Tuesday 14 December 2010

" The silver apples of the moon, The golden apples of the sun"

When a grand old tree comes to the end of its life it is always a sad day.  But turning that beloved tree into an inspirational wood carving, capturing the spirit of both the tree but also of the place where it is planted is a very real and sustainable solution to the problem. The picture below clearly demonstrates the difference between the two oaks within this walled garden.

Having introduced wooden carvings into my earlier garden projects I felt encouraged again to see if this once mightly oak could inspire, Guido Oakley local wood sculptor. Fortunately my client was intrigued by the prospect. Once having spoken to the gentle Guido about his philosophy and creative ideas she commissioned him to carve this oak. This was indeed a very exciting turn of events for the life of the garden restoration as a whole.  I couldn't wait to see it......

Entering the walled garden was always a special moment but nothing had prepared me for the surprise of the massive scale of Guido's sculpture. Standing at some 15 feet tall it had all the presence of a mighty oak tree.  Still surrounded by scaffolding it was clearly a 'work in progress' but we quickly rushed over to its base marvelling at the intricacies of the carvings, rotating around the trunk. From top to bottom there were a series of faces, a beautiful woman, the green man, youth and child all positioned like the oak rings within the tree itself, symbolising the passing of time. Elaborately under-cut carvings of clouds, oak leaves and acorns, spiralled around these faces in sinuous tactile trails tempting the hand to stray out and stroke the wood. It was beautiful....

Dragging ourselves away from the carving it was hard to begin our more mundane mornings work in the nearby border.  But once the usual work had begun I soon became aware of a new dimension in the garden.  Whenever I looked up to stretch or move my tools, there was the sculpture in my sightline. It was curiously reassuring, as if some benign woodland presence was overseeing our work.....

A week later I couldn't wait to see if Guido's sculpture would be finished.  He had laboured on it for days, quietly supported in the cradle of the scaffolding, adding further layers of interest to this work.  If you read his philosophy of art and nature you will see that he invests more than just his time into every project and this was to be no exception.  As we drove down the drive to the farm the sculpture was clearly visible above the tall red brick walls.  But now reflected in the low morning light a sun and  crescent shaped moon seemed to crown the giant wooden sculpture.

It had a luminescent quality to it and had really taken the spiritual symbolism of the carving to a whole other level. I gasped with a thrilling recognition.   How could Guido have known that he had carved symbols from  my favourite verse?

       " The silver apples of the moon, the golden apples of the sun" *

It really did feel now that a spiritual presence had entered this lovely garden of guardianship and a connectivity to the place and woodlands surrounding it.

 * W. B. Yeats - The Song of Wandering Aengus


At 8 April 2011 at 20:53 , Anonymous @rowantreegarden said...

What a fabulous sculpture!


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