Bog art up for barter

Posted on: 10th March, 2014

Category: Features

Contributor: Mary O'Brien

Leap artist Gary Snelling wants to exchange one of his sculptures for a roadworthy vehicle.

Leap artist Gary Snelling wants to exchange one of his sculptures for a roadworthy vehicle.

Times are tough and Gary Snelling, an artist in Leap, has reacted to this by offering one of his beautiful bog wood sculptures in exchange for a trusty steed, preferably one with wheels. This is not a fanciful notion, but one driven by necessity — Gary needs a roadworthy vehicle to enable him to earn his living. Without transport he is unable to convey his sculptures to the markets in West Cork, where he can sell them.

Lovingly crafted from 5000 year-old bog wood, these unique sculptures are stunning works of art that would bring any space to life. After initial discovery, each piece of wood is cleaned, seasoned and sanded to get it ready for oiling, waxing and mounting. “It’s a long process,” says Gary “ but the result really justifies the journey.”

Many of the pieces are married with rocks or stones, also indigenous to West Cork.

Gary started creating the sculptures after he literally tripped over an old knarled bog oak root a few years ago. He took it home and after cleaning off the existing peat, was amazed at the natural beauty of the piece.

Bog wood is a material from trees that have been buried in peat bogs and preserved from decay by the acidic and anaerobic bog conditions, sometimes for hundreds or even thousands of years. The wood is usually stained brown by tannins dissolved in the acidic water. It is a rare form of timber that is comparable to some of the world’s most expensive tropical hardwoods. Bog wood represents the early stages in the fossilisation of wood, with further stages ultimately forming lignite and coal over a period of many millions of years.

Gary also makes handcrafted wands out of bog oak and other Irish hard woods “to spread a little bit of magic”. These cost just €15 so make a very affordable gift, particularly for Harry Potter fans.

Gary’s bog wood sculptures range in price from €400 to €4,000.

If you would like to contact Gary about his work please call 086 3615314.

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