When the sea gives you a gift!
Updated: Jun 4, 2019
We went for a lovely relaxing walk on a beach in Wales and I spotted this enormous tree trunk washed up onto the shore. I was immediately very excited and Ian less so as he saw the reality of trying to lift such a massive chunk of wood. Undeterred by the sheer size and volume of the piece I persuaded him to fetch his car and the struggle to lift it and heave it along the entire length of the car ensued.
Well it just about fitted, give or take and enormously heavy section overhanging the boot, despite the tip of the other end touching the dashboard.
As soon as I set eyes on it I knew it was going to be a modern, abstract, water dragon sculpture for the exhibition I was selected for at Croome Walled Gardens the following summer (about to open this June, installation date 12th June).
It was curator Fiona's fault really as she had told me when i'd visited the impressive walled gardens, owned by Karen and Chris Cronin and perhaps the largest in Europe, to see the seven acre space as an opportunity to exhibit anything big I wanted to try but hadn't done before. This 'gift from the sea' presented itself and just had to be a Japanese water dragon guardian for the garden symbolising wisdom, strength force for good, ferocity and prosperity.
Unable to lift the wood myself, it was heaved out of the car and we went to a local homeware store to purchase a handsaw for it to be cut into the head, body and tail sections. This would make it far easier to transport home in the car (not accounting for our luggage and dogs or the sheer colossal weight of the wood too that is!).
Painted with wood treatment after removing large amounts of sand, and left to stand to dry out and season in my garage for many months after we got it home, the gift from the sea began to become a Japanese water dragon in very early spring when it became less of a gift from the sea and more of an object of stress and many bad words muttered under one's breath! It was rather challenging working with such a dirty and sandy raw newly uprooted enormous tree but it didn't beat me and Croome Walled Garden will have a guardian later this month.