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The Last Tree

A Prophetic Tree (part 3)

If you read the last 2 posts you will have some insight into the sculpture I am making for an exhibition at Delamore House, Devon  in May. In response to the very sad and destructive fungal disease causing ash dieback, I have now finished my “remembrance” sculpture/seat. It retraces the path back to the Viking age telling the story of Yggdrasill (the ash tree) from Nordic Mythology.

In the last post I had completed the mosaic around the tree trunk and one of the views looked like this:view-of-ash without top

(Don’t be alarmed at the yellow stain on the wood where I spilled some cement colour!)

You may wonder what the hole in the top is for ……………………

Go on then ……I wonder , wonder , wonder …maybe it’s for an ash tray? Ha, ha ha!!!

No, not an ash tray, a nest. You have to imagine that the ash tree trunk has rotted inside and a bird has made its nest in it. (Yggdrasill really was rotting inside , and the ash fungal disease if allowed to take its course would eventually rot the inside of the tree).

I made the nest using a structure of chicken wire and mesh :


Then I sandwiched it in between the wood and cement board fixing the wire edges to the board with tacks:


Then I could begin the mosaic on the top of the sculpture.

Top of ash tree trunk in progress
Top of ash tree trunk in progress

And finally this is what it looks like:

"The Last Tree" (top)
“The Last Tree” (top)

Here is Yggdrasill, like a golden shadow, an echo of the past, always remember and cherish the ash!

In detail –

This is Ratatosk, the squirrel who runs up and down the trunk carrying  gossip and insults between the dragon Nidhogg  and the Great Eagle at the top of the tree. (if you remember Nidhogg was in my last post at the bottom of the third root to Niflheim)

Ratatosk the squirrel
Ratatosk the squirrel

And this is the Great Eagle who has a raven (some versions of the story say a hawk) in it’s brow:

The Great Eagle
The Great Eagle



A prophecy fulfilled?

Ash dieback rings alarm bells when we think that we may lose “The World Tree” . Just like many religious apocalyptic stories, a final battle to end the world takes place. In Norse mythology Ragnarok is the final event,  also known as the doom of the gods, darkness, and sometimes as twilight of the gods.

At Ragnarok the sun and the moon are eaten by the wolf, Fenrir (fathered by Loki); the Midgard Serpent  writhes in fury  its monstrous body over the land, while the sea advances bringing with it the ship Naglfar which is made from the nails of dead men. The sky splits apart and the fires of Surt and the other sons of Muspell ride in……

And Yggdrasil trembles and shakes……

But like all good endings there is always a new beginning – a Creation Myth ……..

During the battle two people have hid themselves inside the ash tree. Their names are Lif (Life) and Leifthrasir (Life Yearner) . The tree must have looked like this one:

Hollow ash
Hollow ash

In my sculpture I made 2 eggs for the nest, they represent these two survivors, the beginning of something new:


My sculpture is called “The Last Tree” and will be in the gardens of Delamore House for the Delamore Arts  exhibition in May. I will also be exhibitingChorus at the Wake of the Sun” in the gallery.

The Last Tree
The Last Tree

Thank you for reading


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  1. Well you sure know how to tell a story! Fantastic work Kate, like everything about it, the nest, the eggs, even the presentation with the sawdust….great!
    Good luck with the exhibit!
    Best wishes,Petra.

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