Thin wall vessels I rarely make, but as I have mentioned before in my blog I am rather eclectic at best with how I work.
Recently I have returned to them as a form of release and meditation when I want time out. I do not turn them for the sole purpose of seeing how "thin" I can go, although this is the end result it is not the aim. The aim is to become lost in the "here and now" to the exclusion off all else other than the cut.
Wood turning is great for this and has many similarities to Aikido and Zen that I have studied but now do not have as much time to give to these disciplines due to being self employed with a young family, which I hasten to add is in no way a chore, just a reality. However Zen and woodturning are actually closely connected
When I started turning I did not see the depth and benefit of the process other than producing a nice item to show to my loved ones and for self indulgent praise, which we of course all naturally and rightly enjoy.
Over the years having studied Zen and through continued talks with my teacher I soon became to realise how they are similar in many aspects. As it is with any discipline or task that we take to a refined level of skill.
Speak to any top level sports person or formula one driver and they will tell you how important sports psychology is and the single focus of the mind within this.
Whether we call it Zen, "working in the here and now" or sports psychology and "The single focus" the two derived simply from different cultural visions of the same.
Often it is difficult for us in the west to grasp this unless we can understand it from a personal practical application, if not it is often discounted as a spiritual form of brain washing which we steer clear of. This is a great shame as our mind is the most powerful tool we have, as it can also be the most efficient adversary if not tamed.
Climb a three stage ladder or take the time when we discover in the depths of winter that the dark patch just before the bend we are approaching, is in fact black ice, and we can start to understand the focusing of the mind to the exclusion of all else.
From a personal perspective I try to work this way in all of the processes of my work, from the initial stages when I am out looking at mundane items to incorporate in a new piece, the turning of the main form, the hours of pyrography to the final stages of applying the finish.
As for me I am not convinced that I can produce the best work I can if I am not totally absorbed in its making through-out, or it would be for me be a simple process of repeat manufacturing.
One of my favourite books helping to explain this is Zen in the art of archery being an interesting book written by a western/German professor of phsycology that studied Japanese Archery, and shows that through single mindedness and repetition we can train the way in which we are able to repeat a process to a level of perfection. A powerful tool for sports people and makers such as turners, potters etc. But it is a book that must be read and practically applied to gain anything of the subject.
This piece I turned yesterday while the roast dinner was sitting in the oven ( which my wife was kindly cooking for me) is turned from Maple 125mm dia x 75mm high x .75 mm wall thickness.
It is sat on a piece of slate that I had under my work bench to add a simple contrast of material, colour and texture.