Sounding Bowls are a unique and modern instrument used in hospices and healing centres across the world. Within a Sounding Bowl bronze wound strings are stretched across richly figured Cherry, Sycamore or Ash wood whose notes resound from spiral section curves to enfold the player in a unique bud-shape of sound.
My passion as a woodturner has always been to transform the beauty that trees offer us in their own shapes and material so that the forms I bring to it as a human artist harmonise with what they intrinsically offer.
After years of searching for a harmonious balance in this creative act I found audible harmony resounding from within the bowl forms I was creating.
Unsure how best to bring out this innate harmony I wracked my brains without result. Then one night while meditating an image of a bowl stretching a tuned string within it appeared before me. This was the true origin of the Sounding Bowls, now identified by EMI magazine as unique in the history of world music. Fitting the first string to a wooden bowl was like seeing life being breathed into it. Music, like flame is a mystery. One minute I had the smoke of a rich tonal echo, the next it burst into song.
The circle has always contained magic for human beings. From stone circles through round temples to crop circles, and from goddess cauldrons through circle dancing to the holy grail we have images of circle magic going beyond our comprehension through all of our history. In a Sounding Bowl the taut string gives a contrast to this circle that brings harmony like my earlier work sought to harmonise human and natural form.
Harmonising our inner life with the demands of daily life is about finding the true genius within, whose musical flame can weave together the apparently disparate so that our life becomes a creative gift in place of a dualist battle. Sounding Bowls are often used as a tool for meditation allowing the resounding note to connect us with the source of our innate harmony. Two notes can be used to explore the “space between” from which all manifest reality flows, or three notes can be used to explore the relationships of the trinity or of the white, the red and the black aspects of the goddess.
Whether the healing flows from the fact that a great deal of meditative love and care has gone into each instrument, or whether it flows from the wood itself, given a chance to resound without joint or glue bond or whether it flows from the harmonised contrast of the hand carved texture of the underside, the smooth sanded inside and the soft curves with the taut straight line, I do not know but many, many testaments to the healing and uplifting effect of Sounding Bowls do come back to me.