Ed Jarrett's Sculpting Again: Not Sand, but 250-Year-Old Sycamore Trees Toppled by Last Summer's Tornado

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Guinness World Record holding sandcastle builder Ed Jarrett buzzes with excitement over his latest project - creating lasting pieces of art from two 250-year-old Sycamore trees toppled by a July 2010 tornado.

J. Timothy's general manager Greg Gardner and sculptor Ed Jarrett with one of several remnants from two 250-year-old Sycamore trees toppled by a July 2010 tornado. Jarrett is holding a clay model of the statue he will create from the tree trunk.

Mother Nature selected these trees and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to turn them into something J. Timothy’s will have forever. The quality of the wood is excellent and I am looking forward to prolonging the lives of these trees.

It’s been 12 weeks since Connecticut’s own Ed Jarrett set a new Guinness World Record for tallest sandcastle. Since then, the state has weathered one of the hottest summers on record, some incredible lightening storms, a mild earthquake, and Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene. But, it’s the wicked weather that swept through Connecticut more than a year ago that’s got Jarrett buzzing today.

On July 21, 2010, a tornado took down two 250-year-old Sycamore trees that stood outside J. Timothy’s Taverne on New Britain Avenue in Plainville. This morning, Jarrett fired up a chainsaw and made his first cuts into a piece of tree trunk. No, he’s not found a new hobby as a lumberjack. He’s recycling the downed trees and transforming them into works of art.

“Mother Nature selected these trees and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to turn them into something J. Timothy’s will have forever,” says Jarrett. “The quality of the wood is excellent and I am looking forward to getting into the detail work and prolonging the lives of these trees by repurposing them.”

Back in May, Jarrett had a chance meeting with J. Timothy’s Taverne general manager Greg Gardner. Gardner, who had been looking for someone to create art from the downed trees, stopped by Winding Trails in Farmington, Connecticut to see work being done on an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the tallest sandcastle. He and Jarrett got to talking about their respective passions, culinary arts and sculpting.

“We discovered we both attended Johnson & Wales University within just a few years of each other, and I learned Ed also carves wood,” says Gardner. “Things just steamrolled from there.”

At that time, the tree trunks were lying in a puddle in the restaurant parking lot. Jarrett told Gardner to stand them up so they could dry out. Today, plans are to sculpt one large piece of trunk into the J. Timothy’s “mascot,” a waiter carrying a bottle of wine. Another piece of trunk will be hollowed out and sculpted to make a barrel chair to sit outside the restaurant’s front door. Additional sculptures are being planned, with one to benefit charity.

Jarrett will be sculpting the tree trunks at J. Timothy’s on Friday, September 2, from 5:00-9:00 p.m. and Saturday, September 3, from 9:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. J. Timothy’s will be closed Sunday and Monday, September 4 and 5, for the Labor Day holiday. Jarrett will continue sculpting on Fridays and Saturdays through early October. Photos of Jarrett’s progress, as well as what the trees looked like when they were standing as well as shortly after they fell, can be seen at http://www.EdJArtUnlimited.com. Status updates will be posted on Facebook and Twitter.

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Laura Phillips Ward
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