The Art & Science of Designer Trees
Treesculpturing is an art and technique of growing and shaping trees and other woody plants. It’s natural that the trees take various shapes to cope up hindrances, growth blocks and other factors.
The word Arborsculpture is derived from the words arbor (Latin for tree) and sculpture. It was first used in the book How to Grow a Chair- The Art of Tree Trunk Topiary (1995) authored by Reames and Delbol.
Furniture Growing Technology
Nothing secret about it. No biotechnology or bioengineering involved. This amazing tree transformation into designer furniture is achieved by grafting, bending and pruning the selected trees into various shapes either ornamental or useful.
Tree shaping relies on the ability of plants (trees) to be united together by approach grafting and the ability to retain a new shape when new layers of wood forms to hold a desired shape.
Three shaping is accomplished by wounding two or more parts of a tree or trees by cutting off the bark, to or past the cambium layer and then binding the wounded parts together so good contact is secure while the wounded tree parts grow together.
Stems or branches, are bent into shapes and temporarily braced for a year or more depending on the amount of resistance overcome. During that time, additional layers of wood grow. These new layers of wood act like a natural cast, keeping the Stem and branches in the new desired shape. The temporary bracing can be removed after the shape holds itself. Like this tree was shaped into a face.
Pruning may be required to remove unwanted branches and direct the growth into the desired shape. Pruning may also redirect stem growth. A pruning cut above a Leaf or Node can steer the plant. If a leaf points to the right, then a cut above that leaf will produce new growth that grows to the right side. Likewise, a cut above a leaf pointing to the left, produces new growth that grows to the left.
Using these methods (also used in Arboriculture), items like benches, chairs, etc., can be formed from trees by bending, merging and manipulating Plant tissue.
Pruning tools utilized by a pruning and arborsculpture specialist for cutting twigs and branches. These tools include handpruners (Secateur) and a pruning saw.
The tools, materials and items for bending and shaping are virtually unlimited – basically, whatever each “Arborsculpturist” chooses for bending, fastening and restraining. This could include wood boards, pipe, rope, wire, string, tape, etc.. Even an item like a metal patio bench could be used as a pattern or mold.
The time required to grow and construct an arborsculpture project varies, depending on the size of starter material, the species rate of growth, cultivation conditions and the height of the design. It is possible to perform initial grafting and bending on a project in an hour, removing tape or material that holds the grafting or shape in as little as 1 year and following up with minimal pruning thereafter.
Taller projects like the archway by Axel Erlandson may require 10 years or more to grow the trees tall enough to accomplish the grafting. Large trees could be bent into shape and grafted or bolted together in an afternoon.
Different styles of arborsculpture have different time requirements. When growing arborsculpture intended for harvesting and drying there is a defined point that the piece is finished. When growing a piece intended to stay alive it could be argued that the piece is never finished until it dies.
The common assumption is that these things take a long time and a lot of patience, the truth is time is an illusion and the sooner one starts the sooner one will have a substantially large tree. Do children grow up fast? How fast has the last 10 years of your life gone by ? You see it is all relative isn’t it ?
Next we will learn soon the Art of Growing Furniture and yes it will be for free.