IT was an ugly stump from a dying oak tree.
But thanks to a chainsaw sculptor it’s enjoying a second life as an amazing garden feature.
The 50-year-old oak in Mark and Vanessa Thomas’ garden was cut back as it was dying.
The couple were left with an ugly tree stump – until wood carver Kim Neith-Thompson stepped in to work her magic.
They employed her to transform the stump into a masterpiece.
Mr Thomas, 48, of Lovedean Lane, said: ‘When we cut off the dead parts we were left with a stump and we didn’t want to leave it like that.’
The couple were searching online for garden ornaments when they found Ms Neith-Thompson’s eBay page and a YouTube link to her in action, carving butterflies and other intricate designs into dead bits of wood.
Ms Neith-Thompson, 29, from Yorkshire, was carving the couple’s tree design from last Monday and finished on Friday when she travelled to her next project in Preston.
Mr and Mrs Thomas decided on the design of green tree men as they are meant to bring peace and tranquillity to the garden.
He added: ‘They suit the character of the tree and it looks like the men and their beards are reaching out.
‘It fits so well with our garden.’
Ms Neith-Thompson begins the transformation process by agreeing a design, sketches how the tree will look and then gets to work sculpting her detailed 3D pattern.
She said: ‘I chose the design for the Thomases’ garden because it reflects what they love – the outdoors and their garden.
‘The reaction of my pieces is usually amazement. People can’t believe it’s primarily done by a chainsaw.’
Other designs by Ms Neith-Thompson include replicas of family pets, benches, owls, a whale, totem poles and a bird table.
Mr Thomas said: ‘It’s fascinating to watch Kim saw the shapes into the tree and see the characters coming out of the peeled wood.’
The couple said it has given their property a new lease of life and is a talking point for neighbours already.
He said: ‘It’s not finished but I’ve had a few people say they love it.
‘I’ve texted my friends with photos and they think it’s brilliant.’
Ms Neith-Thompson, who has been wood carving for about three years, said: ‘It’s a constant joy to be able to give trees a second life after they die.’