Textures and Materials

Emmet Kane’s work celebrates texture, carefully balancing the machine precision of the lathe and the natural irregularities of the wood.


Dun Aengus, sandblasted burr oak, 1996;

Since the beginning of his career Emmet Kane’s work celebrates texture, carefully balancing the machine precision of the lathe and the natural irregularities of the wood. He loves the feel of textured wood. Kane states that it pays to carefully examine the grain of a piece as it can make the most interesting patterns. At times he permits a natural edge to his bowls and vessels. Sometimes Kane manipulates the material allowing the wood to remain as raw as possible, with other pieces he elaborately textures, chisels and carves.

Vessel, burr elm, with multiple ebonised rings and a natural edge, 2000

His toolkit includes wire brushes, hammers, a chainsaw, an arbortech (a specific wood carver blade), rusty wire and nails. Kane never completely effaces all traces of the natural material but he does combine the natural elements with lacquer or paint. Besides chainsawing, Kane also uses the techniques of sandblasting, metal leaf and hand carving.

Vessel, burr oak with a natural edge,1999; private collection

In 2003 Kane participated in Collaboration an exhibition at the National Craft Gallery in Kilkenny where artists and designers came together to jointly produce work. The exhibition stemmed from the idea of creating an artistic melting pot for designers and craftspeople to mutually develop ideas and concepts freely. The resulting pieces by Kane and his contemporaries were quite large echoing familiar archaeological themes such as the swearing stone and prehistoric forts.

Hollow Form, burr oak, decorated with multiple rings and textured underside, 2009; private collection