Ronald E. Kent | Translucent Wood Bowl
Ronald E. Kent

born 1931
Resides in Honolulu, Hawaii

Biography              Statement              Ask the Artist
Ron Kent runs his own investment company in Hawaii, and turns bowls as a sideline. He began woodworking quite by chance.
VIDEO (2.0 MB) || AUDIO (RA:13)
His work is in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Louvre (Musée des Arts Decoratif), the Bishop Museum of the Honolulu Academy of Arts, and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.

He has presented his works to the Pope-- and to three Presidents and two Supreme Court Justices, as well as Emperor Akihito, of Japan.


Statement

For Ron Kent, the danger of coming close to the edge--courting disaster--is part and parcel of his art:

AUDIO (RA:13)

He adds these thoughts about the process of making bowls:

"The overwhelming first concern in all of my work is aesthetic. My challenge with each new log is first to uncover the natural beauty of the wood. then I seek the most appealing silhouette that best interacts with grain, knots and coloration.

"Of course, I constantly explore NEW profiles and formats, but always with the conviction that 'originality' and technical virtuousity are important only if and as they enhance the natural beauty of the wood."


Ask the Artist

Where do you get the ideas for your work?

Self-generated, but suggested continuously by everything around me.

Do you work alone on your craft, or with others?

Alone. With my wife's occasional assistance in finishing.

Do you ever teach, or take on apprentices?

Pleased to demonstrate and teach by example. Make no secret of fact that my attitudes are probably more valuable than my techniques.

What's the most exciting part of creating your works?

The next-to-last phase, when I see actual 3-dimensional evidence that my original conception was a good one. (The last phase...finishing...is almost anticlimactic.)

What's the most difficult part of creating your works?

1. Discarding the not-quite-right pieces.
2. Waiting (during inescapable drying & glue setting periods.)

VIDEO (1.1 MB) || AUDIO (RA:23)

How long does it generally take you to make a bowl?

Quicktime

What sort of technology do you use in your work? Has the technology of your craft changed dramatically over the past 100 years?

1) Electric power (rather than steam, horse, or human muscle.)
2) High speed steel for even hand tools.

Do you have any advice for somebody just starting out?

1) Be willing to experiment and make mistakes.
2) Learn from your mistakes.
3) Spend less time watching and talking to others; work!

Can you share a "secret of the trade" with us--something nobody else knows or that you found out only after years of experience? Put another way--what do you wish somebody had told you when you were just starting out that might have saved you hours of wasted effort?

I have no secrets - I continuously share openly my knowledge and experience - and I have never wanted to know how other people do things. My excitement and satisfaction come from seeing challenges and figuring out how to solve them.

What are we missing by experiencing your work through the Internet and not seeing/hearing/feeling/smelling/touching it in person?

There are indeed sensory satisfactions that cannot be conveyed by any "virtual reality," perhaps tactile primary among them.


John Jordan Ellen Kochansky