Wednesday, January 13, 2016

New 24ft tall tree sculpture for PEACE at the Imperial war museum complete

While you have been away ive been carving this giant tree in Geraldine Mary Harmsworth park (GMH for short) near the Southbank cultural quarter round the corner from Waterloo station right outside the front of the imperial war museum < visible behind the section of Berlin wall they have installed there > 
The theme of the sculpture the Friends Of GMH group asked for was Peace.
so the idea behind it was to represent the moments of reflection, meditation, mourning
we all experience at some point in life with something abstract which then gradually morphed into a wiggly flame of energy in a similar style to the amazing tibetan buddhist peace garden opposite

then i was considering how brainwaves may become more subtle and flowing / harmonised through meditation that buddhists would encourage , then i mixed that idea with an approximate impression of a candle that may feature in such moments. after carving many representationaL  sculptures before (like the totem poles at Peckham Rye, Knollys Rd in Tulse Hill & an organic farm WOOFing project in a little town called Mechernich in Germany) i fancied the idea of a more experimental piece, lots of abstraction but centred around the shape of a candle that also has a CND peace sign carved within the flame shape at the top (most visible when viewed from beside the Berlin wall near the warship cannons) . in an abstract piece people project their own ideas onto the shapes and gather their own meanings from it interpreting it how they like through the filters of their own mind. one passing graphic designer employee from the I.W.M said he saw it as an ocean of souls swimming between each other, others compared it to the Frogner stone sculpture people pile park in Norway, curvy Henry Moores and Gaudi's wiggly church in Barcelona

we used a piece of Douglas Fir from Whittens timber in peckham atop of an oak peg sunk into the centre of the trunk at the top underneath the lattice/rooty hollow structure of the flame shape

the tree kept sprouting back into life despite the arborist cutting all its limbs off ... (OUCH! sorry tree)
i carved the sculpture to this height that the tree surgeon felled it at 
silhouette photo on the unveiling ceremony day by . we were amazed at how the weather gods provided us with warm sunshine on this special day after weeks either side of it were cold drizzly December grey outs  
The maquette (small sketch of a sculpture for the successful transmission of the design idea for final approval from the park folks 

looking down at the top of the tree from the very top ((((((VERTIGO ANYONE???!)))), spraypaint marks the central points to carve the peak into 

Peter Kennard the peace activist artist has a great artshow on in the imperial war museum gallery on the 3rd floor right next to our peace sculpture. Hes a legendary montage creator featured recently in Banksy's Dismaland with a great piece about gentrification & the housing crisis in London . his show at the war museum until May 2016 and is free . more details here

with this piece about peace at the grounds of the war museum i was keen to include some shape reference to the internationally known symbol of peace the CND sign (campaign for nuclear disarmament) so i carved this into the side of the candle's hollow flame structure visible from the viewpoint next to the section of Berlin wall at the entrance to the museum
early versions of the peace sculpture design 

Photo by > screenshot from The Times newspaper online version of it 

Launch day poster version 2

Thankyous Therina for all your help & advice on it

chef taking it easy on a summer's day 

early stages of spray painting chainsaw cut guides on 

analogue tools never let you down 

view from above looking at the inner flame's peak 

looking down at the top of the tree from the very top ((((((VERTIGO ANYONE???!)))), spraypaint marks the central points to carve the peak into 
Mr.Grasshopper joined us for lunch.. (he was very tasty with a satay sauce)

installing the egg flame 

carving a pyramid

view from inside and above

a huge cavity of rot got extracted and convertid into something of a symbolic mORGANICo signature
with different types of wood used as a layered fill 

time for the obligatory selfie 

final stages before the scaffolding got dismantled 

An electric chainsaw was kindly donated to us from Vinnie O'connel Fls from the
project in Dulwich 

OCD selfie o'clock

Applying the gold leaf in the dark in the park with a spark 
the war museum with its big guns and section of Berlin wall

the Douglas Fir flame section with its oak support pre-gilding 
beautiful summer sun & Sthil electric chainssaw we used sometimes 

sometimes carving by night in month 4 az autumn kicked in 
CND sign with the wooden curves 

several coats of Boiled Linseed oil soaking in as a 2nd preservative after the wood treatments 

The 30 Litres of boiled linseed oil from Mylands timber specialist gave the dry wood a delicious sheen for a while as it soaked deeply into the wood to give it more durability and protection from the elements and our climate change weather apocalypse 

Stihl make great axes as well as inventing chainsaws
(see the heart shaped hole?)

gold leaf signature carved into the base 

running the electric chainsaw with a smaller bar on proved a great solution to not having an onsite lathe.
a Makita electric planer helped too  and a full tub of elbow grease 

had a few nice & friendly guests arriving at the project , this little green fella didnt want to leave 

starting to shape the flame sections and hollow it out to make way for the inner golden sections 

lots of firewood left over 

usually im carving tree totem poles in winter- being in the park all summer was such a treat working on this.
sunshine and heatwaves caused me to lose 3 stone while woodpeckering away at this piece for peace

carved signature of mORGANICo 

amazing textures and colours the boiled Linseed oil treatment revealed

view from above shows the beautiful rings of the Douglas Fir section

an Oak peg gives it stability - thanks to Whittens timber in Peckham for the great advice
and extra wood bits for this project 

having a rest from the hand axe photographed thru the 1970's retro yellow of ski goggles
all the gilding finished , using the outline of a few chainsaw blade angles as a template,
when the sun shines brightly onto it ( sunshine does sometimes happen here in the U.K)
then it really looks like the flame of the candle is lit and burns brightly like a star 
looked into carving this circular flame section on a lathe but that would of taken ages (to bring this part to north london and back)  so it was more fun doing it by hand with power tools in the end

the little bits of life springing out everywhere from the tree over summer made us feel sorry for it as we carved it into an art piece. i like the idea of carving a future tree that is still partly living and seeing how with the years how the carved section would grow wooden scabs over itself the tree heals (where it may have been de-limbed) 

many insects and animals came to visit us during the project
(& friendly locals az its a popular dog walking spot)

my aunt said she saw a pregnant lady in this bit -, that had never occured to me,.. i was trying to carve a planet resting on another planet or something along those lines - as tho all these curves are energy prayers for peace spiralling around from somewhere and bursting up and out of the north pole into space 

this scaffold tower was our virtual home for most of summer

A 360* panorama i made on the top of the scaffold tower before its tin hat roof went on.

Many thanks to Lee Marley scaffolding company/LendLease for providing our artist treehouse

An arborist named Ian Williams was tasked with making the tree safe as the side limbs of it coming out from the trunk were apparently somewhat rotten and in danger of falling down, but he had the good idea to preserve the main trunk for some kind of public art sculpture. i had the good fortune to bump into one of the 'Friends Of..' group members that suggestid i carve it into something interesting for the park. 
As if the weather god angels were watching over us on the December unveiling ceremony day we were blessed with bright blue skies and warm autumn sunshine during beautiful live music from Jun Ainouta from Japan playing guitar and traditional bamboo flute with JazzMan John giving a poetry recital of his own compositions

loving how the moon and Maxfield Parish style clouds made this shot look like an album cover 
Thankyous to all the kind souls that helped us out with this project or came to visit
You know who you are