Beautiful Mahogany

Most beautiful mahogany ever.

I have been carving wood for 50 years, I enjoy carving woods with distinct grains, the grain sometimes dictate the forms I carve. Never have I experienced more beautiful mahogany than the last remaining piece of the historic Old Anguilla Tree, I bought in 1980 from the gentleman on whose land the grew.

The trunk was sitting at the back of his house from 1971, when the tree fell; From information gathered from a 102-year-old gentleman I estimated the age of the tree was around 300 years old. A crane and a heavy-duty flat bed truck was hired to move the wood to my yard.

The first of my carvings from the tree was donated to the government of Anguilla by the then English governor. And was sitting in the house of assembly in the beginning and later moved to the chief ministers’ office that was the last time I saw it, the third carving was bought as a gift it Albert Lake the gentleman I bought the wood from; the fourth carving was bought as a gift to Mr Ronald Webster, better known as the father Of the nation.

The remainder of the wood is being used to carve small hearts, touch hand sculptures, birds and fish.

The following is part of an article written by a noted local historian for The Anguilla NEWSPAPER celebrating Anguilla Day.


“Like Anguillians, two renowned unique trees, though not indigenous to Anguilla, played significant roles in the Island’s culture and its history. These were the Mahogany tree and the Milky Thorn tree.

The Mahogany tree was actually the name given to the central area of business and commerce, where peasant farmers, fishermen, butchers and other vendors sold their goods in an era when Anguilla was but a stranger to economic development.

This tree provided a central place where public notices were posted and important meetings were held. It was one of the key places on the Island for casual social interaction.

The tree was the scene where Island folk from all walks of life chanced to meet and chat about Island issues.

The Mahogany tree was the site of one of the Island’s main stand pipes where many way-worn travelers would stop to “cup their hands” and bow a bit to savor a cool, refreshing drink of water.

” It has been the scene of many Island stories, and it had heard many stories from the folk who gathered beneath its faithful bows.


15 Comments


  1. Thank you for this interesting article.  I really didn’t know of the historical significance the mahogany tree played in Anguilla.  I’m also fascinated as to the history your own carvings have.  It’s a shame you lost track of the first one.  I bet it has a much longer story to tell.

    I love mahogany and actually have a few carvings myself.  One of my favorites being a shark (I’m a SCUBA diver so I tend to gravitate toward marine life).

    Thank you again,

    Scott

    Reply

    1. Yes the mahogany tree played  an integral part in the history of Anguilla. I wish I knew where that carving is. I love mahogany , unfortunately is is now a protected species, Sapele mahogany is available, but is not as rich  and a good substitute. Anguilla is great for scuba diving, you must visit us one day. All the best.

      Reply

  2. Nothing is as beautiful as seeing a perfectly structured art but the feeling is not as intense as being the one that creates such a beautiful art. Seriously, I couldn’t have imagined there’s much to the history of mahogany in Aguilar. Also, I’m sorry about losing the first work you did. However, I have a friend who engages in carving too. I would suggest him to read this post too because I also enjoyed reading it especially your history. Thanks for sharing it to the world. Cheers

    Rodger

    Reply

  3. That mahogany certainly is beautiful.  A three hundred year old tree which you mentioned reminds me of the redwoods in Northern California where I previously lived for years.  Just amazing and quite magnificent.  

    You have certainly created some wonderful carvings.  It is so interesting you learn all this history behind the mahogany tree in Anguilla.  

    I have seen carvings made by people who I have known over the years and really appreciate your talent in able to bring the art hidden within the wood.  Thanks so much.

    Reply

    1. Thank you, at my age I can carve all day, every day and feel total satisfaction. We need appreciative people like you to keep stoking the creative fire. Thanks a million.

      Reply

  4. What a wonderful story you have to share. The pleasure you have gained from this tree trunk is remarkable
    in what you have done, pieces that will last forever.
    Here in Australia, we have similar experiences with a redwood called Jarrah. Trees that are many years old felled to make way for progress.
    This is really the art of making history.

    Keep up the good work and perhaps add some new pages to your story.

    Peter H

    Reply

    1. Thanks Peter, I have thoroughly enjoyed my 50 years of Art, a little regret for not continuing me teaching career, when I see where education is today and the lack of respect for children and teachers from both sides. and the lack of change over the years. Trees are very powerful, we need to learn how to benefit from them more than we do today. It’s like music now being used for therapy.

      Reply

  5. Thanks for this enlightening piece about the mahogany wood, your fascinating sculptures and Anguilla. 

    This brings back some pleasant childhood memories for me. I grew up in Ile-Ife, Nigeria (West Africa) which is famous for astonishingly realistic human sculptures made from bronze and terra cotta from 100 of years ago. 

    As a child, I remember going to the local university exhibition of sculptures where a renowned artist in that part of the world performed a live carving in front of the audience. It was remarkable to see the intended object emerging our of the wood. But it takes a loooot of patience as it took a number of of hours for him to finish the sculpture. Have you considered doing a video of your carving? A well edited video can be a good way to promote this incredible art.. 

    Once again, thanks for sharing. 

    Kind regards 

    Femi

    Reply

    1. Thanks for visiting, I am one of those people who adore African art and is very upset about the terms primitive  art and modern art, when modern art was inspired (copied) from African art. Carving for me is a personal experience and a silent dialogue between myself, the material, the tools and nature; that I do not even allow my wife to interrupt me when I am carving; Plus I have redesigned power tools to suit my style, which  is very dusty. I look like a man from Mars,  my studio is on a half acre vacant lot where I often carve in the open air; but I may consider a video one day.Thanks for the suggestion. the art speaks for itself.

      Reply

  6. Wow! What a wonderful historical article about Mahogany!I heared about Mahogany tree from my childhood but never thought about there could be some history for a tree as well.As a Asian I know how precious Mahogany for us.But today I have learned actually very interesting and informative topic.

    Thanks for let us know about Mahogany.

    Reply

  7. Wow, I really love your work.  I don’t know how, but you make wood like rich dark chocolate!  It is great that your work has been displayed in the government houses of Anguilla.  And I really love the story of how you got the tree, from the old gentleman’s story and how you hauled the tree out with the a flat bed and a crane.  I love that you have such a great back story to your art.  Thank you for this truly wonderful post.  RhondaLeigh

    Reply

    1. Thank you, The central Bank in Barbados also acquired the largest sculpture I ever carved, and President Reagan was presented with a sculpture as a gift by the Government of Barbados on his visit to Barbados. I often wondered where it is today; I wished they had allowed me to choose the sculpture; so be it. I am trying to carve all the old mahogany I have left, I am not getting any younger. Enjoy your day.

      Reply

  8. I love wooden art.  I am a wood hobbyist, I love making all kinds of interesting things with dolf wood.  I have not tried mahogany yet.    I have to say, the grain and the colors of the mahogany are absolutely beautiful.  I have to give a piece a try someday.  Interesting article, your carvings are beautiful, as is the Mahogany wood.  

    Reply

    1. Thank you, I’m afraid mahogany is being protected and is hard to find these days, my collection is thirty years and under, you can buy sapele mahogany as a substitute, which is not as rich but available. I just bought a board to see what it is like.All the best.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *