Crack and Warp Column
Crack and warp columns are a repeated form in Nash's work.
Crack and Warp Column in the Temperate House at Kew Gardens
Date and material
Making Crack and Warp Column
Crack and Warp Column began as a trunk of newly felled lime which Nash then cut on four sides to make a tapering column. Then, with the wood lying horizontally he made cuts along the entire length at regular intervals – all the way round but not all the way through.
Each of these cuts increased the column's surface area enabling the dry surrounding air to quickly evaporate and decrease the water content of the fresh wood. Consequently, the thin layers cracked and warped dramatically. The final sculpture is dictated by the nature of the wood itself.
Nash thinks this is the best column he has made so far. He has positioned the work to mirror the pillar behind it.
Indoors, dry air slowly evaporates the water that the living tree carried; the wood shrinks, it cracks and warps – its natural behaviour.David Nash
How types of wood influence Nash's columns
Trees absorb tonnes of water during their lifetime, so can take years to dry; their wood shrinking, cracking and warping as it does so.
Different types of wood react differently to drying conditions. Nash explores this by using a variety of tree species to make his columns, letting the process continue towards an unknown finishing point. He uses the same process in the Cracking Box displayed in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art.
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