top of page

Sharing a bowl is sharing a connection

by Gayle Johnson

Back in 2010 John Alcock’s brother taped an interesting video for John thinking he would appreciate seeing it. The video was of a gentleman who created wooden bowls using hand tools. John’s brother was right, it was something John found very interesting.

John had done carpentry work before, and knew that there were tools that would do a faster and more efficient job when making wooden bowls. Unfortunately at that time, he couldn’t devote as much time as he would have liked.

Fast forward several years.

After many decades of driving a truck, a job he loved, last year John Alcock retired, and it was time to immerse himself in his budding passion, wooden bowl making.

According to John, he completed at least 100 pieces in the last year with many more waiting to be finished.

John shared you can’t just take a chunk of wood and make a bowl, there is a process.

Once you find the wood you want to use, it must be cut and seasoned - seasoning takes a very long time, although he does have a secret way of speeding up the process.

With chain and table saws, routers and carbide tools, (to name just a few of his current tools), John has designed modification pieces for his tools to allow him to perform some of the work a little easier.

The display of handmade bowls was a sight to see, so many beautiful pieces, but the piece closest to his heart has a deep seated and heartfelt story associated with it - a majestic looking bowl made with the wood of an apple tree, but not just any apple tree.

The wood came from an apple tree that was a wedding gift to John’s parents from his dad’s sister. The tree supplied the young family with apples for many years, and although its end time came, it continues to give back to the family.

Armed with the seasoned wood from the much loved tree, John has fashioned bowls to share with family members and very close friends - the apple tree will live on for many more years through the thoughtful gift of a talented woodworker.

John, who is a very modest artisan, said quietly, “Sharing a bowl is sharing a connection.”

Each bowl is completely unique - different types of wood have completely different looks from all other species. In fact, even bowls made from the same tree can look significantly different; burls, twists and knots add character that the imagination would struggle with creating.

The natural beauty of each piece is finished with a food safe oil to preserve its beauty, allowing the piece to be used for dry food stuffs such as fruit or buns. (It is not suggested that the bowls be used to hold wet items).

The outer shapes of the bowl are completely random and can be left unfinished, adding to their natural beauty - the imperfections adding to the significant character of the piece.

In addition to the outstanding array of wooden bowls he has completed, John has also made cribbage boards, kitchen utensils, shooter glasses, charcuterie boards, picture holders and table tops - plus so much more!

John currently has a selection of his handmade wooden bowls on display (and for sale) at the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba.

If you are looking for a unique gift for someone who has everything, or maybe a gift to yourself, John does custom work as well.

Contact him at 204-761-5269 (call or text) or you can find him on Facebook.


View the PDF file of the paper under Online Edition. Subscribe to the online edition for $55.00 per year. Go to the "member signup" to start the process.

74 views0 comments


bottom of page