Stories from a Tree
The hand sanding process to finish my sculptures is always a new test of my endurance and strength. Having a great admiration for the beautiful hard wood I am working with, I want to highlight the close-grained structure and surface by giving it a fine sanding finish.
At the same time I am already impatient for a new sculpture project, having had a good look at the pieces of wood around my workshop.
My last choice of material was a solid root stump that had been left in the sand after people had burnt the base of the tree to harvest the trunk.
As I examined the surface I came across some holes and small gaps. Following these indicators I deepened those areas further through my adze and chisel work until certain shapes and even deeper gaps emerged.
Some of the sculptures I create can be slow in revealing themselves, or maybe I am slow in reacting to the signs they are giving me.
But this piece I was working on kept pulling me forward in a fast and steady pace.
I could see parts of an antelope’s head first, and as I carved it out, a bird emerged. Her right wing became the neck of the antelope and the other wing fed into the head of a rodent.
The antelope’s head also flowed down into the body of a chameleon and into the strong muscle of a snake.
All creatures came together as one, interlinked and connected.
But in the center of it all is the source of this wood, the life giving tree, having supported this community to come together and be sustained.
This sculpture reminded me that I have a great opportunity to enrich and give life to the world that surrounds me.