Stuart King (UK) masur birch box with poem and St Paul's cathedral wood bell 12x6cm. Signed
A challenge and a tribute, to complete a partially completed small vessel/box. One of many that Ray was not long enough on earth to finish was certainly a challenge. My small half turned masur birch blank duly arrived, exhibiting a gently curved exterior line and a solid, unturned interior, this just had to be completed to form a small lidded box.
The remit was to retain the essence of Ray’s work whilst imparting one’s own style to the piece, an unusual posthumous collaboration to say the least. You will see that I decided to create a lidded box with an ebony finial, nothing outrageous but a contrasting feature to provide an interesting elevation. I also wanted to include something a little ostentatious that would slightly push the boundary of pure form that Ray was so noted for. Whilst working at the lathe I could imagine Ray’s presence looking over my shoulder and so I decided to include a gilded ebony paterae on the inside of the lid, just out of view, but a surprise revealed if the lid was lifted.
I do not like empty boxes, so to this end I have printed a miniature of my “ode to Ray” to be placed within the box, accompanied by a miniature bell turned from St Paul’s heritage wood removed from the cathedral in 2018.
Ode to Ray; Stuart King
A master in turning was my friend Ray
Whose life revolved around wood until his dying day
A true craftsman at heart, a proud man was he
With a reverence for his lifeblood, Gods humble tree
Ash bowls for the table, platters for our daily bread
Good honest treen, that’s what woodturner Ray said
Whilst handling some work so beautifully turned
Created for those whom plastic they’d spurned
From hedgerow and woodland Ray sought out the best
Ripple grain and olive heart were all put to the test
Revealing the inner beauty that nature endowed
To the tree that grew slowly beneath England’s warm cloud
Although Ray has gone his work erelong endures
And continues to provide pleasure, his legacy assured
The woodturning nymphs will be sofly sighing
Because his workshop is silent, no more shavings are flying
The Ray Key Collaboration Auction