These peculiar vessels may look like artifacts of an alien civilization, but they’re actually the result of environmentally friendly woodworking. Artist Eleanor Lakelin creates these sculptural bowls and vessels from dead and decommissioned wood locally felled in the British Isles. Lakelin’s elegant and textured artworks are handcrafted using a lathe and carving tools.
Lakelin recently displayed her work at Decorex, the UK’s premier luxury design and interior show held annually at London Design Week. As part of her commitment to ethical and sustainable design, Lakelin works exclusively with locally sourced wood that have reached the end of their natural lifespan, with some pieces so old that they’ve been carbon-dated back to the last Ice Age. Though the old and sometimes decayed wood can be difficult to work with, the London-based wood-turner embraces those challenging features as part of the wood’s backstory as she whittles and sculpts the wood into its new form.
Lakelin works with all kinds of timber, from horse chestnut to bog oak. Her traditional craftsmanship skills allow her to bring out the wood’s natural patterns, while her modern techniques, such as sandblasting and scorching, help her build up layers of texture and create unusual shapes. “I am particularly interested in the way natural elements and processes layer and color wood and how the passage of time is etched into the fibers of the material,” says Lakelin. “I use the vessel form and surface pattern to explore the layers and fissures between creation and decay, the erosion of nature and our relationship to the Earth.”
Photos by Liz Eve for Inhabitat