Charred Crossed Egg

Charred Cross Egg demonstrates how many of Nash's works evolve.

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Photo: Charred Crossed Egg by David Nash

Charred Crossed Egg (2008, charred oak) in the Gardens at Kew

Date and material

  • 2008
  • Charred oak
Photo: Making Charred Cross Egg
Making Charred Cross Egg in Blaenau Ffestiniog, North Wales (Photo by David Nash)

An evolving sculpture

Charred Cross Egg was first shown as an uncharred work, but Nash says, 'I knew there was more to do.' He continued to work on it, re-carving it into a spire-like shape, cutting crosses into the surface and charring it.

Nash never sees his works as fixed or finished, instead he lets them evolve; 'I will show (the sculpture) in its first state, knowing that I can take it further when shown the next time. The assumption is that an artist always shows the finished, precious object... it's much looser than that.'

He knew that this piece would eventually be charred to stop the wood from going grey and to emphasise its form, but decided to first show it in its uncharred state. Made for an exhibition in Lewes, Sussex, it was vandalised when on display. But Nash turned this situation on its head and saw it as an opportunity to create something different. He used the cross, a motif common in our culture, to punctuate its simple shape and take the sculpture further. He then charred it to emphasise the crosses and create a true black silhouette.

Photo: Cross-shaped cutouts on Charred Cross Egg
Cross-shaped cutouts on Charred Cross Egg (Photo by David Nash)

Making Charred Cross Egg

Nash pinned different sizes of cardboard cut-outs onto the sculpture and shuffled them around to find the right configuration, decreasing. He then drew them up and carved each one with a chainsaw. The charring also helped him to 'see' the crosses as he worked.

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