Ted Knight





Ted Knight gallery




Ted Knight began turning wood in junior high school and has been creating wood vessels since 1971. After graduating from the University of California at Berkeley in 1970, he started an architectural firm with a partner while continuing to experiment with new ideas in woodworking design and form. He abandoned commercial work and became a full-time artist around 1990. Ted's wood vessels can be found in galleries and collections all over the world and are prized by many well-known names. He has won prestigious awards in juried shows and one-man exhibitions, and his art has been featured in national and international magazines and publications.

Ted makes his vessels from solid pieces of wood – log sections that often weigh 600 pounds. He is known for his uncommonly large vessels, which typically measure 20 to 30 inches in diameter and weigh 15 pounds, the result of an extremely difficult and tedious process that few artists ever master. From log selection to finished vessel, most of his pieces take two years to complete. The drying stage alone lasts a year.

Still more time is required if the artist wishes to induce spalting, which refers to the different types of wood coloration caused by fungi. Pale hardwoods like maple are well-suited for spalting, and Ted is unequaled at bringing out the most pleasing results from this phenomenon by controlling the elements of temperature, humidity, oxygen level, and time. The dark, winding lines and streaks on his spalted wood vessels are zone lines – built by different fungi – that act as barriers between neighboring colonies.

Ted works with an impressive array of cutting tools and holding devices, most of which he made himself, including a custom-built lathe that he designed specifically for turning large diameter vessels. Even after years of practice, Knight says, "the slightest slip of the hand or a tool catch can turn two years of preparation into firewood in an instant. You can't put the wood back together and start again as you might with clay or molten glass. One shot is all you get."

Every piece of finished work represents a large investment in time and skill to coax it into existence, a process that Ted only half-jokingly says takes longer to perfect than brain surgery. The results of Knight's work are stunning objects of incredible form, grace, and beauty. The finish on his vessels is something he prides himself on, as smooth as a Stradivarius inside and out – a lasting monument to something everyone is endeared to – the timeless beauty of wood.


Ted Knight gallery