My eyes wander to a beautiful vase on my bookcase made from a burl of a red cedar tree. It was spun on a lathe; its knotty shape smoothed and polished. The base is round with a half-inch step that gently indents inward and then swiftly flares out, again, with a small hooded lip. The full line of the vase curves and flares smoothly upward and outward displaying the full globe of the structure, indenting inward at the top to form the small neck of the vase, and then extending outward to form a round lip at the top, similar to the circular base of the vase. There are several deep dark circular knots that nature strategically placed within the wood, as well as natural lines and features only God could create. The craftsman lovingly sanded and smoothed all of these rough knotty features, creating something made by a simple man who masterfully chose to cut the wood to display the full force of age and beauty hidden in this old burl. I think of the man who carefully and tenderly shaped this beguiling piece of wood for hours, patiently splaying a block of wood on his lathe with his many sharp-edged tools, until it became this magical vessel. I imagine him first drawing out the dimensions, and making a crude sketch. Then, his skill and knowledge and artistry take over, as he gets lost in the joy of making something so beautiful. My father made this vase. As I gaze on this object, I know I can never part with it. I will always look on it in wonder and amazement, appreciating the tree that bore the burl, and the craftsman who spun the vase.
© 2016, Rebecca Braun. All rights reserved.
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