I begin the process of bowl design by drawing a detailed sketch template of my bowl, often using decorative elements – e.g. carpet pages – inspired by the Celtic Illuminated Gospels. In designing the vessel, I will generally compose its base and its decorative face as separate pieces that will later be fitted together.
Next, I construct the base by gluing wood segments together into rings and then the rings on top of one another.
I mount the base on a lathe chuck and turn it to the shape established in the design.
If the inside of the base is part of the bowl's decorative design, it is at this point that I begin carving it or gilding it with gold or silver leaf.
After that, I start on the decorative face, beginning in the center of the design and working outward, making sure to closely follow my sketch plan.
In creating the face's centerpiece, I sometimes bend thin wood laminations together to form a pattern, and then I fill in the gaps with crushed rock.
As I move outward, I add panels – often carved segments, Celtic illumination-style tiles, or fretwork – building up the areas defined by the design plan.
Once the decorative face is completed, I then turn it, sand it, and glue to the base.
Finally, I turn, sand, and finish the vessel as a whole.