Bamboo Art Vessel
These distinctive serving pieces are made from bamboo.
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Peter Gallagher of Seattle, Washington is a trained artist with a degree in painting and drawing. He made collages for years and later discovered bamboo. Peter is also a trained chef, and when he’s not in his studio, he is catering specialty outdoor events–using his bamboo trays and vessels, of course!
Materials and Tools:
timber bamboo poles
spice and charcoal water based color stain
skeletal bodhi leaves
Asian manuscript fragments
gold leaf paper
acrylic matte medium
food safe varnish
exterior deck bleach cleaner and water
1. Locate naturally occurring nodes on the bamboo pole, and use them as a guide to divide the pole into cylindrical sections with a chop saw (figure A) or a hand held Japanese bamboo saw.
2. Hold the cylindrical sections steady and cut down the center using a band saw (figure B). This will result in a pair of matched vessels.
3. Sand each bamboo vessel using a belt sander to level the ends and smooth the top edge (figure C).
4. Scrub each bamboo vessel using an exterior deck beach solution to clean off dust, any interior mold and pesticide residue on the outside skin.
5. Once the bamboo dries, select a color from the water based wood stains and stain the interior of the vessel using an acrylic brush. Additional coats of stain will be required depending on the depth of color desired. One of the two vessels shown was stained with a spice stain (figure D);
the other with charcoal (figure E).
6. Touch up the sanding, if necessary, on top of the bamboo vessel to sharpen the stain edges.
7. Seal and protect the top and ends of the vessel, as well as to expose the grain of the bamboo. Rub the wood stain on with a small cloth and wipe clean (figure F).
8. Collage elements, such as skeletal bodhi leaves or Asian papers are added to the stained interior. Brush on a thin layer of acrylic matte medium to secure collage elements in place (figure G).
9. Finish the bamboo vessel with a non-toxic food safe varnish. Rub a thin layer of varnish on the bamboo vessel interior, top and ends, using a small cloth. Too thick an application will result in varnish pooling in the center of the vessel. Complete with four coats of the food safe varnish (one coat every 24 hours) and let cure for four to seven days before using.
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