Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cypress Wood and the Louisiana Bayou

Our last day before leaving Betty's RV in Abbeville, she took the group out to see the Woodman, or Gerald Judice.  He is known around the area for his artistic work with cypress wood.  Although it is now illegal to cut cypress wood in the bayou, you can go scavage all the cypress driftwood you can pick up.  He spends several weeks each year gathering driftwood.  The driftwood is leftover from the logging industry which has not been active for many years.  Once Gerald gathers the wood, it takes about 2 years for it to dry before he can work with it.   
Whenever people come and visit (he also sells some of his driftwood too), Gerald usually puts on a demonstration of how he makes a bowl.  Starting with a square piece of cypress, he puts it on his lathe.

Using the lather and hand tools, he whittles it down and shapes it to his desire.

When he is done, he sands it before removing it from the lathe.
Gerald also gives the bowl to someone in the crowd.  Guess who got the bowl this day?  Yeah, you got it, ME!

He even signed it.   Since getting home, I have put a sealer on it and now I have a beautiful bowl which he would sell at one of his shows for $15.

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