Hollow Vessel

The ‘hollow vessel’ has remained a constant form throughout Emmet Kane’s career.


Pierced, textured burr oak with blue pearlescent ink, 2013;private collection

The ‘hollow vessel’ has remained a constant form throughout Emmet Kane’s career. His ability to ‘blind turn’ thin-walled vessels through a narrow opening is technically difficult to realise such as Hollow Vessel, 1999, which is made from crab-apple. Each of Kane’s hollow vessels accurately mirrors the void inside.

Hollow Vessel textured holm oak with blue acrylic, 2013

Often consolidating his ideas whilst working directly with the wood, his use of ‘freestyle turning’ takes advantage of an unusual grain or an imperfection. The majority of his work is ‘green turned’ – where uncured wood is turned on the lathe and dries after turning. As these hollow vessels slowly cure, the wood shrinks, assuming unforeseen shapes and surprises.

Hollow Vessel, ebonised and textured oak with blue pearlescent interior, 2013

Kane juxtaposes at times the natural elements of the wood on the exterior with a lustrous surface of lacquer or paint on the interior, inviting people to look inside. The chiselling, carving or imperfections on the outside combined with the lustrous interior gives the  impression of revealing a secret which is what has made his work so popular with the public.

Urchin, ebonised burr oak with pearlescent blue, 2014             

Burr oak comes from the epicormic shoots which lie under the bark of a tree. These shoots produce a peculiar and highly-figured wood which technically, and by default stylistically, are difficult to work. The grain is twisted and interlocked, causing the wood to chip or fragment unpredictably. However once a piece is formed from the wood due to its density the resulting form is resistant to splitting.

Gold Tulip, ebonised oak with 23c gold leaf, 2011; private collection

Recently, Kane has produced miniscule hollow vessels which reveal his dexterity as a master craftsman. Some pieces are intimate,  essential studies in form and colour, their organic nature informing the artist’s aesthetic suggesting small pods and urchin type formations.

Gold Tulip Detail