Oliver Chalk

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Art Craft Design

Supple Patterns Illuminate Bold Volumes in Oliver Chalk’s Sophisticated Wooden Vessels

May 16, 2023

Kate Mothes

A carved wooden vessel.

Detail of a vessel from the ‘Pathways’ series. All images © Oliver Chalk, shared with permission

Hewn from solid hunks of found timber, Oliver Chalk’s vessels (previously) embrace the natural grain and gradients of different types of wood to reveal voluminous functional sculptures. Using remnants of fallen trees like ash, cypress, maple, and cherry, Chalk hand-carves bold ribs and lines redolent of contours on topographic maps. He takes cues from the distinctive characteristics of each piece of wood, responding to the specimen’s unique texture, hardness, hue, and innate patterns. Maple burl, for example, which is a growth in the tree’s bark that creates dense, swirling, eye-like motifs, led to an elegant piece peppered with small holes and knots.

Chalk’s work is included in the group exhibition Earth Materials at Gallery 57 in Arundel, West Sussex, through June 10 and Spring Collection ’23 at The Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden in Ockley, Surrey. Find more on his website and on Instagram.


A carved wooden vessel.

Detail of a vessel from the ‘Earth Materials’ series

Nine images of carved wooden vessels.

‘Earth Materials’ collection

A carved wooden vessel.

Warped maple burl vessel

A carved wooden vessel.

Charred surface on cypress

A photo of a wooden vessel being made in the studio.

Cypress vessel in progress

Two details of wooden vessels' textures.

Left: Sycamore vessel. Right: Detail of textured ash vessel

Two wooden vessels.

Vessels “One” and “Two” in the Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden Spring/Summer 2023 collection

A carved wooden vessel.

Cherry vessel

A carved wooden vessel.

Ash vessel

A carved wooden vessel.

Detail of vessel “One” in the Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden Spring/Summer 2023 collection

Wood being turned in the studio.

Roughing out a large cypress vessel




Craft Design

Nature and Geometry Blend in Beguiling Symmetry in Oliver Chalk’s Voluminous Timber Vessels

May 31, 2022

Kate Mothes

All images © Oliver chalk, shared with permission

Only two years ago, Canterbury, U.K.-based artist Oliver Chalk began creating bold, geometric vessels out of wood. Having worked previously with fabric to design and produce large-scale installations for events, his interest in experimentation with new materials and techniques led to using found timber.

Carving detailed forms from the hulks of trees found in the local countryside of Kent, the artist considers the practice of turning and whittling sculptures to be a means of communication and an expression of self through symmetrical shapes and striations. The process of repetition often produces a state of mindfulness. “Imparting my mark through gouging hundreds, if not thousands, of seemingly arbitrary fissures by hand is a profoundly personal journey,” he tells Colossal.

The sustainability and local sourcing of the materials is an important part of Chalk’s approach. All of the wood he gathers comes from native species that he collects from local arborists or forages close to his workshop, finding cuts from trees that have been felled by storms or are partly decaying. The shapes he chips into each piece reflect a merging of nature and the human-made. “Being self-taught, I am still very much listening and learning about the material,” he says. In each vessel, he highlights the natural gradations of color, growth rings, knots, and fissures, emphasizing the relationship between organic form and geometric precision.

Chalk’s work is included in the exhibition Linear Expression at Gallery 57 until June 25. You can find more information on his website and Instagram. (via Lustik)