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Charles Smalligan's avatar Charles Smalligan

"Horseplay" is a one-piece carving completed from the trunk of a wild black cherry tree. The 65-year-old tree was a victim of straight-line winds near Fremont, Michigan, in 1995. A living tree is a wonderful example of stately grace and fluid motion, but what would be the fate of a tree twisted and lying on the ground--compost, firewood, or art? I chose art but my ideas had to wait for over a decade while the log dried. I decided to give this carving the same characteristics as the living tree by creating a group of running horses. My original ideas were in a state of constant flux because of the natural blemishes, cracks, and imperfections which revealed themselves as the work progressed. After approximately 825 hours of work, and a few thousand grey hairs, the tree has another chance to inspire us with its elegance and beauty. The warmth of the wood brings life to the horses, and, like the wind, the young brave may also become a determining factor in their ultimate fate.

Entry Details
  • Art form: 3-D
  • Depth: 31"
  • Medium: Wood
  • Width: 18"
  • Year created: 2006
  • Height: 15"