True Hope is Swift


True hope is swift, and flies with swallow’s wings.
Kings it makes gods, and meaner creatures kings.
          — William Shakespeare, Richard III, Act V, Scene ii
I knew I had to carve that first line one day on a bird bowl, and I had been waiting for the right crook to come along; one that would allow for the deep wings and posture I had in mind.  A few months ago, I came upon a young cherry tree on a hillside that was dying and rotting above chest height, but the decay hadn’t yet made it to the base of the tree.  The flaring base rose out of the ground at a sharp angle before curving up toward the light.

Splitting the large crook provided two blanks.


The blank in the foreground contained the old rotten branch that had broken off. I was still able to get a nice big spoon out of it. The blank in the background was the source for the bird bowl featured in this post.


Here it is after some initial roughing with the axe and drawknife, and sporting some of my sketched guidelines.  Almost done!


Of course, there was a lot of deep undercut hollowing to do; work far beyond the reach of an adze. Perfect opportunity to get to know one’s hook tools better.


As I was carving, I decided to extend the hollow along the top side of the tail.  The dark heartwood ended up a bit off center along the breast, but I wasn’t going to complain after all this crook had given.


Port side lettering…


…and starboard.


I like to see this one sitting in the window, but it’s time to fly.

The dimensions are 12 inches long, 4.75 inches wide, and 8 inches high.  I’ve just posted it to my website.

As if you haven’t seen enough photos, I’ll put them all in one easy spot in the slideshow below:


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This entry was posted in bird bowls, bowls, carving, cherry, finding wood, green woodworking, Lettering, quotes and excerpts, trees, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to True Hope is Swift

  1. Stunning artistry, Dave.


  2. Emil says:

    I got school finished today, Teach! I am counting on 2 “As.” Can’t wait to get back to carving…judging by this swallow I have a lot of practice to do!!!

    He is “Cherry!”


  3. Amy says:

    I love that the initial “cut” (before the crafting) is the shape of a heart: (hopefully this will be construed as more profound than cheesy) because isn’t that what hope is? Love in one of its best forms? Lovely, beautiful. Rock on, dear Dave. To quote the band-that-sings-it-but-that-I-can’t-remember-at-present, “If I had a million dollars…” I’d have a house full of these treasures.


  4. Dan Crampton says:

    Beautiful and inspiring. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. cynthamum says:

    … and come to instruct those in need 🙄😁

    Beautiful as always❣️

    Liked by 1 person

  6. cynthamum says:

    I saw the smile at the bottom of the WordPress page. ‘._.’

    Liked by 1 person

  7. francedozois says:

    incroyable–just exquisite and more–


  8. ouidavincent says:

    Beautiful! What will happen to the other half?


  9. Scott Thomas says:

    And the hits just keep coming. I am always anxious to see what is next. Works of art and inspiration of what can be.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Tone says:

    That is sculpture. Your approach – using an angle – has given me an idea for solving a bowl design issue I have been thinking about for sometime, thanks 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Mike Carpenter says:

    every time I see one of your new bowls it sends me back to my workshop to try to improve my own efforts, Cherrs Mike Carpenter Aylesbury UK

    Liked by 1 person

  12. treenworks says:

    As always, beautiful and inspiring work. I’ve got alerts for February 2nd on my calendar and the first week of June scheduled for vacation. I’m looking forward to Greenwood Fest and the chance to meet you. Hopefully, I’ll get the chance to take your class. In 10 days my son comes home from college and we’ll be working together to build a “sloyd” horse. I’m using plans from Dawson Moore as a starting point, but building a common base that will be capable of accepting multiple heads. Basically a single base with interchangeable heads for bowls, spoons, and shave horse. This all started from reading about your bowl horse. Many thanks for generously sharing your experiences and knowledge. I would never have had the “gumption” to try this without all the videos and articles you’ve developed.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. francedozois says:

    I’ve saved this post and go back to look at it frequently–the lettering, the form, the everything. A Merry and Happy to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. That thing is awesome!


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