Wooden bowls are one of my passions. Their warmth, their individuality, their character, all join to make them irresistible to me. I have wooden bowls from all over the world – soft, simple, pale white bowls from a Roma carver in Romania, gorgeous rich dark walnut bowls my father made me, and crazy veined spalted-maple bowls from Vermont, and now these beautiful bowls from the forest of the Peruvian Amazon. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do. Be sure to check out the serving boards made from a tree slice. They are amazingly beautiful and make a great present!
I use my wooden bowls all the time and people often ask me the best way to care for them. It is really easy, but I can understand why it is intimidating. Caring for wooden ware is very similar to caring for cast iron. After using them, you should hand-wash the pieces and dry thoroughly. Then apply a thin coat of oil to help keep the wood hydrated. You should use an oil that is stable and does not turn, or go rancid, especially if you don’t use your pieces often. I recommend a light vegetable oil like canola oil or a food safe mineral oil which is available at most hardware stores.
The loss of our forests is a troubling issue we all much face. But we also have to recognize that for many indigenous communities the forest is their only source of income. Sustainable forestry is just beginning to be understood in the vast rainforest communities of the world. Most of these resources are exploited by the lumber industry and many trees are felled solely to reach the species most desirable in the lumber market. These collateral trees are often left to rot or burned to make way for lumber skids or open pastures.
Tharina Kaspi works with the local communities to develop products that make better use of the wood than simply as building materials. This “in situ” philosophy puts the emphasis on creating added value in the communities where the trees are found before they are shipped out of the region. This means not only felling fewer trees but increasing the money left in the local community by employing more people to design, carve, and finish these beautiful bowls and serving trays. By increasing the value added locally, each tree becomes more valuable to the community as a future resource and the communities become less likely to fall prey to the timber industry’s offer for a quick sale.