1987 Peter CookAs it is national tree week here in Ireland (7-13 March) at the moment, I thought a tree related post would be appropriate. So what better way to celebrate national tree week, than growing your own chair out of trees!!!!!!!!!
Unfortunately as I am currently renting a house in the centre of Dublin city, so I am unable to get to try this out myself, during national tree week, but as soon as I have time to head out to the home place in the heart of the country side of West Cork, I will be heading to our local nursery (which coincidentally, happens to be one of the best in the country www.futureforests.net/) to pick up some native trees to give this a go. If you click on the picture below, it will take you to a page on ‘Arborsmith Studios’ website where you will see instructions on how to create one of the magnificent chairs.
Click on the picture to see instructions by arborsmith on how to create a tree chair.
When researching for my living willow structures post, I came across many of these living chairs.
The idea of creating these fantastic structures has been around for some time.
Richard Reames creations
Probably one of the earliest depictions of a living chair is in a painting by Jean Perreal, from 1516 called ‘Dialogue between the Alchemist and Nature’.
‘Dialogue between the Alchemist and Nature’ by Jean Perreal 1516
Axel N Erlandson 1925
Some of the more resent contributions include Peter Cook, (pictured at the beginning of the post) who in 1987 asked himself, "I wonder if I can grow a chair?" The answer to this question is evident in the picture at the top of the post.
More recently in 2000, sixty year old Chinese chair designer, Mr. Wu has been shaping elm tree branches into chairs. It takes Wu about five years to grow a tree chair, during which time he constantly trims and guides it into shape before harvesting it. He currently has one tree chair in his home, and six more in production.
Mr. Wu 2000
Although there are many more examples, the final example I will mention is Arbor smith and sculpture Richard Reames, (the guy who’s instructions above you all will be using to plant your own chairs). Richard opened Arborsmith Studios (A tree nursery/art studio) 1993. He has grown many of these chars, and in 1995 wrote a book on the matter, simply titled ‘How to Grow a Chair’
Richard Reames 2000
So I hope ye are all inspired now, and that you all go off now on this national tree week to continue on this tradition started over 100 years ago!
There are still a number of events on this weekend, right around the country. To find out what in happening in your area, follow the tree council of Ireland link http://treecouncil.ie/tree_council_national_tree_week.htm