www.bobchapman.co.uk

The Big Bang

In a previous existence I worked as a scientist, and I have called this piece 'The Big Bang' because, as I worked on it, it seemed to resembles the picture I have in my mind's eye of the theoretical chaotic beginning of the universe known as the 'big bang', and the subsequent formation of the celestial bodies which are even now being hurled outwards into space in an ever expanding universe.

‘The Big Bang’ is made of 237 different pieces of wood, each turned to fit precisely in a hole drilled through the original block from which the platter was made. It is not marquetry - the different pieces go all the way through, and the reverse is a perfect mirror image of the front. As the various pieces were inserted the block had to be planed flat so that more holes could be drilled, overlapping the previous ones. Gradually the inserts built up and overlapped until none of the original block remained and the centre was composed entirely of these circles of wood in a multitude of different colours and textures representing the 47 different species I used. Once this stage was completed the finished block could be mounted on the lathe and made into a platter just like any other block of wood - except that the consequences of making an error would be the loss of nearly two years work.

During the making of 'Big Bang', I took frequent photographs and kept notes on which type of wood was where. I was then able to create a photograph of the finished piece in which all the individual components are numbered to identify the species of timber.

The table below is a part of the identification key which accompanies the photograph.

Number

Timber

 

Timber

Origin

Number

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

Sycamore

 

Acacia

W. Yorks, UK

12

2

Oak

 

African Blackwood

Africa

37

3

Ebony

 

Afromosia

Ivory coast

32

4

Zebrano

 

American Cherry

USA

21

5

Purpleheart

 

Apple

W. Yorks, UK

39

6

Laburnum

 

Ash

W. Yorks, UK

43

7

Cocobolo

 

Ash Burr

W. Yorks, UK

13

8

Hawthorn

 

Beech

W. Yorks, UK

33

9

Elm

 

Beech, Spalted

W. Yorks, UK

31

10

Kingwood

 

Birch Plywood

Scandinavia

15

11

Padauk

 

Box

Spain

35

12

Acacia

 

Brown Mallee

Australia

14

13

Ash Burr

 

Bubinga

Cameroon

17

14

Brown Mallee

 

Cedar of Lebanon

Lebanon/Asia

22

15

Birch Plywood

 

Cocobolo

Mexico

7

16

Mahogany

 

Ebony

Africa

3

17

Bubinga

 

Elm

W. Yorks, UK

9

  A copy of the photograph, together with the full identification  key and a stand for the platter are all included in the price of The Big Bang.

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