Bug sculpture vase

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Project by vipond33 posted 02-05-2012 06:27 AM 2568 views 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hanging out at the woodpile the other day I noticed a little fella crawling under the bark of a split piece of elm. Walking over and lifting the roof to his ancestral home I saw him disappear down the rabbit hole and then beheld the patterns you see here. Dutch elm disease at work. Beautiful and deadly.

Taking the chunk upstairs, we took several rides on the microwave merry go round till the popping stopped and then looked at it for a minute. With the natural hollow already at its back I imagined a simple vase with not much work and so drilled and rasped out the centre to accept an over-sized test tube.

The patterns themselves are fascinating. Momma lays the eggs and then everyone goes off in search of adventure, staying strictly away from each other though.
99% of them come to naught, but 1% thrive and the eaten trails they leave behind grow wider and wider and more convoluted till they retire in satisfaction to the interior. Ready to infect again.

One pattern that I see on the right is that of a drunken man, legs splayed, sitting at an outdoor table with a stein of beer in his hand. The spilled beer dribbling down his leg to the street leads to the glory hole. Too allegorical?

This was made for my mother, a highly awarded horticulturalist for the last 20 years of her life.The tulips for her are a faint hope for an early spring.

If you do make something like this, be sure to thoroughly dry the wood. My first tube was crushed to smithereens when the wood shrank.

5” x10” x2 3/4” About 3 hrs.
A few coats of tung oil, un-rubbed or waxed.
Build on LJs.


A fine short video discussing the disease.

The beetles occupy wall street and environs.

Just the facts ma’am.

A possible solution.

-- gene@toronto.ontario.canada : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

14 comments so far

View peteg's profile


4412 posts in 2996 days

#1 posted 02-05-2012 06:43 AM

Nice job Gene, thoes close ups sure proves that Mother nature has some pretty good ‘power carvers” hangin around,
I’m sure Mum will love it (after all her little Boy made it for her : )) )
cheers Mate

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View gbear's profile


517 posts in 4273 days

#2 posted 02-05-2012 06:48 AM

Wow…good eye and great catch. Nothing more beautiful than Mother Nature’s designs.

-- gbear, Carmichael, CA

View a1Jim's profile


117273 posts in 3751 days

#3 posted 02-05-2012 07:12 AM

Wow Gene how observant of you to spot natures are work, Very cool post.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View shipwright's profile


8129 posts in 2971 days

#4 posted 02-05-2012 07:18 AM

Nice Gene. I’ve admired bug trails like these many times in my firewood pile but they pretty much all went in the fire anyway. Good for you for preserving their art by exercising yours.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View learnin2do's profile


889 posts in 3025 days

#5 posted 02-05-2012 07:18 AM

i love it. i messed up several bits of woodpile natural beauty this week, and i am glad to see some salvaged so perfectly and creatively!

-- ~christine @ used2btrees

View chopnhack's profile


375 posts in 2568 days

#6 posted 02-05-2012 08:15 AM

I like the little dragon in the middle, very cool!

-- Sneaking up on the line....

View rance's profile


4264 posts in 3334 days

#7 posted 02-05-2012 08:17 AM

Wow. I’ve heard that ‘they’ could train monkeys but I never heard of training a bug to bore out a pattern of a drunken man. Nice recovery with the wood Gene. And thanks for sharing.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View EyeOfTheJen's profile


205 posts in 2590 days

#8 posted 02-05-2012 03:00 PM

Good spotting!

-- Jen ~ Happiness is being covered in sawdust.

View Karson's profile


35140 posts in 4574 days

#9 posted 02-05-2012 04:30 PM

Great salvage from the wood pile.

Mama will love it.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia †

View HorizontalMike's profile


7770 posts in 3087 days

#10 posted 02-05-2012 04:39 PM

Wow Gene, this is fantastic! As a former park ranger and tree-hugger, I really get off on this stuff. Nice eye in catching this and Kudos for the artistic application of nature into art! VERY WELL DONE.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Philzoel's profile


303 posts in 2517 days

#11 posted 02-05-2012 08:20 PM

Looks very good. I have some wormwood and it makes great small items. Salt and pepper etc. Yours look like two different worms?? All these worms are lumberjocks, i mean lumber bugs.

-- Phil Zoeller louisville, KY

View kiefer's profile


5620 posts in 2840 days

#12 posted 02-06-2012 01:22 AM

Beauty and sadness in one .
The tulips seem to agree .
This dutch elm disease is a terrible thing which I have seen a lot of beautiful old elm trees die of and I hope
people recognize the severity this disease .
I must say you have created a very unique vase holder by letting nature show its beauty .


-- Kiefer

View deon's profile


2522 posts in 3199 days

#13 posted 02-07-2012 09:55 AM

You have a good eye for beauty – and compliments for the fhotography too

-- Dreaming patterns

View mafe's profile


11741 posts in 3263 days

#14 posted 02-07-2012 11:06 AM

Beautiful, again nature prove to be more imaginative than us.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

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