With his huge sculpture of a hand emerging from a tree stump, the artist Simon O’Rourke gives new significance to a ‘palm tree.’
Titled Vyrnwy ‘s Giant Hand, the piece measures 50 feet in height and turns in front of your eyes. A typical tree is the pillar of the sculpture; but when you look upward, it starts to lose its bark and gradually becomes the arm’s smooth skin and finishes with the soft creases found in the palm and fingers. This transformation seems as though a giant is struggling to crack his way up on planet Earth.
O’Rourke explained how he was really excited at the prospect of carving the giant palm tree, and thus creating such a well-known landmark in that area. He also explains how the process began by researching the area. Once he found the right area that contained this tree (that was known as the Giants of Vyrnwy), he got the idea to carve a giant hand in one of the trees, to symbolize the giants, as well as the tree’s last attempt to reach for the sky!
It’s not easy to craft such an impressive piece of work and needless to say, a lot of strong work ethic is required. O’Rourke explains that in order for him to be able to make it safe for him to work on, he needed a scaffold, but it took two days to set up that scaffold because the terrain was so difficult. Using chainsaws and grinders, six days of hard work followed. He wanted to add two thumb and little finger bits because the tree wasn’t wide enough to make up the whole side.
When finished, O’Rourke coated the sculpture in tung oil, which is an environmentally friendly natural plant-based oil.
Aside from being an impressive piece of art, for O’Rourke, the process was a valuable reminder. “I enjoyed working on the sculpture of the side, it showed me how tiny we are compared to some of the planet’s living creatures,” he said. “All in all, a humbling experience!”, he added.