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Photo Credit:

Mel Schockner

 

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The pictures and poetry in this sight are protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America.  The pictures and poetry may not be copied or reprinted for commercial gain or profit.  Short quotations or occasional page copying for personal or group study is permitted and encouraged.  Permission will be granted upon request.

About The Wood

 

The golden-colored wood in these sculptures is West Texas juniper (juniperus texensis Van Mull). The only place in the world it grows is along a stretch of cliffs in the Texas Panhandle, ranging from north of Amarillo to near Big Spring, Texas. This juniper is the densest juniper known, approximately 44 pounds per cubic foot.
By hiking through the canyons, I am able to examine hundreds of dead-standing and fallen trees in an effort to select one that fits the idea  I desire to carve. Since many portions of the canyons provided the firewood and fence posts used during the early 1900's, most of the really big dead trees are found where the cedar cutters could not get a mule or a fool to go. I have always felt like God left those especially for me.
The dark wood in most of the sculptures is what I call black mesquite. Mesquite, if left in the ground long enough, will eventually turn as black as ebony (at least what is left of the wood will). To find the dark wood takes a lot of looking, but, when polished, it is well worth the effort. Hopefully, you now understand that the challenge to make one of these sculptures does not begin once the wood is strapped to the work table. By that point it has already been proven to me in many ways that I am merely God's vessel and it is His project, not mine alone.
Note: I extend a special thanks to the ranchers who have allowed me to search their ranches for wood and solitude. Thank you so much. I really do appreciate your generosity.

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