Owls tree stump art, Houston, Minnesota
Flora and Fauna

Tree Stump Art

“We have those in Houston now, too.” 
— My Mom when I told her about the chainsaw tree stump art in Cuenca

Many years ago, when my husband and I cut down a tree in our California backyard, we left the tree stump about 6 feet tall. Scott built a bird feeder on top of the stump. I planted flowers at the base. Birds enjoyed the feeder year round. It never occurred to either of us to take a chainsaw to the stump to create something beautiful.

Tree stump art was not a thing back then. Most people we knew struggled with removing unwanted stumps. We were glad to find something useful to do with ours. In recent years, people have been turning stumps into works of art.

City Park in Houston, Minnesota

During a recent visit to my hometown of Houston, Minnesota, Mom and I stopped to look at the tree stump art in the city park. It was something I had also seen in Parque de la Madre in Cuenca, Ecuador. Art is now found where trees once stood. The trees in both parks had to be removed due to disease. The parks kept the stump tall enough to transform it into beautiful chainsaw carved works of art.

Houston (population 978) is home to the International Owl Center, the only one of it’s kind in North America. It advances the survival of wild owl populations through education and research. Around town, various owl themes can be found. In spring 2017, artist Molly Wiste carved four owls into one trunk in the city park. The level of detail in each owl is impressive.

Tree stump art - Owls in Houston, Minnesota, USA
Tree stump owl art, Houston City Park


Parque de la Madre in Cuenca, Ecuador

Cuenca’s (population 400,000) Parque de la Madre (Mother’s Park) celebrates (surprise!) mothers. The carvings in this park began in 2015. Several artists were commissioned to create four pieces each. You will not be surprised to learn that much of the tree stump art is shaped like women.

Tree stump art - Cuenca, Ecuador
Pregnant woman, Parque de la Madre

The artists did not forget about men. The man and woman in the photo below are standing on what looks like a hibiscus flower.

Tree stump art - Cuenca, Ecuador
Man and woman, Parque de la Madre

Benches were created with some of the cut trees, too. They come in decorative shapes as well as animal shapes. The absence of grass in front of each bench is testament to how frequently they are used.

Tree stump art - Cuenca, Ecuador
People lounging on a carved bench with stump art in background

The bench with horse heads carved into it is my favorite relaxation location in the park.

Tree stump art - Cuenca, Ecuador
Emily in Parque de la Madre

A stump with an owl carved above a woman’s head reminds me of the carvings in Houston.

Tree stump art - Cuenca, Ecuador
Woman with owl, Parque de la Madre

I am thoroughly impressed with the chainsaw artists who create these beautiful statues and benches. Steven Gordon posted this short video on You Tube showing one of the artists carving in 2015.

Tree stump art - Cuenca, Ecuador

It would have been cool to have had something like these in our California backyard to go along with our bird feeder and flowers.

Have you seen tree stump art near you?

I am a US Expat in Ecuador. I grew up on a Minnesota farm, worked in IT in California's Silicon Valley, then moved to a coastal Ecuador fishing village. My goal is to share Ecuador with you, one snippet at a time. Topics include attractions, compassion, ecotourism, Ecuador products, everyday Ecuador, and flora and fauna. Please let me know what you would like to read more about!


  • Hilary Melton-Butcher

    Hi Emily – we do have people selling mushrooms carved from wood – but nothing like these amazing sculpture – how absolutely delightful. I just wish I had that creative bent – so artistic and so clever and a delight for visitors … well you at least made yours into something useful for the birds, bees and insects … cheers Hilary

    • Emily Bloomquist

      Hi Hilary, I looked up wood carved mushrooms and it seems they could be a nice compliment in a yard with a carved tree stump. Having a creative bent would be a nice benefit in so many ways. I wish I had it, too.

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