Pot

I especially like to see trees in the evening after they’ve transformed into silhouettes against the western sky.  That image has inspired me to play around with some designs on shrink pots (a.k.a. shrink boxes) in the past, and I’ve got several related ideas stirring around in my noggin lately.  I carved one of those ideas into this shrink pot this week — one of a set of three carved from cherry.


oblong bottom

I still need to carve the design in the other two, which differ in height, shape, and size.  The one in the photo is a rough oval in shape — there’s no rule that says they must always be round.


After letting a thinned mix of artist oil colors dry, I carved through it to create the design.



This entry was posted in patterns, quotes and excerpts, shrink box, trees, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Evening Trees Shrink Pot

  1. Linda D. says:

    This is one of my favorite pieces by far – the combination of color, shape and carving is just fabulous. I can almost hear the trees dancing in the autumn night air. Someday I hope to have enough money to buy a piece like this, but for now I will revel in reading about it. Thank you for posting it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jen Shrock says:

    That turned out just gorgeous!! I love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. hiddenspoons says:

    Beautiful! I love the contrast in colors.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Benner Dana says:

    Dave, this shrink pot is stunning! While I have many excuses not to carve I love seeing your work and I am inspired to steel time to sharpen up and start to carve again. Thanks for he great emails and inspiration. You are the man, Ben

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Amy says:

    That blue is so lovely! Rich, soft: kinda like twilight. (So well done, in other words!)


  6. kneetoknee says:

    Beautiful, Dave!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Eric Goodson says:

    Wow. Those artist oils get me thinking. Love the milk paint effect, but that is such a nice “wash.” It leaves the feel of the wood and does not cover it in a layer of pigment. Beautiful carving as always.


  8. wurzelgummage says:

    Yet more inspiring work Dave, thanks for telling us about it.

    I’m about to start coppicing Downy Birch and Wych Elm, which would be perfect for shrink pots, bowls and spoons.

    How have you hollowed the centre ?



    • Dave Fisher says:

      Adam, I start with a two inch diameter T-handle auger — an antique that I keep sharp for cutting through the end grain. It takes some elbow grease, but I enjoy that, and it does a nice job. After that I expand the hole with whatever works best for the particular shape of the pot; a gouge, a sloyd knife, and/or a hook knife. I’d say to just use the largest diameter auger bit you have that works to bore the initial hole, it doesn’t have to be two inches. Then widen the hole from there.


  9. Lewis Ward says:

    Beautiful work, rich colors. Haven’t seen many oval shrink pots.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. DIMITRI NOHE says:

    Everytimes I see your work, every times It is astonning! A quick question about painting for pot: what are you using? What about Tempera with egg?
    Best regards


  11. Dave Fisher says:

    On this pot, I used thinned artist oil paint. True egg tempera would also be an option to try. I would like to experiment with that myself, as I’ve been researching it lately (led there by an interest in Andrew Wyeth’s paintings, which were done in egg tempera). According to what I’ve found, it is quite durable. In fact, it was the medium of choice in the early Renaissance until it was largely replaced by oils. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIueunmWQjs


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