Travelling through the Crown Range and into Wanaka is one of my most favourite drives. The landscape feels like Mars, isolated and surrounded by baron beauty. The lake is the heart and soul of Wanaka, surrounded by snow capped mountains adventure sports are the main attraction.
A few years back while I was travelling I came across a tree that had fallen and hoped it was still there. I searched near by woods to see what I could find and explored new areas that I have not been before.
While walking around Lake Wanaka I came in contact with this rotted out stump, its curves and interesting patterns grabbed my attention. The constitution of the stump left me worried but I wanted to try and see if I could pull come interesting textures. After thirty minutes of sawing and burning I came to the conclusion that it would just not work, I left it to decay into the earth and create new life in the distant future.
My searches in and around the area came up short so I decided to drive out to where I had first seen this stump years ago and crossed my fingers it was still there.
To my relief and joy the fallen tree was still there, although she had reduced in size with locals cutting fire wood from her from previous seasons.
I wasted no time and pulled all my tools out and got to work. My saw was no match for the stump, shorter in length and with several knots of hard wood pushing through made the next few hours a give and take scenario. I had to learn to be patient and work with the tree, not to force my way through but to be guided along her subtle differences. cutting from one side and switching back and forth is less than desired, trying to get a smooth clean cut became impossible. the end result looked like a warped vinyl record, I spend the rest of the afternoon into the evening cutting back and trying to create a somewhat flat surface.
I have not felt more proud pulling this print, every step and every stump is a lesson, on refinement, on patience and on understanding my limits. While I was planing on my hands and knees a local pulled over and asked me what I was doing, I explained and showed some of my previous work. He asked me if I would like to know a bit about the history regarding this tree in particular, I replied with "of course" and he proceeded to explain that a few years ago there was a huge storm that passed the area ravaging the township and surrounding areas, a local teacher was driving home and right before him this tree came crashing down, his car ran straight into the tree flipping his car sending him into the ditch on the side of the road. He narrowly avoided death and came away with only broken bones.
The light was leaving with every pressing, gradually getting darker and darker, pulling the last print around 5:30 pm I packed the car and headed back to Wanaka to clean and pack the car once more.