With his enormous sculpture of a hand emerging from a tree stump, artist Simon O'Rourke gives a "palm tree" a whole new meaning. The piece, called Giant Hand of Vyrnwy, is 50 feet tall and changes right before your eyes. The sculpture's base is a typical tree, but as you look up, it starts to lose its bark, transforms into the arm's smooth skin, and ends with soft creases in the fingers and palm. There's something mythical about this change from rough to smooth—like a giant attempting to land on Earth. The carving of the Giant Hand of Vyrnwy can be found on Wales's tallest tree.
Thereafter, six days of hard labour with grinders and chainsaws. The tree wasn't wide enough to form the entire hand, so I had to add two pieces for the thumb and little finger. After the sculpture was finished, O'Rourke covered it with tung oil, a naturally occurring, environmentally safe oil derived from plants.
In addition to being a breathtaking piece of art, O'Rourke learned a lot from the process. “I loved working on the hand sculpture, it reminded me just how small we are compared to some of the living organisms on this planet,” he says. “All in all, a humbling experience!”