Our mighty oak sculpture
In the summer of 2020 the large oak tree on the village green in Nailsea planted in the reign of Queen Victoria was felled.
All that was left was a stump.
On Monday morning, May 10, a chainsaw sculptor Andy O'Neill who is based in Bristol, but travels nationally bringing storm damaged and diseased trees back to life arrived in Nailsea.
Commissioned by Nailsea Town Council environment and leisure commitee and allotted a budget of £2,500 work began on the project initiated by newly elected council vice-chairman Emily Miller.
Originally Andy had been in graphic design, but his love of the outdoors led him to train as a tree surgeon.
The combination of these two skills led him to carve out a path in chainsaw sculpting, after being inspired by an artist at the Glastonbury Festival.
Andy arrived to start fashioning the stump into a lasting memorial in the shape of woodland creatures.
Planted more than 100 years ago in 1897 to commemorate the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria it was one of the oldest oak trees in the town.
The oak tree outside the Royal Oak is thought to have been planted seven years earlier and another on Nailsea Park is believed to be at least 200 years old.
You can read the original story on the August 2020 front page archived HERE.
Andy is hoping to finish work on Friday, May 21, but admits that may be a little optimistic.
He said he found signs of disease in the base of the tree.
Our sincere thank you to all the wonderful photographers professional and amateur who contributed to this slideshow which we hope is in chronological order starting with the latest shot first...like the carving this gallery is a work in progress...more to come.
Penultimate day Thursday, May 20
Chainsaw sculptor Andy O’Neill is still hoping to finish work on the woodland creatures’ artwork he is creating out of the felled oak tree stump on Nailsea village green on Friday, May 21.
He said he is amazed at the interest as many, many people have stopped to chat and praise his creation.
Andy said some have expressed concern about potential vandalism and asked about whether the finished item will be oiled or varnished.
He told Nailsea People neither as the oak is full of water and will take some time to dry out completely.
Any coating now will seal in the moisture and it will rot the structure.
The signs of disease discovered in the base will not affect its lifespan as oak is one of most robust of woods, he added.
Many of the admirers have requested the offcuts of wood which will be fashioned in shelving and the like, said Andy.
There are now owls, a squirrel, mice, hedgehogs, bats, and a butterfly visible.
Andy said he didn’t have any plan when he started work he just went where the wood took him.