Swan Song (2021), 6” x 6” x 5.75”, basswood, compressed cherry, Brazilian rosewood.

Swan Song is about negative space. (See my article on negative space in the 2018 American Woodturner – link is on my Résumé page under Selected Publications).

Negative space can bring lightness and delicacy to a sculpture, and can also imply movement. Frank Cummings III created pierced vessels evoking childhood memories of carousels, with undulating rim waveforms reflecting the rhythms and his love of music. Rotating Frank’s vessels had an optical effect. Arthur Jones also used movement in his Black Hole series, where light passing between numerous close-spaced wooden rays flickered as one walked around the sculpture. David Belser has also examined this phenomenon.


Frank Cummings III, Splendid Lady (1997)


Arthur Jones, Night Star VII (2003)

Swan Song is my own exploration of negative space and movement. It was made for the 2022 annual invited exhibition of the American Association of Woodturners, whose theme was The Space Between. It indeed gives a stroboscopic effect as it is rotated or as one walks around it. This can be seen in this video (click here)  which also shows the construction of the sculpture. Make sure your computer sound is on and that your device is full screen. Set to music (Swan Lake, of course).

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