It's surprising but when I started the blog I would publish a post on each carving with a range of pictures. Now I tend to get a range of carvings together and post at the same time.
This post while short will have two carvings featured. Both are found wood carvings, both are beechwood and both come from the same branch that was part of a big windfall.
This piece of wood jumped out at me as I walked past. The way the bark is retreating from the heartwood made me see a hood. The heartwood on these branches is already dead or dying which is why the bark behaves in this way. It may have been from some damage done to the bark or a parasite that burrowed in.
Beech when harvested for timber is light and almost white, well beige. These pieces are red and brown and rich in colour. That's the decomposition of the wood causing it to colour in the most beautiful way.
The branch would have been dying back while on the tree so sap would not have been running into it. The wood will have dried to a point that made it brittle, compared to the flexibility of green wood, and in high winds it would have snapped off and fell to the floor.
There it would lay in the rain and snow and damp with moisture soaking into the wood. This type of moisture isn't like the internal sap filling living wood with life, this is water invading dead or dying wood. This causes the wood to start to rot and this is what changes the colour into what is a rich and beautiful colour.
The art is to find the wood at the right time; it's been decomposing for a while but not so long that the timber has lost its structure and hardness. Wood thats overly decomposed will crumble and becomes very sponge like.
If caught right decomposing wood has its strength and structure to carve, but has a beautiful colour to it. Very different from the colour we are all used to.
I've not used any stain or artificial colour on these. This is the natural colour in the wood at the time of carving. Much like an apple goes brown and then eventually black, so does wood.
In fact wind fall in the forest can become very like drift wood in texture, colour and characteristics. Drift wood looks different because the sea has eroded the softer parts of the wood.
Because the wood is wet from lying on the floor of the forest and has rain, dew and snow soaking in, bearing in mind its trying to become sponge like as it decomposes, it tends to split as it drys out as I'm carving and after I've carved it. I love the look of split wood in the carvings and feel it adds to the overall look.
These carvings look old, weathered and anciently wise.
I am glad that they have been saved from rotting into the forest floor and that they will go on from what most see as useless pieces of wind fall into a lovely piece of sculpture.
Your thoughts as always are welcome.