This was the second piece produced in the 'Saturation Series'. The wood was sourced from a beech tree on the ridgeway in Goring at the nature reserve Pete manages. Due to a fork in the tree developing decay it had been cause for concern and needed to be cut down. The crowns from both side of the fork were felled leaving a decent sized pole of deadwood to benefit the habitat. When beech wood, in particular, is left on the ground to season out in the elements it naturally starts to develop obvious mycological activity, the intricate line patterns seen covering the form are the result of competing fungal hyphae coursing through the timber and laying down boundaries to defend the territory they occupy. Xylaria polymorpha and Trametes versicolor are active within this timber and as they consume the nutrients within the wood they bleach the wood in their wake.
The longer a piece is allowed to spalt the more complex the patterning becomes and the more bleached zones appear, if the wood is left too long it becomes unworkable as the lignin within the timber begins to decay. If you read the wood just right and catch it at the right time the natural intricacies of the material are beyond expectation and no two pieces will ever be the same. The spirit stain used to colour the timber soaks deeply into the bleached zones, when sanded back the natural tones of the wood are brought to the front creating contrast, accentuated by the melanistic plates.
This piece is the series was a joy to make, though not without its challenges, some areas of timber were softer than others and when sanding it produced and undulating surface with subtle depressions, the bleached zones near the rim contrasted the darker wood near the base, reminiscent of light penetrating through water, I added the decorative band using iridescent paints to embrace the aesthetic and give the impression of sunlight dancing on the surface. The piece was finished with a polymerising oil and then buffed using a home made beeswax paste.