The wonders of nature never cease to amaze me. On our trip to the wine country last month, my daughter and I visited a gallery and were mesmerized by some of the collections; but what captivated us and held our attention was the spalted maple turned to art.
The gallery representative was anxious to tell us that spalted wood is caused by a fungus that occurs primarily in dead trees, and the artist is careful to use only felled trees.
Spalted wood is divided into three types: pigmentation, white rot and zone lines. The artwork that my daughter bought is zone line spalting, which is characterized by thin lines of black surrounding heavy, black, irregular spots that appear very hard, almost like stone, called dark mycelium. While all this is somewhat technical, the effect on the wood is simply beautiful, almost like thin ink lines shakily drawn around the heavy black spots. In the gallery exhibit, the wood was cut into unevenly sliced slats and mounted on thin strips of wood to hold the piece together.
My daughter bought the two pieces that were in the gallery to place over her bed’s headboard. I suggested we paint a solid rectangle on the wall a very dark color to form a frame and place the work inside, the rectangle, of course, being larger than the two pieces together. We did that, but once the art was up on the wall, it seemed too flat. My daughter wanted more color, so we repainted the rectangle right over the original color, but without care to cover the sharp lines completely, while staying within the original shape. She thought she would like to add a frame of molding to the painted on wall and paint it the same color, for texture. Then she decided the irregular color on top of the dark color was interesting and she would leave it for the time being.
Artwork, of course, is a matter of very personal choice; fortunately we share similar tastes. Her room is coming together nicely and I think she is beginning to feel it is just about right.
If you look up spalted wood on the Internet, you will see some amazing pieces of art, that are not only beautiful but useful too. Spalted wood is used for musical instruments, bowls, tables and cabinets. Some of the images show inlays of turquoise and metals. Artists find uses for this wood in jewelry and furniture; their creativity seems endless. Please be sure to take a look, next time you are at your computer, I think you will be amazed at this oddity of nature.