This month, tree sculpture artist Chris Cruickshank began his transformation on the remains of the great tree that once stood outside the Monroe-Walton Center for the Arts building.
It is not Cruickshank’s first tree sculpture in downtown Monroe. He has another standing on the corner of Spring and Wayne streets commissioned by the Roe he calls “the Circle of Friends” and a stump sculpture in Childers Park.
This latest tree trunk carving was commissioned by the MWCA.
“Come on out to downtown Monroe and check out the new landmark and help support local artists by shopping the one of a kind creations in the MWCA holiday gallery,” Cruickshank posted on social media – along with a photograph of him working on this latest project.
This work of art is not, however, an indiscriminate attack on an otherwise healthy tree.
“This tree was dying and losing limbs so the city decided it needed to come down. Fortunately, we had some grant money provided for public art, and a fantastic sculptor, Chris Cruikshank, eager to sculpt this tree into something beautiful,” MWCA director Hope Reese said. “And … if you know us … you’ll find some things near and dear to us in the tree … squirrels, gnomes, mandalas, among other things … come by and take a look!”
The squirrel carving in the tree is a tribute to Oliver Weft, a baby squirrel that fell out of the great tree back in the day and was rescued by members of MWCA.
When he was carving the tree trunk on the corner of Spring and Wayne Streets, Cruickshank, who calls himself the Landwhisperer, explained that tree carving was his passion.
“I have been creating creatures and characters in wood for several decades – and I especially like to carve totems. Working with these stumps and trunks gives dead trees another life, provides visual interest for the community and offers an opportunity to share a message. This approach provides an alternative to traditional tree removal and stump grinding, typically done in our society.”
You can find some more of Cruickshank’s art works at https://www.instagram.com/landwhisperer/