Home Photo Galleries Biography Links Contact

Sculptures and Other Pieces

Trefoil Knot #1

10" across x 10" tall

Trefoil Knot #2

7" across x 10" tall


In topology, a branch of mathematics, the trefoil knot is the simplest example of a nontrivial knot. The trefoil can be obtained by joining together the two loose ends of a common overhand knot, resulting in a knotted loop. As the simplest knot, the trefoil is fundamental to the study of mathematical knot theory, which has diverse applications in topology, geometry, physics, and chemistry

The trefoil has been a common element in icons and works of art throughout recorded history.  For more information about trefoil knots see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trefoil_knot

These knots are both made from the same model.   Trefoil Knot #1 is unique in that every leg meets the adjacent leg at exactly 45 degrees.  Trefoil Knot #2 is exactly the same, except that the legs don't meet at a point.  Instead they meet in a curve, and the knot is mounted on a stand.   Both are made from staved tubes (8 staves per tube), that I then cut into rings and assembled into the tubes used to make the pieces.

Bent Nail Puzzle

Maple and walnut
10" across

While working on my trefoil pieces, I got to thinking about other ways to use staved tubes. One way is to make one of those bent wire puzzles. You know, the ones that used to frustrate us as kids? OK, maybe you could do them, but they always frustrated me.   There are lots of different puzzle designs, but I started with a pretty simple one, and might make more.

In this case, the tubes are 8 segments...7 maple, one walnut, 1" dia. The hardest part, was getting the walnut feature to twist, while at the same time making the curves of the tubes. It was a lot of fun to make, and even more fun to play with. Several coats of shellac sanding sealer, then paste wax. Two pictures...to show it both together, and taken apart.

Ribbon #1

Ribbon #2

Ribbon sculptures flow in a way that is appealing to the eye.   They are made from bottomless bowls or funnels, that are then cut apart and rearranged.   Ribbon #1 is walnut, about 6" across and made from two funnels.   Ribbon #2 is ambrosia  maple and cherry, about 24" long and 12" tall and made from three funnels.  

Strength Through Unity

This is an example of Borromean rings.   They are unique, in that if any one ring is removed, the other two can separate.   All three taken together are truly and permanently linked.    

This linked feature of the rings has been used over many centuries and throughout many cultures as a symbol of inter-connectedness or of strength through unity…hence the title of this piece.   In addition, the societal symbolism goes beyond mere inter-connectedness.  If we imagine the rings to be made of some flexible material, which is then squeezed tight, the resulting arrangement is a case where the links must balance their elastic forces against their contact forces.  In this piece, I have done just that…partially squeezed the rings.   Each ring is made from a different wood…walnut, maple and cherry that show how three elements, separate and distinct, can come together and achieve unity.   

This piece was selected for Photo of the Week in March 2011, by Segmented Woodturners

 2,592 pieces of wood, with 864 per ring.  Tubes are 2-1/4” in dia.   Each ring is about 17” long and 12” across.


Website content and photos © by Dick Sowa