Hemlock Canyons

Accession Number

Hemlock Canyons

Mike Irolla

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support

25 x 16 x 16 in. (63.5 x 40.64 x 40.64 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Robert M. and Lillian Montalto Bohlen

Label copy
Mike Irolla
Born 1974, Irvington, New York
Lives and works in Marquette, Michigan
Hemlock Canyons
Gift of Robert M. and Lillian Montalto Bohlen, 2002/2.147

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 (see object 2002/2.145), which was created as a response to Hoyer’s painful divorce from his wife and her subsequent death.

Mike Irolla 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
Michigan artist Mike Irolla, like the other woodturners whose work is displayed here, is representative of a new movement in American woodturning. These artists have developed a stunning mastery of lathe work and especially creative and expressive approaches to the medium of wood. Irolla is especially interested in exploiting the aesthetic qualities of the wood itself. While many other woodturners remove the bark as one of their very first steps, Irolla makes the bark the centerpiece of his work. Using fire as a finishing element to texture and color the surface, he allows the residual bark to suggest the natural formations of rock cliffs or the canyons referred to in the title.

Subject matter
The textural and esthetic qualities of burned wood and bark. Use of the organic form of wood to suggest natural formations of rock.

Physical Description
Large, turned wood vessel. Fire has been used to color and texture the surface. Bark has been left on to provide texture. The mouth of the vessel is jagged.
large burnt wood vessel with bark marking the top irregular edge

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 http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
bark (plant material)
texture (physical attribute)
vessels (containers)
wood (plant material)

& Author Notes

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