Bright Shrink Pot


Around me the trees stir in their leaves

and call out, “Stay awhile.”

The light flows from their branches.

Mary Oliver, from the poem “When I am Among the Trees”

That poetry excerpt may look familiar.  I shared it last year in this post, and the poem has now inspired this shrink pot carved in quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides).  Here it is spinning around in the slideshow below.  If you’re viewing this in your email program, click on the title of the post to open it and see all of the photos.


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The shrink pot is 7 1/2 inches (19cm) tall, 4 3/8 inches (11cm) diameter at the base.  I painted it a sky blue with artist oil paint, then carved through that surface with my penknife into the creamy white wood.

The lid was also carved from one piece of aspen.  It fits snugly to give a pretty good seal to whatever you want to keep inside.  It’s interesting that the fit changes slightly depending on the humidity.  On very humid days, the shrink pot expands slightly, and the lid pushes on relatively easily.  On drier days, the top gives a pleasing “pop” when it’s removed.

And here’s another surprise:  My daughter has a string of battery powered LED twinkle lights.  I popped them inside and…

I’ll offer this shrink pot for sale.  Price is $650 which includes shipping in the US.  I’ll also ship outside the US for a bit more.  If you’re interested, leave a comment below or email me at

Hoping you have a chance to take a walk and read some of Mary Oliver’s poetry this week.  She died earlier this year, but she continues to be an inspiration.  I put her on the cover of my latest sketchbook last week:



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

16 Responses to Bright Shrink Pot

  1. Poetryqn says:

    Dave you’re killing me! Mary Oliver is a favorite poet of mine, and your gorgeous shrink pots just call for my fingers…and I need a new front door. *sigh* Oh well. For now I will admire your gorgeous work from afar.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. George K. says:

    Looks amazing…I’ll take it!


  3. Kalia Kliban says:

    It’s utterly lovely. Once again your thoughtful integration of calligraphic text and visual elements leaves me in awe.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. francedozois says:

    very cool–love the eliding of the characters–nice

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Scott Kinsey says:

    Just a natural beauty, Dave. Thanks for the post.
    My little shop has a barometer of sorts.. an old fiddle bow and it does a very acceptable job. The horsehair lengthens and shortens proportionate to the amount of moisture in the air. The only maintenance required is an occasional dusting with Sevin to keep the hair eating bugs at bay. I should have use a little of that stuff on my noggin years ago…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Peter Lamb says:

    A lovely piece, Dave 🌿

    Liked by 1 person

  7. onerubbersoul says:

    Your typography is inspiring!


  8. JReed says:

    Beautiful work of art David!
    Was the lid material green when you carved it or did you use a dry piece of Aspen?


  9. Maureen Richard says:

    Beautiful Dave! I love the combining of the poetry and the tree carving. And, it looks so lovely lit from the inside!


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