trees

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Design

A Japanese Forestry Technique Prunes Upper Branches to Create a Tree Platform for More Sustainable Harvests

October 27, 2020

Grace Ebert

Image via Wrath of Gnon

Literally translating to platform cedar, daisugi is a 14th- or 15th-century technique that offers an efficient, sustainable, and visually stunning approach to forestry. The method originated in Kyoto and involves pruning the branches of Kitayama cedar so that the remaining shoots grow straight upward from a platform. Rather than harvesting the entire tree for lumber, loggers can fell just the upper portions, leaving the base and root structure intact.

Although daisugi mostly is used in gardens or bonsai today, it originally was developed to combat a seedling shortage when the demand for taruki, a type of impeccably straight and knot-free lumber, was high. Because the upper shoots of Kitayama cedar can be felled every 20 years, which is far sooner than with other methods, the technique grew in popularity.

To see daisugi up close, watch this video chronicling pruning, felling, and transplanting processes. (via Kottke)

 

Image via Komori Zouen

A scroll depicting daisugi by Housen Higashihara, courtesy of the auction house

 

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Craft

Quaint Campsites and Forests Populate Miniature Scenes of Carved Wood

October 15, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Thibaut Malet, shared with permission

Based in Montpellier, France, Thibaut Malet (previously) spent much of his childhood in his father’s workshop, which housed the family’s cabinetry business. At 10-years-old, the third-generation woodworker began sculpting the organic material, although his creations were infinitesimal compared to his dad’s counterparts. Malet carved miniature scenes spotted in everyday life, imagining new, small-scale worlds. “It was a way to work with wood without using the too dangerous machines of my father. My parents organized a tiny workshop in a small room, and it was perfect,” he shares with Colossal.

Although Malet never studied the trade in an official capacity, he now works as a designer and wood artist after a few years as an architect and furniture maker, a background that’s evident in his tiny scenes. Malet carves quaint cabins and outdoor equipment, including canoes, ladders, and seating areas, nestled among the trees or at the base of a ravine. Each structure is unique, whether built as a simple A-frame or a more complex, vaulted chalet. Intentionally minimal, the scenes reflect the artist’s commitment to “working with the least amount of material. It’s a reflection on saving material and space,” he says. “I’ve always liked the challenge of making things as small as I can.”

Many of Malet’s scenic wood carvings, which you can follow on Instagram and Behance, are available for purchase in his shop.

 

 

 



Art

Uncoiled Rope Sprawls Across Canvases and Open Spaces in Organic Forms by Artist Janaina Mello Landini

September 3, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Ciclotrama (expansão)” (2019), 4 Ciclotramas of “expansion” series with varied sizes, black and blue ropes, 270 x 600 x 400 centimeters. Zipper Galeria, São Paulo, Brazil. Photo by Gui Gomes. All images © Janaina Mello Landini, shared with permission

Janaina Mello Landini (previously) unbraids lengths of rope to create fibrous labyrinths that breach canvases’ edges and crawl from floor to ceiling. Including both sprawling site-specific installations and smaller pieces confined to a few dozen centimeters, the São Paulo-based artist’s body of work is broad. All of her projects, though, explore tension and space as they spread into arboreal forms or perfectly round networks.

Her recent works include a massive tree-like installation that fans out across Zipper Gallery’s floor and walls into delicate, tape blossoms. Another is a smaller, numbered piece that was born from the artist’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  “My days are quite slow now, no more assistants around, but I’m still working and thinking a lot,” she shares with Colossal and notes that at the beginning of lockdowns, she completed “Ciclotrama 177 (Fibonacci),” which is shown below.

Since 2010, Landini has been contributing to her Ciclotrama series, a moniker that defines each piece. “The social cartography of individual networks shows the infinite interconnectedness of personal trajectories throughout a system, society, and the world as a whole. The movement of bodies (ropes) and the relationship between rhythm and time are also fundamental aspects of these series,” she says.

To dive further into Landini’s work, check out her Instagram or Artsy, and take a virtual tour of her recent show at Zipper Gallery.

