Hawaiian grains inspire woodturner
By Zenaida Serrano
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Zenaida Serrano
In Uwe Dost's Waikiki boutique, accent lights accentuate intricate grain patterns in his wooden bowls. The hand-turned works gleam in natural tones of yellows, browns and reds.
The Kane'ohe woodturner transforms chunks of Norfolk Island pine into one-of-a-kind bowls, calabashes, urns and vases.
"I think each bowl has its own individual charm," Dost said. "Not only are they different in shape, but also due to the fact that Mother Nature puts all these colors in there."
His wife, Natalia, learned woodturning from him and creates similar pieces.
For two years, the pair has owned and run Dost Studio Gallery in the Hilton Hawaiian Village. They sell woodwork — their own and pieces by other artists. This is no craft fair: Prices run from $500 to $10,000 for items such as koa vessels by Elmer Adams, hand-crafted miniature canoes by Francis Pimmel, wooden sculptures by Kim Duffett, koa boxes by Roy Tsumoto and bronze sculptures by W. Bruce Stanford.
"We have one philosophy here," Dost said. "... We hope the customer enjoys the piece as much as we enjoyed making it."
The German-born Dost became interested in woodworking through his craftsman grandfather, and completed a woodworking apprenticeship when he was about 20 years old.
Dost finds inspiration in the grains of native Hawaiian woods, he said. He began working with koa, milo and mango, but now mainly uses Norfolk Island pine.
"We could really make this wood shine," Dost said.
As Norfolk Island pine ages, a process known as spalting develops intricate patterns of rich, changing colors, Dost said.
His pieces are naturally a deep yellow with varying shades of browns and hints of oranges and reds, but he also creates pieces dyed deep red and peacock blue.
The entrepreneur's newest creations reflect the shop's location — Dost fills decorative glass bottles with water, sand, seas shells and a pearl ($8.50 to $28.50).
"You can have your own little beach," Dost said and laughed.
On display is Dost's impressive wood replica of the Liberty Bell, complete with its signature crack. The 28-by-28-by-30-inch piece is titled "E Kani Mau Ke Ku'oko'a," meaning "Let Freedom Ring."
"I did it two years after 9/11 to remind people that we are still free here, and we better appreciate it," Dost said.
Like everything else at Dost Studio Gallery, the bell is fashioned from Hawai'i woods; the support structure was made from spalted mango and koa, and the bell itself is made from one solid piece of Norfolk Island pine, dusted with bronze powder to make it look like the real thing.
"That's the nice part about this little gallery," Dost said, looking around his shop. "Everything in here, every piece, is made in Hawai'i with Hawaiian woods."
Reach Zenaida Serrano at firstname.lastname@example.org.