I make geometric and architectural sculpture by grafting trees together. Human initiated grafting of this sort is called Pleaching. By grafting the branches or trunks of the trees together I form shapes. These structures can be many trees grafted together. An example of a current project involves eleven trees grafted each to the next up a hillside like a long banister. I work with what are termed inosculate species of trees. Inosculate species graft easily to themselves ie; apples to apples willow to willow… You can’t graft between different species, as for example between pine and birch. Types of inosculates include not only the fruit trees like Apple and Pear, but also trees like Sycamore, Elm, Alder, and Privet.
A graft occurs when the branch or trunk of one tree in contact with that of another, eventually grow to form a living union. A graft may be formed between branches of the same tree, (its branches grafted back to itself,) or between one tree and another. Many unusual self grafting accidents of nature, where a branch grows back into itself or another tree, are see in old orchards, the woods. Occasionally in Urban areas, trees will grow around stone, metal fencing and even machinery!
I am introducing and including into my tree sculptures elements like glass, metal, stone, water piping and electric conduit. The trees grow around and incorporate these ingredients.