This film is part of Free

A Woodman's Dream

The transformative power of both nature and art meet as a tree becomes an elegant bird in the hands of a skilled craftsman.

Amateur film 1983 7 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


When asked about his famous sculpture of David, Michelangelo reputedly said (he probably didn’t), “just chip away the stone that doesn’t look like David”. Here tree sculptor Alan Dickinson demonstrates the principle as he carves out a stork from a tree he fells, to win 1st prize at the Yorkshire Show 1983. Leeds amateur filmmaker Roy Vickers, in collaboration with others, wonderfully brings this art to life with original verse and music that evokes a pagan sensibility.

Roy Vickers, on his own and as a member of Leeds Movie Makers, made a number of excellent documentary films during the 1970s and ‘80s. A few years before he made a film called Plant Magic, also in collaboration with Keith Overend, which has a similar theme of transformative power of nature. This was set in Chevin Forest Park, in the Wharfe Valley, which may be where Roy filmed Alan Dickinson cutting down his tree. Nothing else is known of the others involved in making the film, or of what later happened in the life of the sculptor Alan Dickinson.