Today is Earth Day 2022 so I’m going to share one of my most recent sculptures with an environmental message: A Hand Between Sky and Earth.
Earth Day 2022
Before I jump into the story of the A Hand Between Sky and Earth sculpture, what is Earth Day? And why is it relevant?
Earth Day is an annual event on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It includes a wide range of events coordinated globally by EarthDay.org, and focuses on raising awareness and mobilising people to do their part in caring for the environment.
Care for the environment is something close to my heart. That’s why it’s always great to receive a commission for a project like A Hand Between Sky and Earth or The Giant Hand of Vyrnwy where I can use art to convey a message about caring for our planet.
A Hand Between Sky and Earth Sculpture: How It Began
Back in November, I had an enquiry about a sculpture on Sardinia. A tree in the village of Allai had become dangerous and needed to be cut down. The council didn’t want to cut it down completely and hoped I could transform it into a work of art.
They shared how they believe trees represent a natural resource of great significance. They’d researched their options and believed this was a good way to “save” the tree at the same time as embellishing and enhancing it. In the words of the client:
“We love nature, we have lots of respect for our vegetation and probably your same love can help us to preserve our trees but in a different amazing way.”
As well as preserving the tree, the sculpture was to serve the dual purpose of (hopefully!) becoming a tourist attraction.
New life for the tree, and increased benefit for the village!
Definitely a meaningful commission!
The Message Behind A Hand Between Sky and Earth Scultpure
The sculpture I created needed to be something that would capture the imagination and draw people to see it, but also needed to reflect the preservation aspect of the commission. Although the initial enquiry asked about wildlife sculptures, after some conversation, we settled on an outstretched hand. Something reaching between the material to the spiritual world that, like the Giant Hand of Vyrnwy, also represented the struggle of the tree to reach the sky.
To me, the hand is fitting as hands are a way to connect with the earth. They’re how we touch rocks, the earth and the trees. With our hands, we work the earth to grow food or build.
My sculpture is a symbol of this tactile connection with the world. It’s also a reminder that we use our hands to steward it, and the sculpture invites us to take care of it.
The hand position can be seen as an extension to gently touch or make a statement. The slightly straightened finger is meant to suggest a gentle command or complaint. ”
Responses To A Hand Between Sky and Earth Sculpture
It’s only been a couple of weeks since finishing the commission, and the sculpture is already serving its purpose.
The municipal council are delighted with the finished sculpture. They describe it as “A symbolic work for a community, a careful warning to safeguard a territory that does not want to give up [but rather] fights for a prosperous and luxuriant future, with trust, determination and an obstinate love for the surrounding nature“.
One local lady who saw the sculpture being created was inspired to write a poem where she describes it as
Visiting A Hand Between Sky and Earth Sculpture
Either open the app and search for ///hangdog.candlestick.precocious or just click here.
Other Environmental Considerations
Of course, it isn’t enough to just create art that challenges people to care for the earth, helpful as art can be in communicating an important message. I’m also aware of the potential environmental cost of chainsaw carving and minimise impact where I can.
What does that look like?
First, I never carve or cut down a healthy tree for sculpture. Rather, use trees that have died or need to be felled due to disease, damage, or danger to people/places and give life back to them as art.
I’m also part of Titan Treecycle. This is an initiative that encourages chainsaw artists to plant trees to replace the ones they use. Although the timber I use has never come from healthy trees, I’m aware that chainsaw carving impacts the environment in other ways. For example, travel for commissions or events, emissions from our tools. So I joined the initiative to offset my carbon footprint, not just replace the wood I use.
It’s obviously exciting as an artist to be able to create art that challenges people to think about the environment. It’s great to post about it on Earth Day too. My hope though is that our thoughts and actions go far beyond this one day, that care for the earth becomes second nature to us all, and that we can all gradually make slow, sustainable changes that help preserve our incredible planet.
What changes have you been working on?
As always, if you are interested in a sculpture for your home, business, or community, fill out the form at www.treecarving.co.uk/contact.
If you’re interested in watching the creation of A Hand Between Sky and Earth, check out the video below too!