Volcano Art Center Featured Artists

Timothy Van Cleave

Timothy Van Cleave was born and raised in Hawai`i. He got his start in wood turning when his high school shop teacher introduced him to Jack Straka, one of Hawai`i’s master woodturners who has now retired.
After high school, active duty with the Navy Seabees took Tim to Bermuda, Italy, Greece, Japan, and the Philippines where he got a chance to study the classic and contemporary sculpture of many cultures and styles. Upon returning to the Big Island, Tim formally apprenticed under Jack Straka, steadily developing both his technique and his ideas.
Lumber mill rejects, trimmings, and storm damaged trees usually provide the bowl stock. Whenever possible, Tim uses a difficult and dangerous, but resource-efficient, ‘coning’ method of cutting bowl blanks. Then he uses the ‘cutting’ method of turning, rather than the more prevalent ‘scraping’ method. This allows for thinner walled bowls, a Straka hallmark passed on to Tim. Finally, he goes through four to six steps of sanding and then finishes his pieces with hand-rubbed oil.
Many of Tim’s bowls reflect the shape of the traditional Hawaiian `umeke lā`au (wooden bowl) characterized by the rounded bottom. These bowls gave generations of service, and small cracks were lovingly patched with inlaid plugs (called huini, kepa, kiki, pewa, or poho depending on their shape). Tim will occasionally insert a traditional plug as an aesthetic, rather than a repair, decision.
Keep your piece away from direct sunlight or sources of heat. Wash quickly with soap (not detergent) and water when necessary and dry immediately. Avoid overspray from household products like window cleaners, as they can etch the finish. Occasionally apply a coat of mineral oil, allow it soak in overnight, and then wipe piece with a clean, soft cloth.