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Luce Foundation Center for American Art

Craft: Wood: 96-4

Galen Carpenter
cristobal and chipboard
11 5/8 x 10 7/8 in. diam. (29.5 x 27.6 cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Fleur and Charles Bresler in honor of Kenneth R. Trapp, curator-in-charge of the Renwick Gallery (1995--2003)
"If you let Mother Nature determine the form, the bowl will be beautiful." Carpenter, quoted in Traditional Home Magazine, September 1993

Galen Carpenter believes that the natural grain of each piece of wood determines the final form of the vessel. But as a starting point, he holds a fan belt up to the sun and twists it into different shapes studying the shadows it throws on the floor. Once he sees a shape that he likes, he traces the outline on the floor with chalk and uses this as the initial form of his design. In this piece, Carpenter transformed inexpensive chipwood into a vessel that appears to have been made from exotic materials. Rippling lines of wood fibers flow around the surface of the vessel, emphasizing its rounded form and suggesting the gentle movement of water.

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