There was a little more noise than usual near the construction site for the new Student and Administrative Services Building last week, but it was all in a good cause.
Dozens of staff and members of the public came out to watch chainsaw sculptor Thomas Craggs, of Castleside, create a wooden sculpture of a pear using timber from trees which used to stand on the same spot. The pear trees were removed about two years ago to create rear access to Northern Stage and the University’s Estates Support Service has stored the wood ever since, with a view to putting it to good use at a later date.
The University's Estates Support Service had always intended to plant a new pear tree at the site of the old.
The official tree planting ceremony and demonstration last week was attended by members of the estate support service and representatives of construction company hbg, which is currently working on the new building.
Ian Walker, the University’s grounds manager, helped plant the pear tree with Estate Support Service director Clare Rogers. ‘We’ve come under a lot of criticism lately for taking out trees, especially those along Barras Bridge, and this is just the start of us putting something back,’ he explained. ‘I don’t like to have to cut down trees either, but progress dictates that some have had to go, and it was always our intention to replace them over time.
‘We came up with the idea to make use of the timber from the old pear tree to create a sculpture, which seemed a positive use for the wood.’
Thomas, who has been working with chainsaw sculpture for about two years, used a selection of different chainsaws, working down from a regular one to smaller chainsaws with special carving blades with pointed tips for the finer detail.
‘I get the feel of the wood and it can change all the time after the bark’s off as you follow how the grain moves through it,’ he said. ‘I’ve only worked with pear a few times, but I like the grain and it comes up really nice when it’s sanded.’
Jason Barnes, hbg site manager, said their donation of a pear tree was designed to mark World Environment Week. ‘We were looking at ways of trying to make a difference this week and we’re aware that many people were unhappy about the pear trees going. Replacing the tree, alongside making something positive out of the old timber, seemed the right thing to do.’
Three mountain ash trees were also planted nearby.
Caption: Chainsaw carver Thomas Craggs working on the pear sculpture.
published on: 6th August 2008