Much of the enjoyment of what I do comes from combining traditional turning techniques that date back hundreds of years with the challenge of producing unique, engaging and beautiful contemporary designs. I utilize an ornamental lathe that is more than 180 years old with only a few updates to the cutters and lathe spindle drive (although there are still times I prefer to treadle or hand operate it instead). For additional capabilities, I also use a rosette lathe, a method of turning that dates back more than 500 years. Together, the possibilities are endless! My fascination with merging the organic and the industrial, the natural and the machine-made feeds my passion for woodturning.
From day one, the wood I use has come from second-hand or recycled sources—a product of the urban forest we live in, salvaged from tree trimmers, and saved from the wood chipper, fireplace or landfill. Since the materials for successful ornamental turning require dense, tight-grained timber usually not found locally, I seek out sources of offcuts or rejects from instrument and furniture makers. I'm always exploring more conscious and sustainable options for my materials. Efforts are made to ensure that any purchased wood is from sustainable, environmentally managed sources. Every scrap of material, no matter how small, is saved for use in future projects. Scraps are not burned and shavings are recycled into my community's green waste program.
It's kind of like the right dress on the right person at the right time.
This is stunning work, quite extraordinary to look into, the rippled edge, the pattern inside and outside, it all just sings.
The craft requires aesthetic, spatial and mechanical chops, firing in concert.
The small, delicate wood bowls give evidence to his industrious hand through smooth, seamless scoops of air carved into patterns of harmonious balance.
Carving complex designs in very small pieces of wood requires the utmost patience and skill, something Salesin has in spades! The result is wood turning at its best – intricately crafted vessels to be admired, touched, examined, and coveted.
Salesin easily has the most individual pieces on display, several dozen at least. The patterns in the cups and bowls are so hypnotizing, you may lose the sense you're looking at wood.
His pattern bowls, which contain radiating textures, use the strategy of reflecting light to a dazzling, otherwordly effect.
It adds to the mystery of the piece—a tiny cup, the repetitive mathematical pattern incised precisely within its concavity, with a hint of color being continually released from within the density of black.
Josh Salesin is a master of ornamental turning whom I met through the Center's exhibition Rose-Engines and Kings: Contemporary Ornamental Turning. His forms, often in African blackwood, are distinctive and unique.