Eucalyptus Muse

Twisted Heart and the Eucalyptus Muse
Permanent Installation 
Montalvo Art Center, Saratoga California
Carved Eucalyptus

Twisted Heart and the Eucalyptus Muse refers to the dream that many early Lumber Barons had of a species of wood that would repopulate the timber clear cutting methods of the 19th and early 20th century. After a “timber rush” where Millions of Eucalyptus were imported from Australia and planted in California the wood turned out to be unusable; It dried too fast, dries poorly, cracks and the carpenters of the day could not even drive nails into it.

This seating element caps the end of the Phelan Cactus garden and becomes a resting point at the very end of Montalvo’s property. Two Blue-Gum Eucalyptus trees were cut down fifty feet adjacent to the site. The growth rings match exactly to the date that the Phelan estate was constructed.

With these physical characteristics in mind, this work is expected to change over time. Unlike its very stable and usable neighbor the Native California Redwood, this wood will change as it dries and settles; it will twist, crack and warp eventually settling into a state of rest.

To this day, Californian’s hold a wide spectrum of opinions, fact and emotion on the future of Eucalyptus. As we sit after a long walk around the estate we can participate in this conversation, reflect our own thoughts and emotions and watch how history and nature changes over time.