A Beautiful Cedar Memorial Sculpture

In the past I’ve created a few memorial pieces. For example, my scupture of Robyn or this robin memorial bench. It’s a beautiful thing as an artist to be able to help someone in their grief and create a meaningful tribute to their loved one. Each time I’ve been asked, it’s truly been a privilege. This recent cedar memorial sculpture was no different…

Chainsaw carver simon o'rourke using a stihl msa220c to create a cedar memorial sculpture of a man with a big beard, hat and glasses.

Honouring a Life

This cedar memorial sculpture is a tribute to a gentleman named Simon. After his sudden passing last year, Simon’s wife made arrangements for a funeral and burial that centred around home and community and included a druid blessing. He was buried on their property on the mountain he loved, and my client created a memorial. She planted trees, bulbs and wild flowers at the site and added a bench. I haven’t seen it, but it sounds beautiful and so peaceful! However, she felt having an image of Simon would be a comfort to her…

My client’s home in rural Wales is a beautiful resting place for Simon

Commissioning the Cedar Memorial Sculpture

My client wanted something that would fit in with the rural setting and began to research tree carvers. Thankfully she found me and liked my work! When she contacted me, she asked me to create a sculpture based on the last photo taken of Simon. She sent a photo of the setting and specified a height of around 30-36″. If you’re asking for a sculpture, it’s extremely helpful to include details like that.

I made the suggestion of a bust (which is what she’d intended thankfully!) as well as some details like leaves, and birds. This was partly for artistic reasons, but also reflected some of Simon’s passions. When my client initially asked about the sculpture, she’d told me a little about Simon. Again, this was helpful as I had a sense of his character and personality that I wanted to ensure the memorial reflected.

Photo of the head and shoulders of a man with a big white beard, white brimmed hat and round glasses. He is casually dressed in a denim shirt and khaki fleece.

Attention to Detail

With all my memorial sculptures, I want to make sure that the finished piece depicts how you want to remember the person. Sometimes that may mean a little bit of back and forth. For example, as I came close to finishing this piece, I realised I didn’t know what the back of Simon’s head looked like and needed to ask my client!

If you’re an artist creating a memorial, I fully recommend checking those kind of details. This testimonial from my client reinforces how important it is:

“Simon O has captured my Simon perfectly…
I know that my husband would have been very proud and honoured by the care and thought which has gone into it.  I will be forever grateful to Simon for creating such a fitting tribute to my beloved soulmate.”

Why a Wood Memorial Sculpture?

So far, the memorials I’ve created have been for gardens or public places. However, a friend recently shared that in her funeral instructions, she’s expressed that she would prefer money wasn’t spent on a gravestone. However, recognising that this may be a helpful focus for her family, has asked them to consider a wood sculpture as an alternative. For her, the sustainability of wood is appealing, as well as her having an appreciation for my work.

It’s worth noting that while this is a lovely idea, there may be a few hoops to jump through. There are often churchyard regulations you’ll have to adhere too. These may include how the sculpture is fixed in the ground as well as restrictions on size and maybe even shape. It’s worth looking into this before approaching an artist to create a memorial.

Photo by Chris Gallagher on Unsplash

Commissioning Your Own Memorial Sculpture

Finally, I understand that commissioning a memorial can feel challenging. It can be hard to talk about a loved one recently lost. Maybe you’ve never commissioned anything unique like this before and aren’t sure how to go about it. The commissioning process is actually quite simple though, and I will do everything I can to hear who the person was and what you want to remember, and create a sculpture that reflects that.

If that’s you, I asked my client what advice she would give:

“I would say to anyone to give him a clear explanation and, if possible, photos of any desired project and Simon will bring it to life.”

If you’re considering a memorial sculpture, do contact me. It will be an honour to help you celebrate and remember your loved one.

If you would like to commission something like this cedar memorial sculpture (or any piece!) please use the form at www.treecarving.co.uk/contact