Local artist, Steve Holt, was hard at work Tuesday on the new wooden creation that will be incorporated into Simpson Park this summer.
Local artist, Steve Holt, was hard at work Tuesday on the new wooden creation that will be incorporated into Simpson Park this summer. This new (and fifth) creation for Simpson Park will be a wooden totem pole carved from an old burr oak tree. The totem pole is privately funded and is to be a memorial for the late Gary Clampitt, who enjoyed wood carving. The tree trunk that is being used for the totem pole was previously located just east of the Rotary Club shelter house in Simpson Park. Twenty feet of the 30-foot trunk is being used for the project, according to the parks department director, Josh Norris. Holt, who has created all of the wood carvings in Simpson Park, is carving the totem pole as it lays on the ground across the road from the ball field by the park. Only one side of the trunk will be carved and will not be three-dimensional like past projects. It will be a “relief carving.” Five different animals will be carved into the wood and all will be stacked on top of one another. It was first planned for a three-dimensional eagle facing the opposite way of the relief carving to top the totem pole. However, Holt said on Monday that would not be possible. “The full size eagle is a pretty good side and there wasn’t a good attachment point at the top of the trunk,” Holt said. Instead, the eagle that Holt carves will sit beside the totem pole, facing the opposite way of the relief carving. Once the totem pole has been carved, it will be relocated. Currently, there is an old, short tree stump in the middle of Walnut Street in Simpson Park, just east of the croquet courts. What is now a stump used to be a 40-foot to 50-foot white oak tree. This tree was struck by lightning about six years ago and had to be taken down. The remaining stump will be removed and the totem pole will take its place. Holt began working on the totem pole last week. He debarked the trunk last week and this week he began carving the animals. Holt said there will be five animals carved into the totem pole: a coyote, bobcat, fox, owl and a buck. He has etched out the coyote and the bobcat so far. Holt said he will carve the buck (which will be at the top of the pole) last because he has to roll the trunk over and patch a hole on the other side of it where a tree limb was sticking out. Holt said each animal takes up about four feet of the pole, and it’s been taking him a day or two to carve each animal. He predicts to have the totem pole completely carved by the end of June.