How to Commission a Tree Stump Sculpture

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How to Commission a Tree Stump Sculpture

So how do I hire an artist to make a sculpture out of my tree stump? Where do I even start?

That’s the question most people have when they begin considering tree stump art on their property. Commissioning an artist to create a custom sculpture is something most people only do once in their lifetime, so the idea can be daunting at first.

The good news? It doesn’t have to be daunting. The process is actually pretty straightforward, and an experienced sculptor will walk you through it from start to finish. Here’s what you can expect:

Getting Started: Choosing the Tree

Most people decide to commission a tree stump sculpture because they’re looking for a way to preserve a tree that has to be cut down. Maybe it’s a Western Red Cedar that’s just too beautiful to lose entirely. Or maybe it’s a craggy old Maple tree that the kids used to climb on when they were little.

Or maybe, the shape of the tree stump is just so unusual that it begs to be made into a sculpture.

Whatever your own reasons, you’re probably wondering if your tree will work well for a sculpture. In general, unless a stump is especially rotted or unhealthy, most trees can be turned into sculptures. Your artist will help you assess your tree, but as a starting point:

Tree size

Size isn’t as important as you might think. A skilled tree stump sculptor can create a form that works around the size and shape of a stump. Also, adding extensions to a smaller stump is becoming more popular. This entails taking wood leftover from the tree stump and re-attaching it in new ways to extend the width or height of the sculpture.

Tree stump height

Again, the height isn’t a deal breaker here. But if you haven’t yet cut down your tree, go ahead and tell the tree service to leave a twelve foot stump. This will leave plenty of height for just about any sculpture. It’s always easier for a sculptor to cut off excess height than add vertical extensions.

Vertical or horizontal extensions can extend the form of a sculpture beyond the original tree stump.

Age of stump

A lot of people contact our studio because they need to cut down a tree, but they want to wait awhile before they commission a sculpture from the stump. That’s totally fine.

As long as a tree stump is relatively healthy, we can create a sculpture several years after it’s been topped by a tree service. If possible, just seal the top of the stump with a layer of ordinary house paint to keep the wood in the best shape possible. (But even if you can’t do this, most healthy tree stumps hold up pretty well on their own.)

This tree stump sculpture was commissioned by a Seahawks fan to commemorate the team’s 2013 Superbowl win.

Taking the Plunge: Commission a Sculpture

So you’re ready. You have your tree stump picked out, you’ve done your homework about local tree stump artists, and you’re ready to start making calls. Here are the steps you’ll go through:

  1. Take a picture of the tree – If possible, include the surrounding landscape and something next to the tree stump for size reference (a person, house or nearby garage.)
  2. Contact a sculptorto start the process- If you contact our studio, we’ll ask you to email us the picture of your tree, as well as any other information you have about the tree species and health.
  3. Schedule an onsite consultation – When you work with our studio, Tomas will schedule a time to come out to your property and assess the health of the tree, as well as talk about pricing and design options. Don’t worry if you aren’t 100% sure you want to move forward with a sculpture. We understand you haven’t committed at this point. At our studio, on-site consultations are always complimentary, regardless of whether you decide to commission a sculpture.
  4. Decide on a design – If you have any ideas for your sculpture, by all means share them during that first phone call or email, or certainly during the onsite consultation. But it’s also totally okay if you don’t have a clue what design you’d like. Any sculptor worth their salt will work collaboratively with you to design the right tree stump art to fit your space. A good sculptor can create just about any form that you can imagine.
  5. Sign a contract and get started!

It’s that simple. Really. We hope this post has helped demystify the process of commissioning a tree stump sculpture. But as always, feel free to contact us if you have any more questions–or if you’re ready to move forward with a sculpture!

Contact us to talk more about commissioning your own sculpture

Allison V.

Allison V.

Bellingham, Washington, United States

As a marketing communications professional with a Master's Degree in creative writing, I am a storyteller at heart. That's why I've spent the past decade helping innovative businesses and social profit companies create brand loyalty through compelling content. Subjects and sec...

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