The Amazing Wood Art of Sergei Bobkov
By Chuck Ray | Posted: 02/10/2013 10:20AM
Many of you may have seen this story on Woodworking Network last July, but even though it has apparently made the rounds, I'll share it with those who may not have seen it. Oddity Central has the best background story I could find...
"53-year-old Sergei Bobkov has patented a unique technique of creating amazing sculptures out of Siberian cedar wood-chips.
“It’s not very interesting to do what others can. To create something out of nothing in a completely new way is far more inspiring.” This is how Bobkov explains the unique form of art that he created. He says many people compare his artworks to taxidermy, because they both look so much like the animals they replicate, but Sergei believes they are as different as light and darkness. Whereas taxidermy is all about death, his wood-chip art symbolizes life.
This resident of Kozhany, Russia, has developed his very own technique, that prevents wood-chips from falling apart, in time. After creating about 100-150 chips, from 2- to 3-inch long cedar stick, he puts them in water for several days. Then, making use of his surgical precision, he carves the chips into any shape he needs.
Bobkov has been doing this for some time now, but he has only created 11 wood-chip sculptures. That’s because just one of these incredible artworks takes around six months to complete, at a work rate of 10 to 12 hours a day, with no days off. Bobkov focuses on wildlife creatures, and he studies their anatomy for months, before starting work on a sculpture.
Even though he was offered $17,000 for his wood-chip eagle, Bobkov declined, saying his art is "not for sale."
The "Siberian cedar" mentioned in the story is an interesting story in itself. From the website "The Ringing Cedars of Russia" we learn, "The Siberian cedar may be rightfully considered our national tree, for it grows naturally almost exclusively in our country -- in the Urals, Siberia, Altai Krai (only 1% of the total area of cedar forests is found on the territory of the People's Republic of Mongolia). The cedar is the glory and pride of our forests. It is especially beautiful when it is blossoming, when the crimson-coloured male flowerhead shines brightly on the background of the dark green branches. Vladimir Chivilikhin had good reason to write that the cedar would be worth growing in our gardens and parks solely to see such lushly peaceful beauty on the thick green branches once a year."
About the Author
Chuck RayDr. Charles D. “Chuck” Ray is Associate Professor of Wood Operations Research at Pennsylvania State University. His specialty is in the area of operations research, specifically those operational issues that confront the majority of the wood products sector. He previously spent 15 years in research and quality management for two large building products corporations, Temple-Inland Forest Products and Louisiana-Pacific. Ray is the sixth generation of his family to work in the sawmill industry, the Ray Brothers Lumber Company, established in East Texas before the turn of the last century. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @ChuckDRay. He maintains an Extension website for Penn State at http://extension.psu.edu/woodpro and also writes a blog on all wood issues called Go Wood which can be found at http://gowood.blogspot.com.