carving always presents the challenge of finding the image inside any given piece of wood without diminishing its existing natural character.
this carving “cedar owl”, is carved into a cross section of a cedar tree, using the natural shape of the trunk with its dramatic undulations, suggesting the shape of the wings and the tail.
locating the slice of wood at our friend Phil-the-Mill’s lumberyard outside Oxford, I was first much impressed by its natural beauty, and out of the dim archives of my memory vaults, I located a photographic image from one of my many owl books. once i tracked it down, it did indeed fit in to the piece.
I was happy to be able to present the image of the owl while retaining the the flow of the piece of wood and the beauty of the grain.
a hard-won skill is knowing when to leave it alone; the periphery required some very small touches; the centre image took a long time focused on very small, delicate cuts, and a lot of sanding.
once finished, the application of oil made the whole thing come alive.
a new aspect of this particular piece was enclosing it inside an oak frame lined in black fabric to give a strong contrast to the cedar. it requires a very specific overhead lighting to best bring out the bas-relief outlines and simultaneously show the image and show off the grain.