A number of yew trees grow on Jordan Ridge, 6 to 7 kilometers north of Jordan River, west of Sooke. In the past, the needles and bark from yew trees were harvested for their Taxol properties to produce a cancer-fighting drug – tamoxifen. The felled tree trunks were left behind to age on the forest floor or out in the clear cuts. Aged yew wood, for some wood carvers, is a prize to salvage because of its character and interesting shapes.
Once carved and sanded to enhance nature’s design and the contrast of sap and heart wood colours a rich sculptured piece of wood art emerges to behold and touch. This piece of western yew wood, likely 300 to 400 years old, was salvaged late January 2011 by Maywell Wickheim and Mike Herrling and trucked out to Sooke to be carved in 2017. The Owl inside the yew sculpture is carved from locally sourced birds eye yellow cedar.
In August of 2017, Last Tree Standing was presented to BC’s newly elected Premier, John Horgan, on loan. The sculpture stands proudly in the Premier’s office, BC Legislative Building, Victoria.