Josh Vogel understands trees. It seems like an obvious statement to make about a wood sculptor, but Vogel is especially aware of the bond between plant and human life—just one thing we learn about him in this short documentary from The Scout that gives us an intimate insight into Vogel’s connection with the environment, and the way he references this bond in his work.

The concept of time and temporality is particularly important to Vogel as he shares the process of turning wood and carving the old life into something new. He says that wood can be a great teacher, and working with wood allows him to step back in time–as he peels away the layers he encounters nails, barbed wire, and other signs of the history embedded in the tree. It’s an important part of the process for Vogel: understanding the connection between old and new,  and understanding the history of the material he is working with. Humans have a closer bond to trees and can learn more from working with them, he believes, than with a material like stone; we understand the physical imperfections that come with age, but also understand the richness of our history.

Vogel is based in Kingston, New York, at Blackcreek Mercantile & Trading Co. An extraordinary craftsman, he is aware of the implications of working with a natural resource such as this one. It’s clear that Vogel holds the forest very close to his heart, and has an affinity for nature that goes beyond carving wood.

You can read The Scout’s feature article on Josh Vogel and find out more about his work here.