This incense stick holder has been cut and carved in central Scotland by hand from a hazel branch. It has been sanded very smooth and finished with linseed oil only, giving a natural look and texture to the piece. The holder measures approximately 23cm (9") long and 3.5cm (1 1/4") wide.
Having used incense stick holders for some time I find the ones that I usually come across have ash catching channels that are shallow and narrow. My holders are more of an elongated bowl, meaning less precision lining up of the stick and a deeper groove to allow less trips to the bin, and greater surety that the ash will not be spilled on the table.
A truly spiritual tree, Hazel has many associations in the folklore of various cultures, but a running theme is that of wisdom, knowledge and protection.
Where I grew up there are many stands of hazel that had been coppiced by previous generations, meaning that these mysterious, moss covered groves were once managed by felling the tree and allowing the stump to produce many long, straight rods.
The flexible rods once saw a variety of uses including the construction of fencing and "wattle and daub" structures but the only modern one I can think of would be in the making of walking sticks, where the hazel is bent easily to create the crooks.