Mike McKinney Wood Turning: Crafting Natural Edge Bowls

Handcrafted Natural “Live” Edge Bowls by Mike McKinney

Have you ever marveled at the intricate beauty of natural edge wooden bowls, each with its unique grain patterns and shapes?

Wood turning, an ancient craft, transforms simple pieces of wood into stunning works of art. Among these, “natural edge” bowls stand out as a testament to the blend of the wood’s natural beauty and the craftsmanship of the wood worker.

Here at Mountain Made, we are proud to have on display the live edge work of local wood-turner Mike McKinney.

Creating a live edge bowl requires a blend of precision, skill, and an appreciation for the wood’s inherent qualities.

The process begins with selecting the right piece of wood, considering factors like species, grain, and any natural imperfections that can enhance the bowl’s character. During our visit to Mike’s home studio, he went to his wood pile and selected a chunk of log to split in half.

He then cuts down the half-log using one of his templates and mounted the wood on a lathe.
He then carefully shaped the exterior and then hollowed out the interior, all while maintaining the natural edge. This requires a deep understanding of how the wood behaves, as well as mastery over his various turning tools.

The finishing process is equally important, involving letting the bowl dry since it is still “green”. Mike often lets his bowls air-dry for 12 to 18 months.

Finally when dry enough he works on sanding, sealing, and sometimes staining the wood to protect it and highlight its natural patterns. The result is a stunning live edge bowl, each telling its own story through its unique textures and patterns.

What is Wood Turning?

The history of wood turning dates back thousands of years, evolving from a practical means to create necessary items to an expressive art form. Ancient Egyptians pioneered the use of a two-person lathe, one turning the wood with a rope while the other shaped it with sharp tools. This technique laid the foundation for modern wood turning, which has grown into both a hobby and a profession for many artisans around the world.

“Live edge” wood turning, in particular the style that Mike does, has gained immense popularity. This style preserves the natural edge of the wood, including its bark, knots, and irregularities, creating a piece that is as much a slice of nature as it is a functional object.

The allure of live edge bowls lies in the natural artistry of the wood’s raw, organic beauty, making each piece uniquely captivating.

To truly appreciate the beauty and craftsmanship of live edge bowls, seeing them in person is a must. We invite you to visit the Mountain Made art gallery, where you can witness our exquisite collection of these handcrafted pieces.

Every McKinney bowl is not just a piece of art; it’s a piece of history, skillfully shaped by the hands of a master woodturner. Come, explore the tactile and visual beauty of these unique creations, and perhaps find the perfect piece to add a touch of nature’s artistry to your home.

Whether you’re a wood collector, a lover of fine crafts, or just someone who appreciates the beauty of handcrafted art, Mountain Made is the destination for you.

We invite you to come visit us and experience the fusion of nature’s beauty and human craftsmanship in every unique piece. Your journey into the world of wood turning awaits here > Directions to Mountain Made, a downtown Asheville art gallery.

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