A Sunday afternoon hike through the woods looking for potential blackberry picking spots and we came upon this young maple tree with a burl completely wrapped around its trunk…. OK yes I am known to my family members as a wood hoarder, I admit it. When my husband who was at the head of our family clan said “Wow you don’t see many young trees with such large burls?” My excitement increased exponentially…. yes I admit it. Studying the young tree and also knowing the tree could not survive many years being strangled I had to save it in a sense. It also seems that I never leave the house without some kind of wood cutting device upon me. One can never know when one stumbles upon a treasure.
I can never tell fully what a piece of tree will become before the first grain is shaved. It’s a journey that you take with the piece of wood and depending upon the grains, any hidden imperfections, it evolves and becomes what it is supposed to become. I know that does sound kind of artsy and really I’m probably the furthest from that. But It always amazes me to take a tree branch and see what it wants to be. To work with the grain patterns, the knot holes, and the natural bend of the wood.. it whispers to you, you just need to listen closely.
One of my favorites is when I climbed into an old childhood apple tree and removed a branch that later became a spoon with some precious childhood memories sealed within it. Every time you stir a pot of soup on a cold wintry day or serve up some summer salad on a bright summers day that spoon brings something with it more than grains of wood… I love it.
Sorry… back to that maple burl branch as my thoughts wander… it seemed to be wanting to become a ladle but what shape I wasn’t quite sure. I wanted to utilize as much of the burl as possible. Since cutting into a burl is like opening a present, you never know what grain pattern or colors you might find its pretty exciting…. yes I know it’s the tree hoarder speaking again 😉 I have never done a burl incorporated into a spoon before. Actually I have never carved a burl at all so it was an exciting endeavor to start. The burl itself has these gorgeous reddish swirling grains. Not sure if this picture does it justice or not but hopefully you can get an idea of it. When it is complete and the last step of oiling it is applied the colors and grain patterns should really explode. All that is left is some finish work on the handle and bowl and some fine sanding. I will be sure to post some completed pictures.