Portland Press Herald/staff photographer

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s pretty much our feeling about the hand-crafted bowls we give our Source Sustainability award winners each year.

In year one, Source reporter Mary Pols hooked us up with Richmond woodworker Jeff Raymond. Now that we’re in year five, we’re as pleased and proud as ever to give these bowls, which are made from local wood by a local craftsman and are as far from a throwaway consumer item as they possibly can be. It seems fitting, too, that Raymond can look out from his workshop and see wild turkeys and deer amble by.

Raymond, who has been turning wood since he was 14  – at first in the basement of his family home – said that this year’s bowls come from an ailing cherry tree in Cumberland, what he described as “necrotic wood.”

Dead, or dying, wood is tricky to work with; it easily cracks or shrinks. “To me, bringing a bowl out of it when it’s that close to being gone is kind of a trick and a pleasure.”

“Cherry is… I like to say it’s kind to the wood turner,” he continued. “It looks rich. It cuts nicely. It’s generally cooperative and it’s lovely.”

Raymond sells his hand-turned bowls – with odd, organic shapes and natural flaws that only make them more beautiful – at the Brunswick Winter Market at Fort Andross. He also builds cabinets and the occasional tiny home. But he said there is a special satisfaction in his annual commission for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. “It’s always been a pleasure to turn them because they have in the past sometimes wound up in the hands of people I know well.” When he sees that year’s list of Source award winners and recognizes a friend, he thinks to himself, “‘Oh, neat!'”







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