Now Reed saws away at the trunk's core as tiny pieces of woody pulp pop like sparks in the autumn sun. The drone of the chain saw whines relentlessly. Reed is showered in wood chips.
"As I cut into it, the wood kind of speaks to you," Reed says, explaining how he came up with the idea to make the piece resemble a flower. "Mr. Levy had wanted something abstract, and I said, 'Let's do something organic.'"
The creation is Reed's first commissioned piece. He will charge about $1,000 for it and it has taken more than two weeks to complete. Reed plans to name it "Plant Form Number One."
He says neighbors and passersby have inquired often about what the heck he's doing here. "I dance with this chain saw four or five hours a day," Reed says. "It's physically and mentally stressful. And you have to love the taste of sawdust to do this."
Once he's content with the size and shape of his subject, Reed will treat it with linseed oil to protect it. If treated with the oil from time to time the sculpture should keep for up to 100 years, Reed says.
Stepping back in his steel-toed boots, Reed squints to admire his progress: "It's jumping pretty good now with the veins more defined on the leaf."
This form of lawn sculpture is unusual for this neighborhood, Reed notes. But he hopes residents nearby will be impressed.
"It's a shame to have a tree cut down," Reed says. "I kind of give it a second life." Brandon Walters
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