Del Mar man commissions local woodworker to turn 15-foot stump into art

Andrew Cullum carves a dolphin from a 15-foot stump located near the bluffs on 10th Street in Del Mar. Courtesy photo

By Claire Harlin

When Del Mar resident Jack Jaeger moved to his home on 10th Street in 1981, there was a huge, full Monterey cypress tree across the street, one of many left from the late 1800s when 10th Street was Del Mar’s cypress-lined main street. But over the years, the tree died and withered, eventually snapping in two after a storm last year and leaving a 15-foot-tall stump.

“I have always had a thing for those cypress trees. They live to be 120 years old and they have been a beautiful statement in the area,” said Jaeger. “Then, they die away and leave a big beautiful skeleton.”

The stump

Jaeger said he stared at that big cypress stump for more than a year, taking in its natural arc that he said looked like a dolphin emerging from the water, before he decided to actually share that visual image with the community.

After collecting some contributions and blessings from his neighbors, Jaeger commissioned local woodworker Andrew Cullum to carve the stump into a work of art — in the form of a dolphin — a gift to passers-by and neighbors made from a formation he considered to be a natural gift in itself.

After several meetings to discuss Jaeger’s vision and 10 full days of carving and chainsawing, Cullum wrapped up the wood sculpture in mid-January, but the project didn’t come without challenges.

“I started carving into it and found it was totally rotted out,” said Cullum, who was born, raised and is still living in Encinitas. “The inside was powder and there was a lot of termite damage. We had an idea of exactly what we wanted, but we had to change it.”

The dolphin

Cullum redrew plans and resumed work, and said Jaeger was completely understanding of the road block.

“When he saw the condition of the stump, he said, ‘So, are you going to make lemonade?’” Cullum said. “It goes along with the saying, ‘If life gives you a lemon, are you going to make lemonade?’”

Cullum’s tallest project to date ended successfully in the contemporary form of a dolphin protruding into the sky, the backdrop of the ocean to fall behind it for years to come. And the longtime artisan said he enjoyed bringing his 9-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, to the worksite, watching whales and sunsets and dolphins with her as he completed his work from high atop the scaffolding.

Jaeger described the finished work as “amazingly beautiful,” a sight that people continuously stop and gawk at.

“The sun sets right through it,” Jaeger said. “It’s magic.”

The source of that magic doesn’t just happen overnight. Cullum has been working with wood as far back as age 9, when he said he would chisel away at blocks in his backyard under the training and inspiration of his father, who taught 6th grade in the Encinitas School District. He later found work under artist Austine Wood in this early 20s, and then became inspired by local wood- and glass-worker David Frisk. He also worked in the 1980s in the once industrial area that is now called the Cedros Design District in Solana Beach, and he still has professional relationships with several of the businesses there.

Cullum specialized mainly in fireplace mantels and artistic doors and gates, but he most enjoys artistic projects like the Del Mar dolphin, as he calls it.

“In anything I do, I want people to take an image away with them and hopefully they will appreciate it,” he said. “You can go through life without looking at the beauty that surrounds us, but I want people to take the time to notice it … just like every day the sun sets over the ocean, each time being so different and so magnificent.”

For more information on Cullum, visit www.andrewcullum.com or contact him at (769) 753-3096.

Related posts:

  1. Del Mar council approves removal of 80-foot Torrey Pine
  2. Local high schoolers set to compete with college players
  3. Access to Del Mar street to be temporarily restricted May 7
  4. Solana Beach residents turn closet raiding into dress shop concept
  5. Del Mar man’s 7-foot sculpture wins ‘Best in Show’ in national art competition

Short URL: http://www.delmartimes.net/?p=45145

Posted by Staff on Feb 4, 2013. Filed under Del Mar, Featured Story, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

2 Comments for “Del Mar man commissions local woodworker to turn 15-foot stump into art”

  1. With all the concrete going in to development, its wonderful to see an artistic and beautiful thing like the dolphin go in. Another wonderful part of Del Mar!

Leave a Reply

Archives

Facebook

Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

LA JOLLA NEWS

RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

RSS RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

  • RSF Association Board Biz: It’s fire season: Be prepared
    The Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District (RSFFPD) was officially formed in 1946, in the aftermath of a devastating fire that took place in 1943 and destroyed brush, farmland and homes from Rancho Bernardo through Rancho Santa Fe, all the way to Solana Beach and Del Mar. Today the Fire District spans 38 square miles and protects nearly 30,000 residents. W […]
  • Rancho Santa Fe couple lead way in helping those with thyroid disorders
    Few people may know that Graves’ disease is one of the most common autoimmune diseases afflicting Americans today. Fewer still may know that the only national non-profit dedicated to its patients is headquartered in Rancho Santa Fe. The Graves’ Disease and Thyroid Foundation, co-chaired by Rancho Santa Fe residents Kathleen Bell Flynn and Steve Flynn, has be […]
  • Candidates seek election to three Rancho Santa Fe special district boards
    Seats on the boards of directors of three special districts that provide such services as water, fire protection, sewage treatment and landscape maintenance are on the ballot in the Nov. 4 election. The three special districts are the Santa Fe Irrigation District, the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District and the Rancho Santa Fe Community Services Distric […]