Memory Wood

Sept 2010

I was at the studio late one evening and a local friend who owns a sawmill, came by to check on some logging being done in the area behind the shop.  I knew him from other projects he had done for me and we just sat around talking for a little while.

As we talked, I asked him if he ever finds crazy things in the wood, or even better, crazy pieces of wood. 

He told me his desire was to use and make straight, clean, and beautiful lumber.  That did not involve crazy pieces of wood.  He tries to cut off the crazy stuff and go for the “nice” parts.

As an artist, I am interested in the crazy parts.  The parts which cause you to think and imagine what is trapped in there that wants to get out. I told him how I liked the curved grain and unusual shapes. 

He thought about that concept and seemed to file it away in his mind.  A little while latter he said I should come over to his place and look at some logs he had pulled out of the bottom of the river. 

The bottom of the river! 

Who knew how old they could be?  What was the grain structure?  What distortions were in these logs that would make interesting wood? 

This was Memory Wood. 

Wood that had seen so much, it has a memory. Who knows what it has seen and where it has been.  What caused it to end up in that river bottom?  Was it a logger? Was it a hurricane that blew through long before they gave names to them?  The idea just fascinates me.

So I told him I would come over and check them out.  He didn’t know it but I meant the next day!

I drove over there and he showed me two logs located behind a huge stack of pine.  They were in the dirt and covered with debris.  We could not even tell what kind of wood it was.  But to me they were beautiful!  The ends were partially decayed and about 2 feet wide.  The tops were solid and 12 inches in diameter. I think they are cypress, he thinks they may be oak or even walnut.  We will have to wait until they are cut to tell for sure.

 As soon as he gets those pine logs cut, he will give me a call.  He wants me to show him how I want the Memory Wood cut.  To preserve the “crazy parts”.  Sounds like a great time.

 I am watching that pile of pine logs each time I go by his place. 

 And the two logs behind , they are just collecting more memories.

 I am just patiently waiting.  (well, as patiently as I can).

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