From the Forest Floor
Contemporary Burl Art by John W. Hoyt
My Burl Art creations emerge from dead and down wood, collected from the forests near Prescott AZ. A burl is a tree growth in which the grain has grown in a deformed manner. It is commonly found in the form of a rounded outgrowth on a tree trunk or root that is filled with small knots from dormant buds. Burls yield a very peculiar and highly figured wood, prized for its beauty and rarity. I gather specimens from the most common trees in the area: Oak, Manzanita, Alligator Juniper and Black Walnut are most often used in my creations.
I search for wood disfigured by decomposition: fallen trees rotting in the woods, covered by moss and dirt, often eaten by insects; these have a special character, color and depth. I find inspiration working with the irregular shapes and unknown interiors of the burls. Carving and polishing reveals intricate patterns and unexpected interior beauty. I finish with an organic, natural edge that remains true to the original shape of the burl.
The burls vary in color, shape and size, and therefore all are unique originals. Each piece is hand carved, with a hand-rubbed oil finish, giving them a warm, velvet appearance. My Burl Art is never machine turned. Like a fine painting, each is an individual expression of art.
John was born in Texas and later attended high school in Glendale, AZ. He was exposed to the wonder and beauty of wilderness from an early age. His father instilled in him a deep respect for nature and the wild through hiking and camping.
He fell in love with his wife Melissa and after high school they moved to Hawaii, He found employment as a skilled contractor, fisherman, surfer and ocean diver. In 2003 the couple was blessed with a daughter Alana. For 20 years they lived an idyllic life immersed in the Hawaiian culture with a powerful connection to the Islands.
Injury and resulting recovery necessitated the decision to return to Arizona, and family. However misfortune often begets opportunity and while exploring the beautiful mountains of Prescott an artist was discovered, the idea of creating art from downed burl wood took form. John W. Hoyt found his calling…