St Michaels Hurst Obelisk

Hand hewn wooden obelisks and other items, make wonderful garden features and can be made to a variety of sizes each with bespoke inscriptions. Please contact me to discuss your requirements.

St Michaels Hurst Obelisk

This is a long standing project that was the result of a public art competition held by the developer Countryside, to make a piece of art for their housing develoment at St Michaels Hurst in Bishop's Stortford.

The commission has created an exciting opportunity for a collaboration between myself and the craftsman Steve Woodley. Steve is a talented and skilled craftsman who has hewn an obelisk from sweet chestnut, using axes by the traditional method.


Steve has made the obelisk on proportions based on the Fibonacci sequence, which is commonly found in nature, for example in the formation of branches, leaves, flowers and seeds. The obelisk will be 2.1 metres tall and 300 mm wide at the base.

The only stipulation for the brief was that it had to contain a vine leaf as this is the logo for the development. Using this as my guide, I visited the local vineyard at Hazel End and drew vine leaves. The vineyard grows four varieties of grapes, Bacchus, Huxelrebe, Reichensteiner and Muller Thurgau. An obelisk seemed the perfect solution to both incorporate the grape names and to fit into the space available at the location.

                                 Work in Progress


Below is a series of photos showing work progressing.

             From Steve, shaping the obelisk, to the completed first side 'Bacchus' and a detail of the sunlight catching my wood carving tools and the vine leaves being carved. More images will be uploaded to this page as I progress through each side. Steve still has the point to cut at the top of the obelisk. This will be done last as it allows us to keep adding oil to the top and bottom of the obelisk to        

                    help control the drying out of the wood. The damp spell of recent days has been very welcome to us!      

This photo shows how the light picks up the axe marks which makes for a beautiful texture and brings life to the surface of the obelisk. 

In contrast, a flat machine-made surface would be lifeless and lacking in interest.


Parndon Mill,



      CM20 2HP

07701 027 042


July 2020:

I have completed carving the sweet chestnut obelsik and it has now been installed at St Michaels Hurst development in Bishop's Stortford. Please see the dedicted page on my website in the work tab.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of Welwyn Garden City, the sculptor Ben Twiston-Davies is casting 7ft tall a bronze statue of Ebenzer Howard. I have been asked to design and carve an inscription around the base of the statue. Work has begun on the design; watch this space for updates on my progress!


I will be attending the following events, demonstrating letter carving and selling my work:

8th-11th October 2020: Living Crafts, Hatfield House, Hertfordshire.

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