Beechwood Cemetery Tree Carving Program
In 2017, the Beechwood Cemetery,approached Peter about transforming trees that were needing to be cut down into sculptures to give the trees new life. Peter has since had the opportunity to work on three sculptures in the cemetery grounds: Next Beginnings, The Tree of Tulips, and the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Tree.
The Next Beginnings sculpture began as a pilot project for the Tree Carving Program. This is now a favourite at the cemetery and visited by many. Peter was asked to carve animals found across Canada. The art includes the West Coast’s grizzly, East Coast’s puffin and many animals found in between.
Next, Peter carved the Tree of Tulips for the Beechwood Cemetery. This sculpture was created in honour of the 35,000 tulip bulbs gifted to Ottawa by Holland and planted each year since the Second World War. This tradition began after the Queen of Holland was born in Ottawa during WWII and peace was restored. The sculpture symbolizes spring renewal.
The Armistice Tree is a tribute to the Allied sacrifice of the First World War. It is at the site of the National Military Cemetery. The Cemetery's director and historian together provided instructions to include depictions of Brodie helmets to symbolize the soldiers, 3 maple leafs for Canada's contribution to WWI via land, sea and air, and 58 poppies to signify the battle honours earned by our forces during the war. Peter had full creative freedom to design and carve the sculpture from there.
The 7 metre-tall carving will stand for many decades in silent salute to the lives of those brave Canadian soldiers and our allies that fought for peace. It was completed and standing tall and proud in time for the 100th Remembrance Day celebration. We feel honoured that Peter, whose parents survived the Second World War as children in the Netherlands, was given the opportunity to carve this tree. You can see the story as covered by the Ottawa Citizen here.
Like many of Fleetwood Studio's projects, the carvings have provided a means to preserve some of the cemetery's trees that had reached the natural end of their lives.
Each of these sculptures were completed within three and four weeks. More information about the project is available through the Beechwood Cemetery website.