Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Knotty Wood...Naughty Wood

Southern Oregon is a land of contrasting taste, opinions, and art. On one hand you have the high class Shakespeare Festival in Ashland on the other you have the a gallery dedicated to strange wooden growths in Kerby. So before we get too far into the realm of high versus low art, it makes sense to explain what a burl is and why people would use it to make wood sculptures.

Basically, you can think of a burl as a tumor on a tree; when you see a lump on a stump or a limb, and it is filled with knots and strange shapes, thats a burl. Ultimately, it changes the texture of the wood grain giving a more decorative look. And well, a more suggestive look in some situations.

In Kerby, Its A Burl (yes I know, they made a typo with their name) highlights this woody malignancy with all of the glory that showing wood can provide. They have long pieces of wood with knots. They have glorious woody holes. 

And they have wood carvers able to shape and shave these pieces into whimsical pieces of nautical erotica. It's hard to see in this photo but the craftsman took time make sure the nipple and areola of the mermaid was well defined.

They even let you know, that "You are the Babe," if you were unaware. 


In anycase, Its a Burl [sic] is a unique complex of wooden art, tree houses, and the esoteric workings of hippies that never quite left the acid behind. It is kind of refreshing to see this in a land where the Tea Party reigns supreme and meth is more popular than God, Jesus, and Country. 

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