"Having been struck dumb by the beautiful portrait, I was then rendered completely speechless by the extraordinary beauty of Mike Rules, wood "sculptures", I don't know what else to call them, though many are functional, bowls, vessels, vases and such like, those words do not begin to describe Mike's unbelievably stunning pieces, spanning twelve years of honing his craft and individual style.
Moving from working commercially sourced wood to unseasoned and sometimes diseased or decaying wood, "scavenged" from tree surgeons, Mike reveals nature's art, even amidst the death throes of these fallen soldiers.
In his hands imperfections and decay are burnished and polished in celebration of nature's soul which glows in all her creations, however broken or fallen and glows again in Mike's work.
I cannot begin to imagine the patient hours and skill required to shape such forms of organic beauty from a single piece of wood. In particular, the narrow necked vases are astonishing in their construction but all are unique, decorated by nature's own hand, glorious patinations revealed by Mike's sympathy for his materials.
My favourites are the spatted or burr wood pieces, formed from felled wood invaded by fungus or the "abnormal wart like growths on the side of a main trunk", fragile beauty captured and preserved a moment before crumbling and a return to the earth that gave them birth, ashes caught mid flight.
However, every piece is exceptional in capturing the colorations and striations of natural wood, from beech to ash, yew, wild olive and a plethora of other woods, the individuality of each highlighted with such sympathy it is almost possible to not imagine the landscape of their lives."