Brain Scan (Self Portrait)

Dense and Elastic Brain?

I sculpted this piece from a rhododendron root burl that had been bulldozed into a pile of waste wood. It was tagged for burning on a clear-cut logging project in Madison County, NC.

I chose the name Brain Scan early on because of the natural two hemispheres. The (Self Portrait) was added after the five months spent in sculpting and polishing all the nooks and crannies. This was what I envisioned my mental state to look like at completion of the piece.

Without a doubt, rhododendron is the hardest, most dense wood I’ve worked with, but, in addition, it is also elastic. If you try to use a wood carving gouge and mallet to remove material, the blade of the gouge bounces back instead of cutting.

To sculpt this wood, high-speed carbide grinders are the only choice. Then there is the dust – it smells and tastes acrid and foul. But the beauty of the grain color is worth the effort. As a rule, I do not discuss who purchases my work. But Brain Scan is an exception. Read why.


7″ H, 7″ Dia.