Pat Kramer Kou ‘Umeke (Sold)


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Pat Kramer Kou ‘Umeke 6.5″ x 6.25″

From the artist:

“Pat Kramer is a woodturner emphasizing bowls, boxes and hollow vessels. His pieces are exhibited in a number of galleries and range from traditional Hawaiian forms to contemporary studio work. He has a background in pottery, boat building, furniture making, constructed boxes, and engineering.

Pat has worked with wood since 1958, and returned to a passion for making bowls and vessels in 1986. The sculptural possibilities of woodturning have been his present focus with wood.

The truth is, while this is probably what you would expect to hear in an artist’s statement, the story, as often is the case for most of us, is a bit more involved.

When I was about 9 years old, I got my first job building architectural scale models. I couldn’t believe that these people were paying me money to do this. I learned a lot about topography, making little sponge trees and how to plant little surprises into a clients scale model.

I went on to apprentice (slave, gopher and maid) to a wood sculptor. It was a summertime job and I was 11. I apprenticed and in return got to enroll in other art classes for free. It was a good trade and led me to ceramics and sculpture in clay. I then apprenticed to a ceramic instructor and as well to a mold maker. Back then we had a guy who would come around every month or so and make molds for pouring ceramic pieces. He would take the pile of strange and eclectic artifacts that had collected for the month and make plaster molds of them. They could then be reproduced by pouring clay slip into them. This was another fun job and it eventually led to teaching ceramics to younger kids (I was 13 by then). It was another trade for art classes.

Working with wood was accelerated by my uncle, who had a passion for marquetry. It was fascinating stuff, and an introduction to the fantastic woods that were out in the world.

By the time I entered high school, I was apprenticing to a boat builder. This man didn’t say much…. ever. He had exceptional skill in his craft and I pretty much had to pay attention and keep redoing things to learn from him. One day he came to me and, while plopping a set of plans in my hands, said, “Build this”. That’s pretty much all he said. I looked at the plans and thought, “how bad could it be”, building a 27-foot sloop, I mean. I was in way over my head. I was also at that age with too much time and enthusiasm to know better. I did learn a lot from that experience and remained pretty much penniless throughout the build. I think there is really something wrong with a teenager saving up for silicon bronze boat nails.

Furniture making came next and, like so many other people, I discovered that there is never enough room, tooling, or time to make furniture. I needed something that could be finished in my lifetime. Boxes were the ticket. I loved wooden containers, all kinds of containers. Jewelry boxes were fun and kept evolving into organic shapes. But after a few hundred dovetails and a thousand containers later, the need for precision joints and precise angles was gone. I pursued woodturning as a way to do containers that were more about the shape than the method of fabrication. I still do a lot of containers, and these days focus more on the shape and feel of the piece rather than the functionality. The quality of work is very important to me so technique is always a factor.”

From the artist:

Umeke or Umeke Kai would be an general reference to all containers gourd or wood, although it is generally accepted these days to be thought of presently as a wooden vessel.

Wood Types Used For Ancient Bowls

The woods that were most commonly used, during the ancient period, for bowls and platters were kou (Cordia Subcordata), milo (Thespesia Populnea), wiliwili (Erythrina Sandwicensis), and hau (Hibiscus Tiliaceus). Wooden bowls (‘umeke la`au) and platters, as well as containers for fishing apparatus and for the storage of precious articles pertaining to the worship of the gods, were hollowed and carved from these woods.

Kou was the wood most widely used for vessels, both large and small; milo was the second choice. Both of these woods were easier to work than the harder woods, and did not warp or crack as easily. Kou and milo were not eaten by wood-boring insects. At one time large groves of kou were present in the islands. Sometime in the early 1760’s a red mite infestation took the species to near extinction. The kou that we presently know are a mutation from the original species and do not grow as large or have timber that is quite as dense.

The size listed in the actual size; size on the additional information tab includes information when packed for shipping.

Pat Kramer Kou ‘Umeke 6.5″ x 6.25″

Pat Kramer

Pat Kramer

Additional information

Weight 9 lbs
Dimensions 12 × 12 × 12 in

Honolulu, Hawaii (808) 596-0074