Michael Stephenson

Redwood and Cocobolo Bird, 2022
9 x 4 in
Michael Stephenson removes wood until only the simple beauty of the bird form remains. Made of the most beautiful woods he can find on the earth, they each unique in wood and shape. Each piece can be removed from the stand so you can connect to the wood by holding bird in hand and enjoying the grain. This wood sculpture is composed of a Redwood body and Cocobolo tail with a Mopani base. Cocobolo is from Central America. Only the heart is used and is known for its reddish-brown beauty. The darker irregular traces weave through the wood. This creates beautiful lines and value throughout the sculpture. Redwoods are a coniferous tree and includes the larges and tallest trees in the world and are known for their red tones. This was a perfect choice for the cardinal. Mopani is a beautiful, two-color African hardwood. The unique mottled color, textures and smooth surface make it a great base. Between gnarled knots, sweeping grains and pointy horns each piece is truly unique.

Michael Stephenson

Michael Stephenson is a lifelong Mississippian with a nearly lifelong appreciation for the natural world. Lately, that interest along with a forty-year woodwork avocation has resulted in a range of semi-abstract bird sculptures. The intention is less depiction than evocation, more an invitation for the viewer's own musings than an ornithology snapshot. 


The hardwoods used are those that best serve the beauty of the subjects themselves: redbud, pear, and maple burl from local sources, redheart, amboyna, padauk, bubinga and other sustainable species from around the world. 


T.S. Eliot's epic poem Burnt Norton features a bird beckoning us to return to "our first world". On a smaller, quieter scale, the wooden birds in this series are an invitation to summon memories of simple pleasures and moments of fleeting grace and beauty from our past.



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