Maker of the Week - Souphom Manikhong - News
Monday 30 April 2012
Born in Laos Souphom believes that his enthusiasm for woodworking was greatly influenced by the fact that he grew up surrounded by mountains inhabited by various species of trees. In 1979 he came to the United States to study his passion woodworking and in 1986, after becoming a citizen, he started own studio/workshop with brothers making boxes, furniture, gift items and little toys.
After visiting Laos in 1990, and rediscovering the exotic woods of his homeland, Souphom found his work to be inspired by nature, the shape and form that he finds in trees, flowers, water, wind and fire, rather than the conventional. Naturally fallen timber is used to create different forms of artwork from trunks, crotches, roots and burls.
Most of his flower vases are shaped from the roots of trees which have been on the jungle floor for an extended number of years and follow the natural flow of the wood. Woodworking is important to him and he strives to create something extraordinary. His work is shown at various galleries and museums in the USA.
His pieces are hand carved, some turned on the lathe as well, using the rare and exotic varieties of ebony, rosewood, amboyna and afzelia of Laos. The essence of the wood, both colour and texture, is brought out in the lustrous finish which is created by applying several coats of polyurethane oil or tung oil and waxing and buffing by hand.
Images, from top to bottom:
1. 'Buttercup,' hand sculpted afzelia burl, 430 x 660 x 535mm (17 x 26 x 21in)
2. 'Black and White Flower,' black and white ebony, 560mm x 785 x 660mm (22 x 31 x 26in)
3. 'Ebony Flower,' mun ebony, 585 x 660 x 585mm (23 x 26 x 23in)
4. 'Campfire,' hand sculpted rengas wood, 510 x 510 x 405mm (20 x 20 x 16in)
5. 'Twilight,' hand carved rosewood root, 460 x 660 x 560mm (18 x 26 x 22in)
6. 'Golden Purse,' hand sculpted two-tone afzelia, 484 x 560 x 305mm (19 x 22 x 12in)
7. 'Wind and Fire,' hand carved rosewood, 735 x 915 x 890mm (29 x 36 x 35in) (PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF SOUPHOM MANIKHONG)