Flame Column

When Nash first saw this fat, straight trunk of oak from Sussex he wanted to carve a column.

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Photo of Flame Column by David Nash

Flame Column at Kew Gardens

Date and material

  • 2012
  • Charred oak

Making Flame Column

This trunk of oak had looked promising to Nash but on stripping the bark and sapwood, he revealed several imperfections. Cutting them out suggested this form. To begin with, each fissure ran straight down, but charring caused some to burn though and interlink. Nash says this gave him the idea to do more – joining up his cuts to reveal flashes of light coming through the work. 'Flame Column is an irony,' he says. 'There was a fire in the process of doing it but it's black and a flame isn't black. As you walk by you get flashes of light coming through; when you're approaching it there is no light, so I positioned it especially for that, so when you get to a point you just get a hint of light and with another three paces you get a big flash of light.'

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