 

“Ciclotrama 177 (Fibonacci)” (2020), cotton threads and acrylic pen on canvas, 1.7 x 1.7 meters. Photo by Lucas Cimino

“Ciclotrama 177 (Fibonacci)” (2020), cotton threads and acrylic pen on canvas, 1.7 x 1.7 meters. Photo by Lucas Cimino

“Ciclotrama 141 (épura)” (2019), 20 meters of handmade cotton rope diameter 24 centimeters and 2880 meters of paper tape, 700 x 800 x 1600 centimeters. Zipper Galeria, São Paulo, Brazil. Photo by Gui Gomes

Left: “Ciclotrama 153 (aglomeração)” (2020), rope on canvas, 43 3/10 × 43 3/10 inches. Right: “Ciclotrama 124” (2018), Dipado rope sewed on natural linen, 78 7/10 × 78 7/10 × 2 inches

“Ciclotrama 141 (épura)” (2019), 20 meters of handmade cotton rope diameter 24 centimeters and 2880 meters of paper tape, 700 x 800 x 1600 centimeters. Photo by Gui Gomes

“Ciclotrama (expansão)” (2019), 4 Ciclotramas of “expansion” series with varied sizes, black and blue ropes, 270 x 600 x 400 centimeters. Zipper Galeria, São Paulo, Brazil. Photo by Gui Gomes

“Ciclotrama (expansão)” (2019), 4 Ciclotramas of “expansion” series with varied sizes, black and blue ropes, 270 x 600 x 400 centimeters. Zipper Galeria, São Paulo, Brazil. Photo by Gui Gomes

“Ciclotrama 141 (épura)” (2019), 20 meters of handmade cotton rope diameter 24 centimeters and 2880 meters of paper tape, 700 x 800 x 1600 centimeters. Photo by Gui Gomes

“Ciclotrama 141 (épura)” (2019), 20 meters of handmade cotton rope diameter 24 centimeters and 2880 meters of paper tape, 700 x 800 x 1600 centimeters. Photo by Gui Gomes

“Ciclotrama 174 (impregnação)” (2019), 50 meters of black nylon rope 40 millimeters diameter and 4.200 black nails, 6 x 7 x 5 meters. Photo by Gui Gomes

 

 



Art

Thick Clusters of Wooden Birdhouses by London Fieldworks Sprawl Across Tree Trunks

August 20, 2020

Anna Marks

“Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven.” All images © London Fieldworks

In London Fieldworks’ delicate creations, architecture meets nature. Its installations feature pine-colored clusters of minuscule wooden forms that appear to grow upon vast tree trunks. Founded by artists Bruce Gilchrist and Jo Joelson, London Fieldworks is a collaborative and multidisciplinary arts practice with projects at the intersection of architecture, sculpture, installation, and film. 

Each of the homes has rounded windows and doors, while those on large evergreen trees resemble natural objects, such as wasp and hornet nests or even fungi and mushrooms. From reflecting Clerkenwell’s urban renewal to offering new habitats for animals, the sprawling birdhouses fuse architectural ideas with nature and art, resulting in sculptures that integrate effortlessly in both natural and urban spaces. Through its installations, the practice explores its concern with the climate crisis through the lens of history, the environment, and culture.

One work, “Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven,” references opposite sides of London: Duncan Terrace Gardens in the east and Cremorne Gardens in the west. The installation is constructed from hundreds of bespoke bird boxes reflecting the forms of the local architecture—a combination of Modernist 60’s social housing and Georgian townhouses

Explore more of London Fieldworks’ projects on its site. You also might enjoy this similarly dense complex for avian neighbors.

 

“Spontaneous City: Clerkenwell”

Right: “Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven”

“Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven”

“Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven”

“Spontaneous City in the Tree of Lebanon”

 

 



Art

Lush Florals and Ripe Fruit Sprout from Lustrous Glass Trees by Artist Debora Moore

July 17, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Debora Moore, shared with permission

Combining traditional glassblowing techniques and sculpting methods, Debora Moore forms lustrous glass sculptures that resemble mossy branches, fleshy petals, and entire trees. The St. Louis-born artist began by creating orchids with bulbous centers before expanding her practice to larger, organic forms. In her recent collection, Arboria, Moore sculpted delicate magnolias, plump plums, and the lavender tendrils of the wisteria.

