Lava Inspired Hollow Form with Hand Threaded Finial

Courtesy of G Brad Lewis/Aurora/Getty Images

Lava ‘Eruption’ Inspiration

This lava inspired hollow form is dedicated to my wonderful Step-Daughter, Hannah, for graduating this week from Bristol University with her second degree, Master of Science in Vulcanology.

Vulca-what?? I hear you cry.  Vulcanology: the study of volcanoes.


Well done Hannah!

Hollow Form Inspired By Lava

The base of the vessel was turned from spalted Sycamore.   The blank came from stock I harvested in 2014.  The piece is styled in a slightly Japanese fashion, introduced to me by Mark Sanger during a two-day workshop in the summer of 2016.  I will be offering a review of the session (somewhat late) in a future post.

The finial is turned from a piece of ash, chosen for its prominent grain pattern, which I hoped would enhance the ‘flame’ aspect of the piece.  I am aware that the finial isn’t quite as elegant as might be expected, but there was madness in my method.  I wanted a little more wood towards the tip in order to carry the colour up and continue the feel of ‘explosive lava’.  I was also considerate of the fact that Hannah, though incredibly brilliant in achieving, is horrendously clumsy and would likely break anything finer!  In my mind I carved the tip of the finial into a ‘flame pattern’.  In reality, I felt an attempt to carve would ruin the piece!

Lava Hollow Form with Threaded Finial

Joining the two parts together is a hand threaded boxwood plug, used since neither sycamore or ash can be hand chased.  This is a method I have used previously.  Though this paired plug was turned specifically for this piece, I have previously turned a number of matched pairs and saved them for future projects.

I turned a couple of similar shaped pieces in the ‘run up’ to this one in order to fine tune the shape I wanted.  The very first one I turned, with Mark Sanger, was used as a canvass for different texturing techniques.

A practice piece before the final Lava Form. Interesting warping!

Texture Exercise, With Mark Sanger

2 thoughts on “Lava Inspired Hollow Form with Hand Threaded Finial

  1. Yuval Lahav

    Man, that is simply a beautiful piece, and even if you didn’t carve the top like a flame, you still get the flame feel from the gradient of the colors. Well done my friend. Now that I’ve been reading what you wrote about Hannah, I remember us sitting in a bar heaving an “english breakfast”, and you telling me about Hannah, and her clumsiness… 🙂


    • Tom Stratton Post author

      If I recall we failed you for breakfast Yuval – No full English as we ran out of time!

      Thanks for the feedback. I certainly put a lot of effort into this for Hannah. That’s not to say that I don’t put effort into most of my pieces!



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