About Mountain Wildwoods
Throughout the USA, there are several species of juniper trees. Rocky Mountain Junipers are some of the world's oldest living trees, with some pushing 2,000 years. These twisted trees survive on steep rocky hillsides, where they grow very slowly over many centuries. The harsh conditions of their environment and extreme slow growth contribute to their curved and twisted appearance.
Only dead or dying wood is suitable for harvesting. On a handful of properties throughout Montana, Tom scours the countryside in search of the perfect wood pieces. This time spent in the field is the most rewarding and inspiring part of the creative process.
From the field, the wood is cleaned and processed. This removes the dirt and debris coating the wood and reveals the grain pattern beneath.
It is then taken to a storage warehouse full of cleaned, raw juniper slabs and sculptures. With this large inventory of processed juniper specimens to choose from, virtually and custom furniture, artwork, or large installation can be conceived.
About Tom Benedict
In 2005, after two seasons of working in Yellowstone National Park, I moved to Montana. Back then, I spent the majority of my days in the mountains searching for shed elk antlers. These, I would sell to antler artists across the state.
Over time, my pursuits expanded beyond just shed antlers. Precious and semi precious stones, fossils, artifacts, and ancient bison skulls were added to the hit list.
These days, my excursions mainly revolve around finding the most uniquely shaped pieces of dead juniper wood on the mountain. The thrill of finding the perfect sculpture, table base, or cribbage board among forests of gnarled juniper trees is what keeps me loving my work.
Working with juniper has been a self taught endeavor spanning the last eight years. I’ve come up with my own techniques, and in some cases built custom tools to get the job done. I do most of the work out of my small workshop in Three Forks, Montana.