X = Xyloglyphy

For today’s X-word I needed to hit the dictionary and fell upon this obscure word (except perhaps in A-Z Challenges) – xyloglyphy – which refers to artistic wood carving  …. not to be confused with xylography which is the art of engraving on wood.  Confused?

I like to think of it (rightly or wrongly) as – xyloglyphy is creating something FROM wood rather than ON it. It sounds like splitting hairs but I’m going to run with it.

I don’t consider myself even remotely artistic so as a result, I’m in awe of people who can create something from ‘nothing’.  The wonderful three-dimensional pieces of art developed from a plain piece of wood fascinate me with their creative, intricate designs.

I love wood and I have a particular fondness for totem poles.  Terri and James at Gallivance.net wrote about the city of Biloxi, Mississippi which commissioned the creation of tree art from the many dead stumps left behind by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  Technically I guess they aren’t traditional totem poles, but I like to think of them that way.

I’ve since discovered that other communities – including the city of Mississauga close to home – have also commissioned similiar works of art.  I’m hoping this is a trend that will catch on – turning once noble trees into art to be admired for years to come.

Photo taken in Wiarton, Ontario

Photo taken in Wiarton, Ontario



About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
This entry was posted in A-Z Challenge - 2014, Random Stuff and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to X = Xyloglyphy

  1. Thanks so much Joanne for the link to our post and the photo you included. You’ve certainly introduced me to a new word, and composed a great post in the process. ~James @ Gallivance.net


    • joannesisco says:

      Thanks James – I loved the message of your post and was happy to share it.
      Xyloglyphy was a great word to stumbled upon but I’m not sure I’ll ever get to use it again though 🙂


  2. sinewavelife says:

    You taught me something! Thanks for an interesting post!


  3. Well you dug deep for that one! Never heard that word before. Interesting!


  4. That seahorse looks amazing. It must not have been easy to do structurally.


  5. M-R says:

    I’m sure your ‘guess’ is right, Joanne ! And I agree wholeheartedly with you about making treestumps into something nice: that last one’s pretty damned good !! 🙂


  6. Love the photo from Wiarton! There’s lots of carving material after our ice storm with so many sad stumps lining the roads – wouldn’t it be great if some of those were transformed! I know that natural furniture makers are harvesting some of the oldest that fell and creating lovely table tops from them. Great word.


  7. Kathe W. says:

    I always tought making a totem pole out of a tree that had to be cut down was a great idea!


  8. I discovered some lovely ones at Crawford Lake last fall. A lovely art form, for sure.


  9. nancytex2013 says:

    When the 5 homes on my street were built 14 years ago, on a patch of land that was previously crown land/conservation – a lot of trees had to come down. My next door neighbour, a real nature lover, commissioned a carving from a large tree on his front lawn (which would have died from the construction). Unfortunately, he didn’t follow the carver’s advice about either a) allowing the tree to dry out sufficiently, pre-carving; or b) to remove the tree from the root, carve it, then mount it. In ignoring the carver’s recommendations, my neighbour ended up with a tree that was still too green/living – and it eventually turned black, despite the varnish and finishes.

    It’s a real shame because it started out a very precise and detailed carving of an eagle, clutching a salmon in its talon and flying away. Now it’s barely recognizable.


    • joannesisco says:

      That’s a real shame. Why go through the trouble and expense of commissioning a piece of art and then ignoring the artist’s recommendations?
      … but thanks – I had wondered about what, if any, pre-work was needed on a tree stump before carving.


  10. sueslaght says:

    Beautiful Joanne. As you know I am on the hunt for totem poles/wood carvings. When James and Terri did their post I was delighted to see they are in Biloxi too. 🙂


  11. I love totem poles too! When I first moved here, I wanted a smaller version for my garden 🙂 xx


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