plot is retrospective”


how in the world did all these elements come together to form this piece, this work? one at a time, bit by bit… that’s how.

jimmy said, ‘could owl studio come up with a sculpture for outside the New House?’

a commission! my goodness… a chance to work out some ideas, to invest time and energy into the endless exploration: what forms can we coax out of a section of wood? the ongoing conversation with presence and absence.

well, never miss a chance to PANIC: what’ll i do? what’ll it be? what… what what…

when all else fails, start at the beginning: better find a piece of wood… a worthy and wonderful piece of wood. ash? cedar? OAK!

seeing as it is for outdoors, oak makes the top of the list, one would hope it will endure. put out the word, on the owl art studio network… Sean-the-Clown is the first to respond


his neighbour, Phil (another Phil on the scene?), living on the next narrow boat in Oxford, has a saw mill: a Resource.

Sawmill Phil
Sawmill Phil

he inevitably became “Sawmill-Phil”.

and the man comes up with the goods: an eight-foot length of good English Oak, heartwood, a full twenty inches across, enormous… grand.


so, in late March, the crew embarks on yet another excursion with Phil-the-Green (Heart-of-Gold) in his trusty greengrocer van, over to Phil’s sawmill just outside Oxford, with Richard riding shotgun.


(when anyone tells me on the phone, ‘you can’t miss it’, i know i’m doomed)

holy garoot – i was stunned to see the piece for the first time. the telephone description had not quite given me the Impact, the Massive Girth of the piece.

robin on log

well, seeing is believing… can i cope with this? for a brief moment, the heart quailed… but, momentum carried on, momentum, machine and muscle.

crew in van

into the van, back to owl studio, and somehow out of the van again…

first ,with a failed effort involving a rope

then with a marvellous demonstration of what rollers and levers can do.

levers 2 levers1

Richard came into his own.

(Alan appeared to say, ‘you’ll never get that off of there!’ me: ‘go away, Alan [expurgated comment]!’)

Thus Rose the Pyramids.

and Lo! ye tonne of oak is in place, outside owl studio, looming large, Full of Potential, dormant potential.

log at studio

onward to act the first —>

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