Group of Seven Sculptural Historic Oyster Poles
With Convex Circular Seed Housings and Raised Traces of Lime
Weathered, Hand Carved and Sea Pickled Oak
French, Atlantic Coast, c.1880
Tallest: 75", Shortest: 65"
Oyster sticks are individually constructed from single pieces of solid oak. Each stick is originally drilled with a series of simple holes down its length. Small amounts of organic lime putty was pushed into each hole and tiny seed oysters attached to it. the lime putty dries like a cement and the seed oyster was fixed in position. The poles were then attached to overhead ropes and hung vertically down into the water, (typically estuaries), and this was the beginning of fish farming.
The oyster sticks moved with the tide and in effect eventually become pickled by the sea salt and air, making them very hard wearing and long lasting. As the years pass, the wood erodes around the lime and the holes become increasingly prominent. These examples are around a hundred years old and have developed and amazing sculptural form and wonderful driftwood colour and surface. They are in original as found weathered condition.