"Reach for the Sky" a figured Maple carving by Gary "Wiz" Burns

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Project by wiz posted 08-31-2015 03:54 PM 2927 views 2 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This carving measures 29” tall x 12 1/2” wide x 2” thick. I carved it out of a piece of figured Big Leaf Maple. I call this carving “Reach for the Sky”. This carving depicts a steady old Elm Tree passing it’s time in woodland peace. There is a lot of detail in this carving. It is my favorite kind of Tree to carve. I love the over all shape of this piece and how the tree fills the inside space. I haven’t made an Elm Tree carving this size for years. I really enjoyed the challenge. It’s fun becoming immersed in the detail.




This piece has Burl, Curly and some really fun figuring in the grain. A burl is usually caused by a trees reaction to an agro bacteria. It starts sending out a huge number of buds showing birds eye grain through out the burl. It is very unusual and is very interesting to look at. It is getting a lot harder to find!

The technique I use is called Pierced Relief. It is carved out of one piece of wood and nothing is added. I feel like I am at my peak in my career right now. I am 65 and have learned so much all these years. I started carving 1971 and a tree was the first carving I did. I have always been stimulated to carve a resemblance of a tree out of the wood of a tree. My technique has evolved over all of these years to what you see here. I keep seeing ways to make things more life like. And I love a piece to look like it is in the middle of a story that each observer can make a story about. Sometimes a different story each time we look at it and sometimes the same one. I sure enjoy carving!

-- Gary "Wiz" Burns, Oregon,

21 comments so far

View observer100's profile


476 posts in 2324 days

#1 posted 08-31-2015 04:12 PM

Simply stunning work. Nice photo work as well.

-- Seeing is believing.

View parkprimus's profile


93 posts in 2335 days

#2 posted 08-31-2015 04:17 PM

Beautifully detailed carving. I am very impressed with this, you should be very proud of this fine piece. The photography is good, but I am will to bet it does not do the carving justice.

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3506 days

#3 posted 08-31-2015 04:28 PM

Great carving—beautiful as always!

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26653 posts in 4320 days

#4 posted 08-31-2015 05:43 PM

Outstanding work and shape!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Druid's profile


2205 posts in 4009 days

#5 posted 08-31-2015 07:09 PM

Beautifully done Gary.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View Ivan's profile


16964 posts in 4082 days

#6 posted 08-31-2015 07:09 PM

Beautifuly carved!

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4018 days

#7 posted 08-31-2015 07:39 PM

Such super eye candy. WowZa! is all I can say

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View oldnovice's profile


7741 posts in 4582 days

#8 posted 08-31-2015 08:10 PM

I really love this and your other work!
Exquistely beautiful and we’ll done.

-- "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -- Aldous Huxley

View bobasaurus's profile


3734 posts in 4398 days

#9 posted 08-31-2015 10:36 PM

I love your carvings, this is amazing as always. Must have taken a very long time.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View bazz135uk's profile


797 posts in 3066 days

#10 posted 08-31-2015 10:37 PM

Compulsive Viewing Great pleasure to see . What great talent , your unique experience shines through .
Your work is a wonderful achievement and a inspiration to us all.

-- BAZZ, LIVERPOOL UK A workshop is not a luxury . We need it to preserve our sanity in this frantic world we live in. A place to be at peace.

View lnxusr's profile


15 posts in 2416 days

#11 posted 09-01-2015 12:11 AM

Beautiful work Gary. Have you thought of making a video of you carving? I’d love to watch someone carve something like this.

View BobWemm's profile


3015 posts in 3140 days

#12 posted 09-01-2015 01:23 AM

As above Gary, I agree with everyone. This is a stunning result and depicts your outstanding talent.
Thank you for sharing this with us.

-- Bob, Western Australia, The Sun came up this morning, what a great start to the day. Now it's up to me to make it even better. I've cut this piece of wood 4 times and it's still too damn short.

View wiz's profile


218 posts in 3237 days

#13 posted 09-01-2015 01:44 AM

Wow! Thank you everyone!! I sure appreciate your kind words!!

I have thought about a video, Inxusr! I have given it many tries. I experimented with many cameras. I finally got a gopro but haven’t figured it out yet. I will let ya know if I come up with anything!

Thanks again, everyone!!



-- Gary "Wiz" Burns, Oregon,

View hunter71's profile


3558 posts in 4401 days

#14 posted 09-01-2015 02:42 AM

I love your work, GREAT.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View Hawaiilad's profile


3379 posts in 4235 days

#15 posted 09-01-2015 09:10 AM

I keep coming back to your post just to look at the wonderful piece you made. Then to find out it is not a small piece.

Thank you for sharing with us

-- Larry in Hawaii,

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