Bespoke Wildlife Pillar Sculpture Made with Chainsaws

Last year my clients’ Blue Atlas Cedar became dangerous. It was leaning over the house and had to be cut back, leaving a 12′ stump perfect for a sculpture! They contacted me to give it new life as a bespoke wildlife pillar. Read on to find out more…

Blue Atlas cedar with the atlas mountains in the background

Bespoke Wildlife Pillar: The Brief

My clients asked me to turn the stump something that would find a balance between standing out as a piece of art and blending into its surroundings in our paddock.  They asked me to include flowers and animals usually found there.  Initially, they asked for a pheasant near the bottom. However, they sadly lost their dog the week before I started work, so decided to include him instead. Oh, and for Star Wars fans, you might even spot a porg!

Even though it’s a wildlife pillar, the beauty of commissioning a bespoke piece is that it’s unique to you. If you want to sneak in a porg because it means somethng to you, then let’s go for it!

A bespoke wildlife pillar carved into a blue atlas cedar stump by simon o'rourke. There are butterflies, leaf texture, rabbits and a Star Wars Porg!
Part of the beauty of a bespoke sculpture is fitting
in details unique to your preferences – like this Porg!

Settling on a Design

Every bespoke wildlife pillar is different. To see what I mean, visit the blogs about the jubilee pillar, Capenhurst woodland pillar, or the Jungle Throne. On thing that’s the same though is that it’s always a challenge to create a composition that works with multiple elements without leaving too many blank spaces. As well as the porg, my clients and I settled on including owls, rabbits, squirrels, butterflies, bees, a fox, flowers and ivy.  Oh, and their dog! Once that list was settled I just needed to work out where I could fit them all!

I mixed the elements up with texture sections interspersed with the sculptures. Texture is a great way to fill in any spaces that shouldn’t be there, such as the small honeycomb section to the left of the butterflies.

Photo of a bespoke wildlife pillar by chainsaw carver simon o'rourke. it features leaf and honeycomb textures as well as a series of butterflies.

Tips for Carving in Relief

This particular bespoke wildlife pillar has both 3D elements and relief carvings in it. I think overall it’s a nice mix. Carving in relief is a little different to making a 3D sculpture. If you facny trying relief carving, my tip is to cut deeper around the outline of the subject. This will really make it stand out.
It’s also important because in an outdoor environment, the light is often diffused. This means subtle depth differences just look flat. Exaggerating the separation of forms will help to bring the shallow relief carvings to life. Sculpture always works best with a strong directional light so this is a way of enhancing it in diffused light.

Bottom of a bespoke wildlife pillar carved into a blue atlas cedar stump. It features a fox carved in relief.

The Finished Wildlife Pillar

This was a lovely little project to work on. It was nice to create some of the typical wildlife, but also add those unique touches like the porg and my clients’ dog and truly make it their own. The dog actually turned out to be very meaningful for my clients too…

We had anticipated getting something that looked like the same breed, but the genuine likeness of our dog that Simon managed to achieve actually left us quite choked up.”     

So, aside from the dog, what did my clients think?

Apart from being delighted with the end result, the experience of having Simon do this piece for us was also a pleasure – he’s just a really nice bloke.  If you are considering having a carving done, then we would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Simon.”

If you have tree in your garden that is no longer viable, and you want to give it new life as a sculpture, then do get in touch. It will be a pleasure to create something unqique and meaningful to you to enhance your garden. Contact me using the form at and someone will be in touch!

Have a great weekend, and click on the link to go for a walk around the finished pillar…