This incense stick holder bowl has been cut and carved in central Scotland by hand from an alder branch.
It has been sanded very smooth and finished with linseed oil only, giving a natural look to this wood, which is sadly underused these days. Alder, with its alluring rich pinkish tones, used to be called "Scottish mahogany" and was once a highly desirable material for furniture making.
Having used incense stick holders for some time I find the ones that I usually come across have ash catching channels that are shallow and narrow. My holders are more of an elongated bowl, meaning less precision lining up of the stick and a deeper groove to allow less trips to the bin, and greater surety that the ash will not be spilled on the table.
The holder measures approximately 23cm (9") long and 3.5cm (1 1/2") wide.
Alder is not one of the most common trees to grow in Scotland but it can be found here and there, belied by its distinctive cones. It is often found on the banks of rivers and in seasonally flooded areas due to its preference for wet ground.
Stands of Alder were reputed to be the homes of outlaws and bandits in Scottish folklore and ancient peoples feared the tree, since when the green wood is cut it takes on a red-orange tinge as if bleeding. Once the wood is seasoned this fades to the rich colour that you can see on the piece before you.
The fruit, bark and leaves can be used to make dyes.
If you'd like an incense holder made from a specific wood or finished in a certain way, please message me and I'll see what I can do.