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David Nash sculpture at Kew Gardens

We went up to see the fabulous David Nash exhibition at Kew last week – it’s on until April next year so you have plenty of time to go too.

Throne - beech

David Nash has carved sculptures from wood, many of them monumental in scale. After carving, some pieces are then partially burned to produce a charred surface. His main tools are a chainsaw and an axe to carve the wood, and then fire to char it.

Cave - charred yew

Crack and warp column

Crack and Warp Column began as a trunk of newly felled lime which Nash then cut on four sides to make a tapering column. Then, with the wood lying horizontally he made cuts along the entire length at regular intervals – all the way round but not all the way through.

In the workshop

Each of these cuts increased the column’s surface area enabling the dry surrounding air to quickly evaporate and decrease the water content of the fresh wood. Consequently, the thin layers cracked and warped dramatically. The final sculpture is dictated by the nature of the wood itself.  Nash thinks this is the best column he has made so far…I loved it too.

Detail - lime

Cork Dome

When mature, cork oak trees can regrow their spongy bark and farmers can strip it every ten years without any harm to the tree and Nash was inspired to make this sculpture while visiting the cork harvest in Portugal.

Harvesting the cork bark

The huge outdoor sculptures were most impressive with great thought given to their situation in the park.  This one below is perched on the top of a hill and viewed from below.

Black Sphere - charred oak

Black Sphere is made from layers of 10 inch by 10 inch beams, stacked on top of one another. On two sides you can see all end-grain – the wood in cross section. On the other two sides, the wood is worked along the grain.

Black dome - charred oak

Nash is working on site throughout the summer in his ‘wood quarry’ and you can watch him at work with chainsaw and axe!

Work in progress

Chain saw and cherry picker

While we were there we couldn’t resist a visit to the treetop walkway and the amazing waterlily house – try and find time to go and see for yourself!

Treetop walkway in winter

Giant Amazon waterlillies

Victoria amazonica

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