Given that most of the (justifiably) lauded artisans/masters of the past decade began and progressed in their art largely on their own efforts, with only the internet, forums and the rare 1-2 day stopover at a senior carver's shop, is there still a place for the traditional Master/student relationship? Judging from the stunning, ‘F’ Grade Ikebana bent Apple that we are both looking at, in my opinion, the answer is a resounding “Yes!”
The shape is impeccable, there simply is no other word for it. From the perfect symbiosis of sphere and teardrop, edge and plane, to an execution which could serve as a template for the neo-classical bent Apple; every aspect of the form has been addressed to perfection. Though not evident in the pics (needs more of an oblique view of the underside), there is even a poignantly subtle interior line, ‘protected” in its initial journey by the ridge executed on the right of the shank, an aspect (in more pronounced form) that is often associated with Lars. I could go on for eons about the grain, but a ‘Picture is worth a thousand words’, no? If you will forgive the mixed metaphors, while the Ikebana briar is the “Flower of the Pipe World”, Asami Kikuchi has blessed us with a flawless diamond.
--R. ‘Bear’ Graves