Many woods look wonderful with nothing more than just a wax or oil finish but sometimes the right combination of colours can create something even more unusual.
Colouring to enhance the figure
The turned wooden masur birch vases (hollow forms if you prefer!) shown here use the natural figuring in the wood to create a unique effect when coloured dyes are applied. Different combinations of colours are used on different vases and the final effect is breathtaking, with the figuring in the wood causing the colours to appear to change as the surface is viewed from different angles. The photos don’t really do justice to the feather like irridescence or chatoyance, the vases have to be seen in person to get the full effect!
Masur birch is not a specific wood species, it is a birch (Betula pendula) found mainly in Scandinavia, Russia and Belarus that has a distinct figure caused by the attack of the Agromyzia carbonaria beetle. The beetle larvae burrow into the cambium (the tissue between the sapwood and the bark) of the tree and the tree repairs the damage as it grows, thereby creating pith flecks and dark markings which results in a highly decorative figure. Masur birch is often referred to as Karelian birch burl, named for the Karelia area in Finland where trees with this type of figure are more prevalent.
The woodturning processes used to create the turned and coloured wooden vases often comprise a combination of colouring and texturing stages to achieve the final result. If you would like a particular combination of colours for a vase to match your decor, it could probably be arranged so feel free to enquire.