John Keeton Critique

First, this is a beautiful piece of wood, and the contrast of the ebony and the Ambrosia maple adds interest.  My personal favorite compliment to Ambrosia is walnut as it ages to a tone very similar to the dark Ambrosia stain.  However, the ebony works very well.

Without being physically able to hold the piece, evaluating the surface preparation and the final finish is difficult.  However, you seem to have achieved a very nice satin finish on this piece.  The submitted photographs do have some raking light and I see no evidence of bruising, tool marks, or sanding patterns.

The overall proportions of the main form are excellent.  The curvature of the vase is smooth, without apparent flat spots, and it creates a pleasing flow upward to the shoulder and returning toward the collar.  However, that flow is somewhat interrupted by the intersection with the ogee curve created by the ebony collar.  I find it very difficult to combine three different curvatures and retain flow.

The abrupt intersection of the form against the mass of the dark ebony collar seems to draw one's eye immediately to the top of the form.  As a result, the collar becomes the focal point, instead of a complimentary embellishment.  This beautiful piece of Ambrosia deserves the initial attention of the viewer, with the upward flow of the form eventually taking the eye to the collar.  The beadwork is well done.  The rolled edge of the collar rim might look better with a corresponding "tuck" at the base of the vase form.  However, I do not particularly care for the exaggerated "tuck" often seen on forms, and would prefer simply to have a bit more hard line at the rim of the collar.

I have taken the liberty of modifying the left portion of a profile view to illustrate a possible option.  Reducing the height of the collar, and providing a less abrupt intersection between the collar and form, with a simple reversing of the shoulder curvature seems to resolve the only distractions I find with this piece.

All elements of this piece are very well executed, and the result is a beautiful vase form.  The rich Ambrosia colors of this piece demand the attention of the viewer, and while I really like a well done finial, I think in this instance, it might detract from the beauty of the wood and form.

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