John Adamson- Tree Sculptor

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The Padiham Dancers

Smaller tree before felling Larger tree before felling
Smaller tree partly carved Larger tree partly carved
Smaller tree finished Larger tree finished

 Gawthorpe Environment Trust commissioned this the work on two willow trees in the Centenary Garden, Padiham . The figures are inspired by the shape of the trees that have a bend at what could be hip height. They naturally have long waving branches and these are like arms. The main problem was finding heads. On the smaller tree, I utilised a branch that has been cut off some years ago and was unfortunately a bit rotten. For the larger tree, the only branch in a head position leant towards the back so I had to push the body as far back into the tree as far as I could, so that the head appeared nearer the front. Whatever I did the head was still  tilted back and looking upwards.

The willow trees were diseased and were dying back. In a few years they would have died completely and become a danger to the public.   If they had not been carved, they would have been cut down and put in a landfill site.   One of the joys of working outside was talking to the public as they pass by. Carving the trees made some of the public aware of them for the first time, although they have been in the park for tens of years.

Most of the work is done with a chain saw. This can be a surprisingly sensitive cutting tool that can almost be bent round to cut the shape required. For the hands and faces a large broad and shallow gouge and a mallet will be used. A chain saw is too big for this sort of delicate work and the surface texture produced by the hand tools will contrast with the chain saw cut and emphasise the difference between the clothing and flesh.

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