The dogwood tree (Cornus florida) is a beloved feature of the woods and yards of the southern Appalachians. The four white, or sometimes pink, petals of its flower are tinged with red at their tips and a “crown” of small flower parts stands at the center, leading the devout in this region to see it as a symbol of the cross of Christ. Legend holds that it was once a large tree on which Christ was crucified, but was stunted into its present small and contorted shape as a curse for this wicked history. In the fall, bright red berries prepare the way for winter’s coats of snow and ice.
In spite of its small size, it offers woodturners a hard material veined in pink hues. I have been working with some pieces that have been aging for a few years and which exhibit some decay. One of the bowls has a knotted hole. A couple of them have fillings of ground turquoise in their eroded surfaces. They’re small, of course, but have a gem-like beauty, so I thought I’d show some of them to a wider circle. You can work out your own symbolic meanings from there.