Printing an Oak Tree Stump at Allen Banks, Northumberland

March 12, 2018

Whilst visiting the site of the Oak tree which fell at Allen Banks and from which I was kindly given a round to print, I noticed a rather interesting tree stump of another oak tree.  Having been given permission to print it, I then needed to wait for the 'Beast from the East' snow to melt! I was snowed in for days!

Finally a sunny day on Friday 9th March. I set up my 'workstation' on a very steep hillside next to the stump. Sanding the tree, then wire brushing it clean, and sealing with shellac took a few hours. And I was very tired! But I needed to see if it was worthwhile so I did a test print- and it was! 

I decided that I needed to buy a cordless sander to save my arms! and I also need a way to keep the paper perfectly and securely still on the tree- if it moves the slightest bit the print is spoilt. I can hold it still but I will need to rest at times as this tree is so large. I remembered my staple gun, and think that should work well without interfering with the image.

I did one large print on Sunday- and next time I return I will do the whole round- it is a very interesting shape and very large. I am using Fabriano paper which I have on a large roll. I also need an effective way of covering the muddy areas, and the damp middle section of the tree which isn't printable to stop them marking the paper.

oak tree stump

                        The tree stump is very varied so it will be an interesting journey.

In the process of burning the surface and before wire brushing it clear.

Nice and clean ready for inking.

Ink applied and ready to go! I stapled the paper which worked very well, and it took more than an hour to hand burnish every millimetre.  My hand sanding worked well considering, but I think I will sand the 'complicated' area some more so that I can isolate just what belongs to the tree and what to the forester.

oak tree printing

 What a complex tree, like people! How different to the oak round I have already printed where there is a regularity and uniform repeat of the pattern of its life. This tree has had a complex time and is full of contradictions. 

As I was printing on a steep hillside- I only had a couple of places to put my feet. I heard the birds and felt the breeze, but only saw the paper and felt what I was rubbing underneath.

Walking home, a flash of a white tail and a deer jumps away into the woods. It was twilight by the time I left at 6.15pm.

Visiting again I filmed the location of the fallen Oak which the round has come from, and many thanks for the photos of me, taken by ©Lizzie Songhirst.


shona branigan oak tree printing shou Sugi ban

shona branigan oak tree printing shou  Sugi ban

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