Each life converges to some centre
Expressed or still;
Exists in every human nature
Admitted scarcely to itself, it may be,
For credibility’s temerity
— Emily Dickinson, from Each Life Converges to some Centre
Whether the flutes of this walnut bowl radiate outward or converge inward may depend upon your point-of-view or mood, but from the perspective of a carving gouge, they converge. To work into supported fibers, the cutting edge begins at the rim of the bowl and sweeps downward to the center. I carved the same design not long ago in cherry. You can see it in this post. I forgot to take any process shots with this one, but I’ll include various photos of the bowl as I discuss the procedure a bit.
In both cases, the flutes were carved with a long-bent gouge, #5 sweep 16mm wide. A steeper sweep would make the ridges between flutes a little too pronounced and possibly vulnerable in use. While a shallower sweep like a #3 makes it more difficult to distinguish the ridges and define the flutes.
I don’t draw any guidelines before carving the flutes. The width of the gouge itself keeps the width of the flutes at the rim reasonably similar. I do like to put a little pencil mark in the center of the hollow. That is my target point as the gouge makes its way downward and toward the center. As the edge proceeds from rim to center, I ease up on the downward pressure exerted by my left hand on the shank of the tool, allowing the flute to simultaneously decrease in width and become more shallow. This creates a tapering flute.
I work my way around the bowl in a rough pass, then go back around once again more carefully. When I see I have around six or seven flutes to go on the first pass, I adjust the spacing for the remaining flutes just a touch to make sure I carve a full flute next to where I began. After a couple passes, I try to leave it alone. I want the subtle variations and tool marks from the hand process to remain.
I think on another bowl with converging flutes someday, I may incorporate Emily Dickinson’s thoughts with some carved lettering. Lot’s of ideas for that and other pieces, I know I haven’t posted much for sale lately, but soon.