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Introducing the Mazer (M3)

I know it hasn’t been long since my last post, but unexpectedly (even for me) I have completed the final installment in my Mazer (bowl) series. 

This work is a part of a triptych of bowl shapes. All of them loosely based around a Mazer, which is an ancient drinking vessel that typically had a boss in the center and a flat foot on the bottom.

Mazer's also had a wide array of gilding and decorative elements that made them kind of impractical. This is of course appealing to me as a sculptor, as I like it when aesthetics take precedent over usefulness.

The main bowl form of the M3 is made of stabilized maple burl with a blue dye added to the stabilizing fluid. The metal details in the piece are machined out of aluminum, then finished and anodized with a warm champaign copper color.

Both of these colors play very differently depending on the light. The Maple can sometimes seem more green than blue, and the copper can appear pinkish to a brassy-yellow against the blueish maple when viewed in warm light. It is really interesting to observe, especially if you are into color theory.

The progression with the set is interesting too.

The first Mazer in the series (M1) was kind of an accident. It was made from a repurposed and slightly damaged piece of Desert Ironwood that came out of my SKB (sculptural knife Bowl) project.

It is very hard to find ironwood in this size, so I didn't want to scrap the piece. Instead I decided to have some fun with it as a side experiment. I didn't think much of the end result at first, and I didn't even properly photograph the piece until much later. It doesn't even have an official blog post. But after a time I realized there was more there, and so when the need for some additional wood experiments came up, I knew I had something worthwhile I could pursue.

Looking at the M1 in the context of the triptych, this first work seems almost rustic and kind of chunky. Functionally speaking, it is the most utilitarian piece. I think it is great starting point for representing how craft forms can diverge from utility over time.

I don't feel I need to say too much about the M2 as I just posted about it a few short weeks ago.

The piece is still very much a bowl shape. but the decorative elements go a long way to thwart utility in favor of more sculptural appeal.

I also remain proud of how well my first attempt at stabilizing my own piece of Maple Burl turned out.

The M3 is the final work in the series. It is quite shallow for a Mazer. One could barely call it a bowl form at all, but it looks amazing.

Running with the idea that many utilitarian crafts eventually abandon function in pursuit of decorative and craft concepts, the bare minimum interpretation of a what a bowl could be won the day.

I think they are all great successes and I love how they each have their own unique nature.

Dimensions are 6.5" Diameter by 1"deep

Side Notes: As I alluded to at the top, that this work exists at all is a perfect example of the way a good work ethic can smooth out the emotional roller coaster of making art. When I closed out my last post two weeks ago, I wasn’t really sure if I was going to pursue this piece (at least not anytime soon).

I have written before that even if a piece is a triumph, I can sometimes feel a little deflated at the end of a project. I can intellectualize that I have achieved something. However emotionally, it is a much more mixed sensation. Many artist need a little time and space between themselves and their works to fully appreciate them.

Mentally, I was a little reluctant to dive right back into a new work of the same concept. Fortunately my working impulses don’t really give me much room to procrastinate. I went back into the shop (after a good night's rest) still thinking I would just focus on some projects that I already have underway, when I just happened to walk past the stabilized Maple blank I had prepared for this piece. 

I glanced at it—then before I had time to think it was in my hand—next thing I knew, I was turning it in my lathe.

Almost mechanically, I had started the work whether I wanted to or not. Such is discipline.

My work-habits often save me from hitting a creative wall. Because I have been practicing for so long, muscle memory can easily take over for me when my mind needs a little time to catch up. In this case, it wasn’t long before I was fully reinvested in this piece and excited to see through to the end. 

I find that my actions often lead my feelings in this way. It is another reason why I make art. It gives me the chance to step back and watch how my own mind works.

It is a cliche at this point that artist make work in order to understand themselves, and in the context of this single work, it is a lot to put onto a little wooden bowl. But for me it is true, and this idea comes up again and again as I work.

I think it would be wrong not to talk about it when talking about my work, so thanks for hearing my little confessions from time to time.

Note for collectors:

Now that this trio is complete, I am entertaining the idea of offering the set up for collection.

I am going to keep this low key, as it is my hope that I can keep the three works together as a triptych. If that is too much to ask, I will be quite happy to keep these little beauties in my personal collection. But if there is any interest, please just drop me a note and we can discuss it.

And of course, as always, questions and comments are welcome.