A once humble sheoak tree in rural Western Australia has been transformed into a carefully crafted sculpture by artist, Neil Turner.
Mistakenly left behind for the mill, where it would have met a different fate, the sheoak log was quickly purchased by Turner who sawed, sanded, shaved and sculptured the log, which will now become a treasured feature of the new InterContinental Perth City Centre.
Speaking of the work, Turner says his inspiration came from years of working on the farm.
‘Fire was a constant friend and foe in my life. As a friend, fire was used to burn the paddocks, so they were ready to sow crops; and yet it was also a foe when it would accidentally destroy my crops at harvest time.’
Turner adds that he would often sit at night, around a small stick fire, watching as the fluid motion of the flames would capture his imagination.
It was this memory that ignited his inspiration for the piece, which is evident in the intricate details of flickering flames along the sculpture.
The transformation process involved removing a third of the material with a chainsaw immediately and periodically watering it to slow down the drying progression. After sketching in the flame pattern and drilling 30mm holes into the wood from the outside, Turner then meticulously cut out the detail to create voids and give movement to the piece.
With countless hours of sanding, the sculpture is now taking shape to become a distinct piece in its new home of InterContinental Perth City Centre.