Prattville Man Commemorates School Football Champion with Special Gift From Fallen Tree

Will Bellucci works on a project in his Prattville workshop.
Will Bellucci works on a project in his Prattville workshop.
A finished vessel carved from a tree trunk.
A finished vessel carved from a tree trunk.

Prattville, Al. (WSFA) -- In a non-descript garage in east Prattville, Will Bellucci is creating what he believes is something extraordinary. He's chiseling away on another vessel, a piece of wood that used to be part of a tree trunk.

"That's goose bumps for me," said Bellucci.

It's the kind of passion you can see in the bowl Bellucci plans to give to the Prattville City Council in honor of the Prattville High School's football championship. Here's what Bellucci inscribed on the wooden bowl: Within my shade lions roared.

"That's because this tree was right next to the stadium. You want to listen to them roar? Go to a game on a Fright night and you'll hear them roar," Bellucci said.

And the Prattville Lions did roar, winning back-to-back championships, but the water oak tree no longer stands. Age and time took their toll but Bellucci saved part of the tree trunk, more than a hundred pounds of it.

"It was a monster," he recalled.

In all it took Will Bellucci about 40 hours to put the shine on what will eventually go into Prattville High School's trophy case.  Not far from all of his machinery, Bellucci has 700 bowls and vessels waiting to be inscribed and polished up.

"I want them to have a book next to it and write a memory of that tree you might have," Bellucci said.

Bellucci has a partner in the wood-carving business. You could say Rachel Scheffel is a student-in-training. She is the one who painstakingly carved out the beads on top of the bowl, all 78 of them. It's a job that requires a steady hand, long hours and:

"Good eyes," Scheffel said with a smile.

It is Scheffel who wants to learn more about what they consider a lost art.

"I love all of it. All parts require a different skill," said Scheffel.

"I think most artists who do anything they want to create something meaningful," said Bellucci.

The master wood-carver teaching the student, sculpting dead wood back to life.