Tom Eltang: Smooth Horn (Snail)
When idle, daydreaming of that perfectly cut, luxuriously curvaceous, gorgeously grained, delicate Horn shape, I find this piece by Tom Eltang bears a strong resemblance to that which springs from my imagination. The difference? Tom Eltang's creation is here far more graceful and nuanced than that which I could fathom given all the time in the world. Indeed, he prepares many a small detail that has me gushing. The scarcely cambered, beautifully cross-grained rim complete with a semi-beveled inner rim stands out clearly. The deeply set, 'U' shaped void space between the posterior side of the bowl and top of the shank is sleek and indulgent. The angle at which the vamplate style tapered stem transitions from the brass supported shank face is perfect, as it continues the fluid line and sense of motion put in place by the briar shape. And the vast array of wide-set bird's eye that tumbles down the front of the piece is uncannily satisfying. The daydream is over; the reality is right in front of my face. Heavens to Betsy, this is a darned fine composition.
-- Ted Swearingen