Sandy Smith is the creator of beautiful, natural Bristlecone Pine artwork. Bristlecone Pine is the common name for a cone-bearing evergreen tree native to high, dry mountainous areas in the western United States. Bristlecone pine grows extremely slowly and is the oldest known living tree. One 700 year old tree was found at only 3 feet tall. Some specimens have reached ages of 3,000 to 5,000 years old. Unlike most trees, in which dead wood rots, weakening the tree to its collapse, the dead wood of the bristlecone pines remains solid.
“Nature provides all of my pieces and I only reveal what is left behind. Fallen trees, caused by a beaver’s need to chew, forest fires, or age, provide the perfect material. Although carrying, backpacking, or dragging these pieces from cliffs, forests, and ranches is the hardest work I have ever done, the pleasure I get from recycling old wood into functional creations is the greatest reward. Nature provides designs that man only wishes he could create.”
To become Bristlecone art, the tree has to have been dead for several hundred years, long enough for the thick bark and cadmium layer to have been eroded away by nature’s wind, rain, sleet, and snow. The remaining gnarled, twisted heartwood is treated with special liquids which bring out the beautiful natural colors. Great attention to detail is given in cleaning and finishing each piece by hand, exposing its own beauty. Since colors created by nature cannot be improved upon, no stains are ever used. Nature created each piece like each of us, special and unique.