Three Gold Rings, from Ringed Series

Accession Number

Three Gold Rings, from Ringed Series

Todd Hoyer

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
eucalyptus, imitation gold leaf

11 7/16 x 7 1/2 x 7 1/2 in. (29 x 19 x 19 cm);11 7/16 x 7 1/2 x 7 1/2 in. (29 x 19 x 19 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Robert M. and Lillian Montalto Bohlen

Label copy
Todd Hoyer
Born 1952, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
Lives and works in Bisbee, Arizona
Three Gold Rings, from Ringed series
Eucalyptus, imitation gold leaf
Gift of Robert M. and Lillian Montalto Bohlen, 2002/2.145

Some contemporary woodturners have experimented with fire as a finishing process, in place of refining techniques like sanding and staining. Fire was both artistic and symbolic in Todd Hoyer’s Ringed series, which was created as a response to Hoyer’s painful divorce from his wife and her subsequent death.

Mike Irolla (see object 2002/2.147) turns whole logs in order to retain the natural edges of the wood. Fire then becomes the finishing element for his work, leaving a charred black surface in place of paint.

(Out of the Ordinary, 2010)
March 28, 2009
Todd Hoyer’s unusual vessel of eucalyptus tells a personal story of loss and enduring human bonds. It is part of his Ringed Series, the theme of which is bindings and connections. Three Gold Rings was created after a painful separation from and the subsequent death of Hoyer’s wife, which left him a single parent of a six-year-old. Hoyer says: “the two rings on the upper portion represent myself and my daughter, still linked together. The single loose ring at the bottom represents my wife, broken from the chain. The burnt and charred surface is the background for that emotional time.”
Hoyer employs a variety of techniques, such as carving, weathering, burning, or splitting wood to communicate different meanings: burnt surfaces often reflect the blackness of the void and the hollowness within; carving and surface texturing can suggest beauty or the scarring that comes with age; splitting the wood reveals the flow of the grain and indicates the tree’s growth.

Subject matter
A turned wood vessel that addresses relationships and time--togetherness, loss, and death. The loose ring of gold represents the artist's wife, from whom the artist separated before her death. The two overlapping rings represent the artist and his daughter.

Physical Description
A bulbous vessel with narrow mouth and base. The wood is burned and cracked and circled by three gold bands, two of which overlap.
burnt wood vessel with gold

Primary Object Classification
Wood and Woodcarving

Primary Object Type

Collection Area
Modern and Contemporary

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
families (kinship groups)
vessels (containers)
wood (plant material)

32 Related Resources

Sketches of Self
(Part of: Sight & Sound: A New Way to Experience UMMA's 'Collection Ensemble')
Lesson Plan: The Science of Seeing Art
(Part of: Lesson Plans)
(Part of 5 Learning Collections)
Docent Materials for Teaching: Toolbox
(Part of: Docent Information From Training Continuing Education Sessions)
Come See About Me
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)
Meaning Making
(Part of: Patient Experience)
Acting on Art - artistic processes / copying, erasing, assembling, breaking
(Part of: F20 Gear - HISTART 194 - Acting on Art in Renaissance Italy)
Life and Death - Deep Dive with Todd Hoyer
(Part of: F20 Askew - ANTHRCUL 222 - Comparative Study of Cultures)
Narrative Objects
(Part of: F20 McLaughlin - ENGLISH 325 - Art of the Essay)
W21 Mueggler - ANTHRCUL 337 - Death, Dying, Afterlife
(Part of: Resources Made by Isabel Engel)

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved