The windstorm that took down all but the base of one of the Durham campus’ towering trees in spring 2017 didn’t spell the end for the old eastern white pine. Instead, UNH campus planning and housing staffers reached out to Maine-based chainsaw carving artist Tim Pickett to turn the 15-foot eyesore, located on the northeast side of the campus on a triangle of grass behind Scott Hall, into a new piece of public art.
Constrained by the height and diameter of the stump, Pickett considered design options that included a rearing wildcat and UNH benefactor Ben Thompson before settling on a quintessential — if anachronistic — symbol of academia: a curving quill pen and bottle of ink clutched by pair of hands. Pickett set to work shortly after the end of the 2017-18 school year and finished up in time for the first 2018-19 students’ arrival in August.
Made possible by the Coe-Hall Endowment, which is dedicated to campus beautification projects, the sculpture is the first piece of campus art to be created in situ — and just the latest example of the university’s creative approach to sustainable, renewable living.