Humans, according to archaeological records, have used bowls both functionally and in ceremony for thousands of years. At the beginning of the age of tools, a human pulled a palm frond down and used it to carry objects ... the bowl was born.

Bowls became so much an indispensable part of life that they became revered as sacred and ceremony objects and also treasured as display forms. The bowl transcends all cultures, all races ... all countries.

I love making large bowl forms with sweeping overhangs and tiny bases. I imagine the form swooping between lows and highs like a bird free on the edge of the wind ... or the great ocean swells rising up over the shallows. Some of my display bowls are functional although most are not. I like to sometimes incorporate holes and large cut-outs ... letting the curvaceous form fly to wherever it wishes.

The process for me is holistic. The final form is very much the culmination of a blend of shape and the characteristics of the material. When working with wood, the finished form is influenced by the lay of grain lines and any natural features ... all of these augment my sculptural process ... and, more often than not, my creative vision serves only as a starting point from where intuitive process takes over. The form is constantly re-defined along the way as new features of the material become unlocked and exposed.

Large bowl form in Acacia Cedar by Bob Gilmour

The evolution of a large beautiful bowl form can take years from the initial shaping through to final finishing. There is a long material drying period in the middle and generally the final process doesn't begin until some intuitive calling signals that the time is ready. At the same time, some works in progress will never see completion.

Large bowl forms which do complete the journey are special ... spectacular in form and often just at the right time to receive their rightful owner. I believe that most, if not all, of my significant works already have some person's name on them long before they're liberated from the background material and that I am the chosen messenger to deliver the joy of beauty ...