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Artist Turns Raw Chunks of Logs Into Vases With Polished Surfaces and Weathered Tree Bark


In his small and cozy Massachusetts workshop, nature enthusiast and expert craftsman Ray Asselin designs and constructs one-of-a-kind wooden vases. He creates each vase through methods of woodturning—a craft in which wood is cut and shaped using a lathe. With a deep appreciation for both nature and craftsmanship, Asselin creates pieces that exhibit everything wood has to offer, from its natural allure to its transformative and artistic capabilities.

Growing up in beautiful and verdant New England, Asselin has had a lifelong relationship with nature—in particular, with trees. “The natural world has always been a draw for me, and I feel rooted (pardon the pun) in the forests of my ‘home range,’” he explains on his website. “There is no other place for me that could be home. And so, I thoroughly enjoy exploring the woods and hills around me.” In his early twenties, Asselin’s love of the woodlands grew into a love of woodwork. after taking a class in woodturning, he discovered that he found “gradually converting a raw chunk of log into a finished piece” a naturally appealing and personally fulfilling process.

Since falling in love with the craft, Asselin has made his living as a woodturner—and remains dedicated to his passion. “While I don't consider myself an artist as much as an artisan, I do try to produce turned pieces with smooth, graceful curves that are proportionally pleasing,” he says. This aesthetic approach is particularly evident in his vases, which Asselin crafts from a wide range of woods, including Red Maple, American Elm, Australian Snakewood, and Oriental Bittersweet Vine. Often, a single vase creatively features both polished surfaces and the untouched grain of the wood. This juxtaposition is both visually striking and conceptually fascinating. By taking advantage of the wood’s raw beauty while also crafting it into a beautiful object, you undoubtedly get the best of both worlds.

Asselin's collection of vases and vessels vary in height, ranging from roughly six to eight inches, and offer a variety of silhouettes, including classic urns, cylinders, gourds, and more. You can find them—as well as beautiful bowls, sturdy keepsake boxes, unique lamps, and other decorative items—at Timberturner + Bowlwood, his small shop located in Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley. If you can’t make it to Pioneer Valley, you can also find his stunning wooded goods on Bowlwood, his shop’s gallery site, as well as Asselin's Etsy.

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Timberturner + Bowlwood: Website | Etsy 
via [Design You Trust]

All images via Timberturner + Bowlwood. 

Kelly Richman-Abdou

Kelly Richman-Abdou is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. An art historian living in Paris, Kelly was born and raised in San Francisco and holds a BA in Art History from the University of San Francisco and an MA in Art and Museum Studies from Georgetown University. When she’s not writing, you can find Kelly wandering around Paris, whether she’s leading a tour (as a guide, she has been interviewed by BBC World News America and France 24) or simply taking a stroll with her husband and two tiny daughters.
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