TV celebrity John Craven was present to unveil one of the biggest wood-carvings in Staffordshire a few days ago – and the artist who created it is local man Anthony Hammond !
Many of us know Anthony. You’ll see him every year at Draycott Fayre where he puts on wood-working demonstrations making fantastic carvings of animals out of tree-trunks.
Also, you might well know his family, who have lived in Cresswell for many years.
The story of the carving project goes back to the time when a giant Cedar Of Lebanon tree, which was growing on a Staffordshire Wildlife Trust site near Stafford, was damaged in a storm.
Rather than chop down the tree the Trust asked Anthony if he could carve something out of it. No problem, said Anthony.
The resulting massive sculpture was carved from the trunk of the tree – which measures over 8 feet across and 25 feet in height. The Trust thinks the artwork must be the largest of its kind in Staffordshire.
The project took around 8 days to complete and was carved entirely with a chainsaw.
Themed on the birds, animals and other wildlife at the reserve, it includes carvings of a kingfisher, water vole, crayfish and otters.
Recognising that it was a great piece of work, the Trust organised a big event to publicise its completion – which is when John Craven, the presenter of the BBC’s Countryfile programme, turned up to do the official unveiling.
However, Mr Craven was not the most important person there – that role went to proud Mum, Rose Hammond…!
Talking to us about the project, Anthony said: “In just a few days since being unveiled, the piece has already become a real landmark on the site.
“John Craven was a lovely chap; and he was even willing to do a little bit of carving on the feature!”
Photos courtesy of Chris Barnes
If you too want to see the carving, just head along to Staffordshire Wildlife Trust’s base at Wolseley Bridge near Stafford, which is open to the public free of charge.
The project was funded by SWT and the Cannock AONB.