Sunshine State in cypress unveiled outside Florida Senate

Tallahassee By: Julie Montanaro/WCTV Eyewitness News
January 14, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla (WCTV) - A new work of art was unveiled outside the Florida Senate Tuesday morning.

It’s an eight foot Florida carved in cypress.

The woodwork is the handy work of a Tallahassee artist who wants people to appreciate the state's natural beauty.

We were able to go behind the scenes at his workshop recently as he put the finishing touches on it before the big reveal.

The state of Florida awash in blue light now adorns the fifth floor entrance to the Florida Senate. Senate President Bill Galvano commissioned the piece for just shy of $50,000.

"I think it's absolutely astonishing. It represents everything that I wanted this work to represent. It's unique. It's definitely Florida," Senator Galvano said.

"Oh it's just gorgeous and the fact that it's a pecky cypress from North Florida makes it even more special," Tallahassee Senator Bill Montford said as he got a closer look.

The intricate carving was done right here at Rose Boulevard Custom Wood Design just five miles from the capitol in Barry Miller's backyard.

"I've been in Florida most of my life, so for me this is just a labor of love," Miller said.

Miller was putting some finishing touches on the St. Johns River when we stopped by last week.

"It's really pretty wood, but it's very difficult to work with," Miller said.

This pecky cypress was pulled from the bottom of the Florida's Ocklawaha River and painstakingly planed, carved, and sanded.

"I've sanded it in a way that really just makes you want to reach out and touch it and feel it and look at the grains," Miller said.

Miller was careful to include all the intricacies of Florida's coastline from Tampa bay to St. George Island to Lake Okeechobee.

Miller was trying to get all the curves and crannies and Keys just right.

The eight foot Florida would ultimately be brushed with a special oil from Sopchoppy.

"It's encapsulating just the beauty of natural Florida and I hope that people will see this and be proud of what I've done,” Miller said.

The Senate president named the artwork "Resilience.”

The wood for it was recovered by Florida Fish and Wildlife officers and is estimated to be more than 100 years old.

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