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Shannon Bokman Art Blog

My Purple Heart

by ShannonBokman , March 15, 2008—07:51 PM

Topics: Purple heart, books, wood

I keep having to tell people that I did not tint or dye or stain this book; they remain convinced I am fibbing.

Purple heart wood. Remarkable stuff. It comes out of the tree this color. Or rather, a lighter shade of purple. I have to apply heat to darken the purple. But no stain. Just heat. There is also a wood called yellow heart. It's yellow. Very yellow. No dye, tint, or stain involved.

My forays into wooden books have yielded interesting results. I love so many different varieties of wood now, from lacewood (too hard to carve), to bubinga, which is pink and red and light orange, like candy. There is the purple and yellow hearts, and white curly oak (so pretty!), and zebra guessed it, striped like a zebra. And they are usually this beautiful because the tree was diseased. Yes, diseased! That is where curls, eyes, knots, etc. all come from. Very intriguing!

I have also found what the difference between hard and soft wood is. I know, seems self-explanatory, but I never knew there was a "hardness" to wood. I mean, they can build houses out of it, right? And power tools galore? But when you're hand carving and gouging, hardness does matter. I will not, for instance, carve into purple heart. It's impossible to make it clean and straight and good looking. It just refuses to cooperate. Mahogany works splendidly, however. I will have to experiment further to find others.

I would love to have a purple heart furniture set now. So brilliant!!




  Mary ( homepage )

03/17/2008 * 11:45:54

I have seen purple heart in artisan wood pieces, boxes, bowls, tabletops, chess boards and things like that but I don't ever remember seeing it use for books. It is beautiful indeed and I'll bet there are a few people on this site that could give you a lot of hints on how to handle it best (or easier). Anyone?

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