The fragile artworks create a tension between the delicate material, the fleeting lives of flowers, and the strength and durability of nature. Moore likens her process to that of painting, where glass is used similarly to produce depth. “The material’s inherent ability to transmit and reflect light, as well as its variations from transparency to opacity, lends itself perfectly to achieve desired textures and surfaces,” she says in a statement.

To dive further into Moore’s process and see her studio, check out this interview and her site.

 

Left: “Purple Lady Slipper,” blown and sculpted glass, 35 x 21 x 8 inches. Right: “Paphiopedilum Epiphyte,” blown and sculpted glass, 35 x 9 x 9 inches

“Magnolia” from Arboria (2018), blown and sculpted glass, 104 x 112 x 30 inches

“Winter Plum” from Arboria (2018), blown and sculpted glass, 72 x 101 x 23 inches

“Winter Plum” from Arboria (2018), blown and sculpted glass, 72 x 101 x 23 inches

“Blue Lady Slippers” from Gigantica, blown and sculpted glass, 19 x 20 x 11 inches

“Wisteria” from Arboria (2018), blown and sculpted glass, 93 x 86 x 36 inches

“Wisteria” from Arboria (2018), blown and sculpted glass, 93 x 86 x 36 inches

Left: “Blue Orchid Tree,” blown and sculpted glass, 42 x 35 x 10 inches. Right: “Pink Lady Slipper,” blown and sculpted glass, 62 x 43 x 8 inches

“Blue Epiphyte,” blown and sculpted glass, 22 x 9.5 x 7.5 inches

“Magnolia” from Arboria (2018), blown and sculpted glass, 104 x 112 x 30 inches

“Blush Epidendrum,” blown and sculpted glass, 23 x 17 x 9 inches

 

 



Art Craft

Multi-Layered Ceramics by Artist Heesoo Lee Express the Movements of Land and Sea

July 9, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Heesoo Lee, shared with permission

Heesoo Lee has spent years carefully layering blades of grass, pine trees, and cherry blossoms to construct botanic entanglements that crawl across ceramic mugs and bowls. Inspired by seasonal woodlands and aspen forests, the Montana-based artist recreates bright pockets of landscapes that capture small motions, like falling fronds or rustling branches. “There is movement in trees, but it is slow and subtle, a leaf in wind, the slow growth of new leaves in spring,” she says.

While Lee has continued this tradition with many of her recent pieces, she’s expanded her source material to the ocean. For seven years, the artist lived in Maui, where she often surveyed the water. “I could sit on a beach all day and watch the waves, observe them, and feel calmed by them but also respectful of their energy and force,” she says. The memory has inspired a textured piece that swells upward to form a cavernous bowl. “Even in a small object, the waves are powerful and convey so much. For me, the waves connote freedom, the freedom to express myself and take risks,” the artist writes.

Diverging from land posed new challenges in Lee’s process. For landscapes, the artist repeats elements in layers to create a fully formed piece, but the same technique didn’t translate to water. “The first time I tried to make waves I failed. I failed over and over and over after that. There were cracks, pieces broke off,” she says. “I realized the feeling of making a wave is so much different from making a landscape.” Instead, Lee retrained her hands to follow the movement of the water, using slip casting, carving, and a series of manual techniques to capture its energy and force. Her color palette changed from amalgamations that evoked seasons to a precise set of blues.

Despite her forays into aquatic forms, Lee maintains an affinity for grassy fields and windswept boughs, which she explains:

My seasonal work, landscapes that focus on all four seasons, are still a mainstay of my practice. The memories that fuel the images are so powerful for me, and it gives me great pleasure to share my interpretation of those memories with people… I have heard from people that drinking from a cup I made helped them channel their own memories of the outdoors and the seasons, even during a time when they are stuck inside.

To purchase one of the artist’s organic works, follow her on Instagram, where she often shares shop updates, in addition to early looks into her process.

 

 

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