Turning a Tulsa tree stump into a work of art

Wednesday, September 22nd 2004, 9:45 am
By: News On 6

Our summer storms damaged or destroyed thousands of trees. Many of them were cut up and will burn in this winter's fire places.

The News on 6's Rick Wells met some Tulsans who feel one damaged tree was just too important to be turned into fire wood. Lots of trees on the grounds of University Village, on South Lewis. A red oak tree, many residents say, was the best of the bunch, until this summer.

University Village CEO Mike Shawn: "Back in July, July 9th I believe, the tree was struck by lightning." After a few weeks it was apparent the tree would not survive.

University Village resident Margaret Wright: "It just broke our hearts when we thought it would have to come down." So she and several of the residents went to work. They came up with the idea to turning the tree trunk into something lasting, like a sculpture.

So they called Clayton Coss. He's been turning tree trunks and stumps into art for a long time. The residents were hoping for maybe an angel. Florene Stovall thinks an angel would be perfect. "The tree stopped the lightning for us, almost like an angel." So the fund raising began and residents pledged and pledged again until they'd collected enough.

This ‘Michael the Arch Angel’[pictured right] is a Clayton Coss work in a nearby neighborhood and the University Village angel might look like this or something else, they're faith is in the artist.

Stovall: "I just couldn't bear to have it in somebody's fire place all cut up. The tree's been here too long and I've been here too long."

The residents will have a little longer to wait. The artist told them to plan on 60 to 90 days after they decided to go ahead with the project before they'd have their finished angel.