Studio of Bill Ooms

Bill Ooms

Resources -- Ribbon Construction

Ribbon sculptures start out with computer simulation using a special software program that I wrote for this purpose. This allows me to figure out what kind of shape can be made from curved sections that will be turned on a lathe. It also allows me to rotate the sculpture and view it from all angles to make sure that the over-all balance of the piece is pleasing.

Each curved section is made from a portion of a segmented bowl turned on a lathe. Individual segments are cut from wood at compound angles, then glued together to form bowls. Often, there are several different sizes of pieces, and there may be several sizes or shapes of bowls. A typical sculpture may have 2 to 4 of these segmented bowls, often with different dimensions and angles.

Pieces Bowls

When turning on the lathe, it is important to carefully control the diameters of each bowl, the angle of the side, and the width and thickness. Precision is required, or the final ribbon sculpture will not come together properly.

The bowls are then cut into various sections and re-assembled to cause a smooth flowing ribbon. The joints are pinned with small wood dowels, then hand sanded for a smooth transition. Most ribbons are finished with a hand-rubbed oil finish.