Allen Stichler – Wood Carving

Bespoke Ornamental Wood Carvings & Tree Sculpture

    Jun 05

Sensory Garden Carvings at Jubilee Park, Woodhall Spa

This was really something different ~ I was asked to carve a long handrail (almost 4 metres) for a new sensory garden at Jubilee Park, Woodhall Spa, making sure the design was as tactile as possible and incorporating lots of elements from the site and the history of the village.

Jubilee Park has heated outdoor pools, cricket, bowls, croquet and tennis teams, and an impressive bandstand; nearby is “Kinema in the Woods” ~ dating from 1922, it’s the only fully functioning cinema in the UK to employ back projection ~ and in addition to all this there is the part that RAF Station Woodhall Spa played in World War 2. So…plenty to go on!

Mick at Jubilee Park had organised the timber for the carving ~ Siberian larch to match the wall cladding in the garden area ~ and initially I thought it may restrict any amount of detail in the work; once the rough-sawn outer layer was sanded down it became apparent that with some care and attention to grain it would be a pleasant carving experience. More often than not I work with rock-hard seasoned oak, so the nice soft Siberian larch made a nice change and gave my wrists and elbows a rest!

  Sanding back the rough outer layer of the larch.

  Preparing to scale up my drawings and transfer them onto the timber.

  Once the design was drawn on, I cut the profile around all the shapes on the top edge to give the handrail an interesting look ~ and to make the surfaces as tactile as possible.

  Chipping away! It was relatively quick work to rough out big areas, especially with a mallet; most of the finishing carving could be done with the gouges alone.

Lots of different textures, shapes and depths.

We’d decided to also have two pairs of vertical panels at either end of the handrail, again as tactile as possible ~ but also the aim was to have something to lead the viewer’s eye around the corner to the sensory garden. I started on the right-hand panels first, with a design based on the Lancaster Bomber.

  The two panels will be fixed next to each other when installed . The Lancaster Bomber was to be left as a silhouette with the cloud plumes  swirling in the background.

For the left hand panels I came up with the idea of a small boy peeping around the corner towards the garden, and a roll of film relating to the Kinema in the Woods.

  Cutting around the profile gives the impression the boy’s looking around the wall.


  Almost finished …

…just the addition of some bowls and croquet on the film cells.

Mick taking snaps of the finished handrail. He’ll oil it all when it’s installed.


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