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Carved with a jack knife, a fragile rose growing out of a swamp cedar chunk through a boney chain shows the triumph of beauty over adversity

Signed and dated PR Drumm, 1975
Black Walnut, Northern Birch, Swamp Cedar
9” x 3.5” diameter

Collection of Michael Bertelli

First Prize, North Jersey Woodcarvers, 10/94
First Prize, Doylestown Pennsylvania Art League, 9/94


'Holocaust Rose' is one of my first tabletop roses, only 9" tall x 3.5", and started with a chunk of Swamp Cedar that my brother Harry took me into the woods behind his Oakland home to find. It preserves untouched for ages, and polishes beautifully with burnishing rod of Ash or Hickory. Stem, leaves, and blossom petals complete the rose. The idea of Swamp Cedar enduring the ages had me searching in my Whimsey box for a short length of boney-looking chain of Rock Maple through which the rose appears to grow. Beauty does endure and triumph over adversity, given encouragement.
I had not handled such dense cedar wood before, and it was a joy to saw sections about 2" thick, smooth the surface with jackknife blade, then burnish with hardwood rod until the future base is so smooth it almost glows with refracted light. Very careful application of Tung Oil varnish and further burnishing kept that luster from fading with humidity. Next came the bud and petals and petal covers, clicked on one by one. After disassembling and varnishing lightly, the leading edge of each petal is glued and clicked into place until the blossom is permanently assembled. Now the final varnishing completes the blossom. The wood used is cracked old furniture wood, recycled into beautiful creations. This woodcarver takes pleasure in a cellar full of such wood waiting for thoughtful selection and shaping into the next work of art. In this case, a splinter of Black Walnut chair arm was whittled into gently curving stem. From the same splinter, a twig of leaves with veins gently outlined was carved and assembled. When satisfied with the fit and appearance, I then disassembled leaves and stems, coated leading edges with glue, and reassembled permanently, trapping the Rock Maple boney-looking Whimsey chain. Final varnishing and burnishing, then months later waxing yearly, give a fine luster and protection through the years. My friend and fellow artist Michael Bertelli now has this 'Holocaust Rose' in his collection of fine art.
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