poplar, 2003 – ?
The tree had been lying in a pond for a while and thus was wet through and through, more than the usual fresh wood. That was one of the challenges. The other was the format. It was taller then me and slimmer at the same time. Proportions like that somehow always resemble its source: a tree trunk. Its hard to get away form that image without ending up with a totem pole. From this endeavour came the impulse of going inside the trunk and thus dissolving it into different movements within the range of its diameter.
I did so without a clear vision, just following the idea of two different movements evolving within this upright space. Starting at the base I worked myself upwards in very rough cuts. I had to work very fast to get the core wood out of it. Otherwise it would have cracked in the drying process, threatening to break in places that would make the two movements I was trying to create impossible.
When a tree trunk dries out and the water within it evaporates, the core dries slower than the perimeter. In the process of drying the wood loses weight and volume. Thus it produces cracks, when the perimeter shrinks and the core still has its original size. To avoid cracks one has to take out the volume in the middle and allow the wood to dry evenly. This wood was very wet and the weather was very hot. Thus the danger of cracks was even higher. And the idea I had, could only work – hold – if there were no cracks on the outside.
I was in a hurry and that made me go slightly too fast, so that the original idea of the flat part as opposed to the round part does not work completely. The fluidity of the movement is broken at least at one point. But there might be a way to “fix” that, when I let go of the original idea and adapt the form slightly. At the moment it resembles more a coat stand, apart from the fact that is can’t stand on its own any more. I have been working on it since, starting to smooth it and forming the orb at the base. Orbs are tricky! To really get it right, I should have worked round and round it, moving the piece constantly. But it is somehow unwieldy. Despite of my knowledge of working orbs I worked on it from two sides only to find out, that they don’t match at the top were they were supposed to meet. To finish it will be lots of detail work. I have to be in the right mood for that…