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Tallest Tree in Wales Becomes a Giant Hand

The tree had been damaged by a storm and was going to be cut down, but artist Simon O’Rourke persuaded the authorities to let him transform the tree into an eye-catching sculpture.

“I was really excited at the prospect of carving this giant and creating a memorial for such a well-known landmark,” O’Rourke explains. “I began researching the area and found the area of woodland that contained the tree was known as the Giants of Vyrnwy. This got me thinking and I decided on a giant hand, symbolising the giants, and the tree’s last attempt to reach for the sky!”

To craft such an impressive piece required the right tools and a strong work ethic. “A scaffold was needed to make it safe to work on, and the terrain was such a difficult one that it took two days to erect the scaffold,” the artist recalls. “Six days of intense work followed using chainsaws and grinders. I needed to add two pieces for the thumb and little finger, as the tree wasn’t wide enough to form the whole hand.” Once complete, O’Rourke coated the sculpture in tung oil, which is a natural plant-based oil that’s safe for the environment.

He has called his woodland creation, which is 50 feet tall, the Giant Hand of Vyrnwy. The base of the sculpture is a standard tree; but as you gaze upward, it begins to shed its bark and eventually becomes the smooth skin of the arm and ends with the gentle creases found in the palm and fingers.

You can follow Simon O'Rourke on Instagram. Or check out his website.

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