Probably my most important work yet. It is the culmination of many years' efforts; from felling a tricky tree, to melting deadly arsenic, plans turned to custard at every stage!
I've never been good at letting go of control in my work, but this piece showed me the potential beauty in doing so.
It was the first of the eccentric series. The original idea was to inlay metal that spoke to the wood grain, in black and silver on black ash. The tree was torn by a wild wind and smashed the owner's garden. They asked me to help. I had to climb part way up with a chainsaw and was lucky to live when the whole thing collapsed as I jumped to safety.
Often, it sat on my desk and I just despaired. The last and longest time was for about three years; I'd made the crazily ambitious Mokume and already wrecked it several ways when I unwittingly splashed vinegar right into the middle. The following day I was pleased to see turquoise unfolding against the gold and knew I would finish it soon but realised a centre piece was missing.
I'd already asked my very lucky friend Joe to cast me a shibuichi ingot for an un related project (as my foundry was out of action at the time). He called to say it was done but had a problem and needed re doing. I popped over to see the ingot with its huge, one in a million, air bubble, right in the middle and instantly knew it would not be re melted. I hoped it would fit this work but couldn't be sure until I got it home and I spent the rest of evening enjoying the feel of it, smooth but textured, round but irregular. When I got home the following day and placed it at the centre of this work, an involuntary smile crept across my face and I finally sat back and enjoyed the work that had caused more stress than any other.