Friday, March 16, 2012

Black Ash Burl Bowl by Steven Lalioff

 "The Supplicant"

Feast Bowl
Black Ash Burl
Earth Pigment
Wood Smoke

"The Supplicant" faces the Manitou with his appeal, "Please, more." He knows to ask politely, with ceremony. He knows too well hunger. Despite all of his cleverness and labor he knows there are no guarantees. Perhaps there will be more... He takes nothing for granted. 

Manitou is the Algonquin word for spirit being. As can be found on early Native American bowls, the Manitou on this bowl is represented in the abstract by the raised area of the rim. A Manitou on the rim of a bowl is a simple metaphor to understand.

This bowl is not a reproduction of any known original, it represents my desire to create something unique based upon my study of elements found in historic Native American allegory.

The bowl and effigy are from one solid piece of ash burl. The interlocking grain of burl gives great strength to wood allowing a bowl to be made thin and the effigy delicate. This was not a simple carving, it required that I make tools to reach the areas around and under the legs as the curve of the bowl restricted my knife. The arm bands are pewter cast in place. The smooth surface was achieved by many hours of scraping. The color was achieved by long exposure to wood smoke.

D. 16.75" x H. 8.75"

Copy and photos supplied by Steven Lalioff.


  1. Great piece! I appreciate that you provided the dimensions on the scale of the work.
    I envy your ability at sharpening gouges.


  2. My best advice I can offer on sharpening; After the fine stone, strop your edge with pumice and then rotten soon as you feel like the edge is dulling to back to the strop.
    My best,

  3. Steve, thanks for the tip. I will try that. Alas I am still working on getting the edge angle right all the way across the curve.. I do well on the chisels. I am learning on the gouges.


  4. The Manitou has placed among us a a special one with the unique power to create astonishing beauty to amaze us. That one's name is Steve Lalioff.

  5. Heinz, I'm not sure I get the angle right all across the edge.Most of the gouges I use are 1/4" or less...these small edges are quite forgiving.

    John, that was a really nice thing to say...thank you!

  6. Steve,
    Please don't color/age this one by the fireplace and then get engrossed in a novella. This is quite a piece.

  7. I learned my lesson well! Thanks for the advice.
    Now I use a small wood stove with a 2' section of smoke stack that I insert into the bottom of a 55 gal steel drum. At the top of the drum I have a rack that my carvings can sit on. It never gets hotter than about 100f.

  8. Steven,
    What a great bowl. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge, your wit, your gift. Let's get together soon!
    Marty Thompson