Wormwood Vase

Accession Number

Wormwood Vase

Dale Nish

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
wormy ash

4 1/2 x 4 x 4 in. (11.43 x 10.16 x 10.16 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Robert M. and Lillian Montalto Bohlen

Label copy
Dale Nish
Born 1932, Cardston, Alberta, Canada
Lives and work in Provo, Utah
Wormwood Vase
Wormy ash
Gift of Robert M. and Lillian Montalto Bohlen, 2002/2.172
Geoffrey Wilkes
Born 1951, Jacksonville, Florida
Lives and works in Gerrardstown, West Virginia
Gift of Robert M. and Lillian Montalto Bohlen, 2002/2.184
Starting in the 1980s, woodturners developed a number of working methods that deemphasized wood’s natural appearance. Dale Nish uses worm-eaten ash as his signature material. The worm holes take the place of woodgrain patterning, which Nish further reduces by sandblasting and bleaching his turned vessels.
Geoffrey Wilkes works around his wood’s deformities and natural formations while highly polishing other areas. The resulting contrast of smooth and rough on dark-colored manzanita wood simulates the look of polished stone.
(Out of the Ordinary, 2010)
One of the foremost woodturning masters, Dale Nish typically works with wormy ash to create his lightweight, classical forms. This type of wood is characterized by numerous tunnels eaten away by boring insects, resulting in a sort of “defect” in the wood.
In both of these works Nish exploits the wormy wood to its fullest potential. Light flows through the worm holes creating an intricate lace-like design evocative of the intentional piercing technique meticulously carved by other wood artists.
Nish elevates a material that would normally be considered damaged or unsightly and highlights the inherent beauty in its “defect.” Here he created a sculptural aesthetic in his work, bringing the inherent qualities of the medium—grain, color and interesting imperfections—to the forefront.
from the exhibition Nature Transformed: Wood Art from the Bohlen Collection, June 12 – October 3, 2004

Physical Description
small sandblasted wood vase displaying holes and trails eaten by worms

Primary Object Classification
Wood and Woodcarving

Primary Object Type

Collection Area
Modern and Contemporary

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vessels (containers)
wood (plant material)

& Author Notes

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