With a good 12 months in the making this has been somewhat of a passion project for Pete Morton.
Researching classical forms it became apparent to Pete that often the attractive forms of Greek and Roman pottery were decorated with stories of gods and men and tales of heroes and battles or depictions of sporting events. All to celebrate faith, heritage and cultural strength.
This piece pays homage to that cultural history by taking advantage of another battle that is being played out in the very wood that it is carved from. Within the substrate of the wood fungal hyphae have been working through the fibres, laying down chemical barriers to protect the territory they inhabit and competing for new territories and more resources. In this instance Xylaria polymorpha and Trametes versicolour are the two main combatants. As they course through the wood and interact with one another they respond by using iron composites to build defences, they protect their water and the cellulose and lignin they hold dear and they forge onward to obtain as much ground before the other can out compete them. All of this is happening hidden deep within the log and until we cut one open we would have never have known. As a conservationist, Pete wanted to tell this story, the world around us is filled with natural trials and tribulations in the race for survival, the right to reproduce and for life itself.
This beautifully spalted piece of beech has been framed on the amphora by two prime white cuts of sycamore. The trees themselves grew not 100m from one another. Each piece had to be turned individually and then seasoned for 6 months, then they were turned again and using a mortis/tenon style coupling they were joined together one piece at a time. Once united the whole form was turned again to complete the flowing shape and grooves were cut in on the foot and around the centre piece. These grooves were filled using a copper powder and cyanoacrolate which is painstakingly added little at a time then sanded back. Once complete the entire form was given a final sanding, a coat with a polymorising oil and buffed using a home made beeswax polish. The “Xylo Polemus”Amphora is named as such because in Greek Xylo translates to wood and Polemus was a divine personification of war.
Postage & Packaging £35 within the UK