© 2015 by PUFFBALL DESIGNS LLC

The Birch Girl

We found this live edge birch slab in a lumber yard in Maryland and were instantly struck by its human form. It seemed self-evidently a girl who held the entire world in her belly. The only problem was, she had no feet and was thus unable to stand on her own. So we brought her home and gave her feet. We made use of a large slab of hard maple acquired from a lumber yard in Virginia. It was over eight feet long and more than two feet wide. At the time we began this project, we had few tools to work with. We cut the slab into two-foot sections with a circular saw, traced on the profile of pirouetting feet, and cut those with a jigsaw, each a little smaller from front to back to represent the gradual slope of the toes from front to back (big toe to pinky toe). The middle slab/toe was then cut in half and cut away to make room to slide the legs of the birch slab into place, and the entire construction was fastened together with a large bolt on either side, decoratively hidden behind giant acorn caps. We were not completely satisfied with the shape of the girl’s head and shoulders, or with the arch of her feet, so once we eventually got a bandsaw, we refined these two areas to better reflect our original vision of her. And we gave her a blue gemstone necklace and brighter nail polish just because it seemed like she needed a little something. The birch and hard maple are finished with a natural brush on water based polyurethane to ensure that she does not yellow over time. She stands just under five feet tall and her feet are 26” wide at the big toe.