Phase 1 - Boundary Oak

It started with an Exhibition Open Call to Artists, at the Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek, that would be interested in using their artistic talent, to create something from pieces of a 325 year old Oak tree.


If a Tree Falls: Art of the Boundary Oak – a Bedford Gallery Community Exhibition

Signup deadline: November 19, 2020

Material Pickup: November 20 – 23, 2020

Deadline to submit final work for consideration: September 3, 2021

Exhibition dates: October 29, 2021 – February 6, 2022 (subject to change)

Bedford Gallery’s community exhibition, If a Tree Falls: Art of the Boundary Oak will memorialize the City of Walnut Creek’s iconic Valley Oak, historically named the Boundary Oak. The massive tree, which once marked the boundary line separating Contra Costa County and Walnut Creek, was sadly destroyed during a fierce windstorm in October 2019. In honor of the tree’s life and history, which experts say spanned 325 years, artists are invited to create artwork from its beautiful wood. The resulting community exhibition will showcase a wide range of artworks crafted from our beloved oak, celebrating the grand tree’s full life.


I picked out a part of the tree the yardman would slice for me. I was looking for "character" a unique marking and found an area that had a hole in it. The bark was dark and gnarly and was around the center hole and the outer layer of the slice of Oak. He cut 2 pieces for me and I was set. I had hoped for more pieces to work with and create a few items from, so I could decide what to submit for exhibition because it still needed to be juried. You see, just making something doesn't get you into the exhibition, your item has to be judged as good enough to exhibit and there would be a limited amount of pieces accepted no matter how good. I was told I could have only 2 pieces, so I asked to be put on a list if there were extra pieces left over. Good thinking Claudette! About a month later I got an e-mail letting me and a couple of other artists, that another artist had extra pieces and if we wanted them to get in touch with him. I did so immediately and to my surprise he was given an extremely large chunk of this Oak tree and divided it into many pieces, more than he could possibly use. Hmmm why did he get such a large offering...? Fortunately he shared it with us and I chose the largest wedge I could carry myself and walk away with.


Pictured are the pieces I have to work with in their original shape and finish.


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