Wooded Home – Sanctuary 2017

Wooded Home

 

At a rental cabin up north we noticed peculiar birds climbing down the trees – the nut hatch.  That family like mine found rest and security in our woodland homes.

We had rented a hillside cabin for a week’s rest.  It was a rambling house set into the hill. The owners appeared to be bird lovers as there were a number of feeders off of the deck, hanging among the trees.  A variety of birds came and went, along with one very acrobatic squirrel.  But the birds that caught our attention were small ones with pointed beaks.  What was unique about them is that they were usually looking downward as they climbed in the trees.  We learned that they are nut hatches, whose unusual view of the world arises from looking for food from the top down. They find what other birds do not see.

It seems as if the human family in our temporary home, perching on the hill, had much in common with the nut hatch family outside our window.

I have taken a piece of found wood from where I live near Nine Springs in Madison, because it had a large knot suitable for a nest.  I gathered some dry grass nearby and constructed a nest from it.  The nut hatches on the piece are stylized, but I am trying to capture their jaunty pose.

The challenge of this environmental art project is the finish of the piece.  Wood is natural, but often wood carvers use paints and stains that are unnatural and even possibly toxic.  So then I have used mineral oil to seal the pieces, natural stains where needed, and used hidden dowels and a milk based glue to attach the nut hatches to the piece.  The challenge is also the charm of this kind of art; I expect that the piece will age somewhat quickly on location.  Art again follows the course of nature and all things.

We find sanctuary together, not divided.

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Natural materials

I am using mineral oil to seal the wood. I’m also using a stain than can be light to dark gray. It is made by soaking steel wool in vinegar.  To attach the nuts hatches, I’m using dowels and glue. This glue is made by cooking milk powder with vinegar to get curds, these are drained, rinsed and combined with baking soda and some water to get the preferred thickness.
s. Glue

It is supposed to be waterproof. Wisconsin weather will test that claim.;

“The Seer” – Advent Show 2015

I have finished “The Seer” in time for the show at Bethel Lutheran Church in Madison.

The concept was to think about the long hope of the ancient Hebrew believers.  This is the head of a prophet.  Another word for prophet is “Seer”.

I think of this as Isaiah, because we read so much from Isaiah in the Advent Season.

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6 ESV

The prophet sees in the distant sky a star, representing the hope for redemption.  His white hair and beard show that the wait was long.  The star prefigures the Christmas Star found in Matthew 2. And I like to think of the Magi, star gazers, as being on the other end of the message.  The Seer lives in hope and the Magi set out on a journey of discovery.

Here are some images of the process of the carving.  I used a method of shallow relief. The wood is butternut.  The piece is 27 x 17 inches and about 3/4 inch thick.  I left the living edge because the wood itself has a story of growth over years and bark for enduring the elements.

Here is the final result

Paint.3

 

 

Advent Art Show at Bethel Lutheran Church – Nov 29 into Janurary

I have been thinking about a carving that suggests Hope in Advent.  I went through a lot of very complicated iterations until I hit on the idea of the Prophet as Seer, looking into the night sky to see a special star.  The prophet will have a long lyrical beard, suggesting time.

Earth Sculpture 2015

at workbench

at workbench

I am participating at the Earth Sculpture 2015 show at the Farley Center.  There are 13 installations at the show, which you can visit at any time.  The concept is to use resources from the land.  I chose to install two shallow relief carvings of cardinals.

Here is the Map

Here is the link to the Farley Center

Below are some pictures