I’m back after a rather lengthy Christmas break to share this amazing Kickstarter project with you guys. Trees Patiently Grown into Art and Furniture by Full Grown.
Trees Patiently Grown into Art and Furniture
Using ancient techniques combined with modern technology we grow, graft, nurture then harvest living trees into Chairs, Tables, Sculpture – anything you can imagine. Each piece is unique, epitomising elegant cooperation between nature and craftsmen that could last for hundreds of years. A Statement, an Heirloom and a Legacy.
As a kid while playing in the garden, Gavin Munro witnessed a bonsai tree that seemed to resemble a chair. Essentially this was the first stepping stone in what would today become an entire farm of growing trees destined to become art and furniture objects.
How are these Grown Furniture pieces made?
In essence its an incredibly simple art. You start by training and pruning young tree branches as they grow over specially made formers. At certain points we then graft them together so that the object grows in to one solid piece – I’m interested in the way that this is like an organic 3D printing that uses air, soil and sunshine as its source materials. After it’s grown into the shape we want, we continue to care for and nurture the tree, while it thickens and matures, before harvesting it in the Winter and then letting it season and dry. It’s then a matter of planing and finishing to show off the wood and grain inside.
The whole process takes place over seasons and years – between 4 and 8 years to grow a chair – but when you look at how long and how much effort it takes us now to go from having no tree to the final wooden object, then you realise that the craft we’re a part of developing is not just more cooperative with the natural world; it has an elegant efficiency all of it own.
Has this been done before?
Yes, It’s been going on for millennia. Apparently, the ancient Greeks & Egyptians grew stools and the Chinese dug holes and filled them with chair-shaped rocks and grew tree roots through the gaps.
More recently in 1904 John ‘Dammit’ Krubsack planted the ‘Chair That Grew’. It took him 11 years and I can completely see why he was nicknamed ‘Dammit’! He inspired Axel Earlanderson who made the tree circus in the 1950s in California – sadly he died without telling anyone how he did it. He in turn inspired even more people, some of whom we’ve had the pleasure of meeting; The wonderful Dr. Chris Cattle (http://www.grown-furniture.co.uk) whose grown stools directly inspired me to take the plunge and have a go, and the creative and knowledgeable Peter Cook and Becky North, (http://pooktre.com) who have a great book to help folk start their own grown projects.
Their first prototype chair has now found a permanent residence at the National Museum of Scotland. Along with the rest of his team, Munro has launched a Kickstarter to help their final year before the harvest. Make sure to visit the official website to learn more.