wood used in the making of these bowls grew mostly in the Knysna
region, either in the indigenous forests for which Knysna is famous, or
in local gardens. The species indigenous to the area are purchased at auctions
held twice yearly by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry. The limited
number of logs at these auctions are generally from windfall and storm-damaged
Many exotic garden species from all over the world thrive in Knysna's mild and moist climate. Local garden services contractors regularly provide interesting logs which would otherwise be dumped or split for firewood.
Most logs are end-sealed to prevent them drying out during storage, and many of the bowls are turned from wet wood. This has several advantages, not least being availability. Dry wood in large sizes is very difficult to obtain because large blocks of wood dry extremely slowly and generally split as they dry. Turning wet wood allows access to a much greater variety of wood.
Another advantage is safety - wet wood produces no hazardous dust and is more pleasant to work, causing less wear to the cutting edges of tools.
The disadvantage of wet-turning is that the turned vessel will invariably distort to some extent and could possibly crack during the initial period of drying.
The orientation of the bowl in the log has a great influence on the character of the finished piece, as the sketches alongside show.