Arborsculpture: Making Chairs in Trees


(image source: Arborsmith)

Ever hear of arborsculpture? Well, I never had until I read this interview with Richard Reames, one of the world’s foremost arborsculptor. Before you cast any befuddled looks my way, let me define it for you: Arborsculpture is the “art of shaping tree trunks to create art and functional items through bending, grafting, pruning, and multiple planting.” It is almost akin to bonsai which is a gardening art that specializes in making miniature trees. I consider the art of bonsai somewhat ‘insensitive’ plant life because you are restricting and controling its natural growth. I remember a Marathi movie, Chaukat Raja in which they had likened a mentally retarded person to a bonsai. But then, anything even hedge trimming could be considered unnatural.

Another interesting thing that caught my eye was when Richard Reames brought up the topic of ‘living houses’:

I believe that if enough people put their minds to using living trees,
we can learn to grow houses. I believe that if we put our minds to it,
like going to the moon, there’s no reason we couldn’t all be living in
houses where the walls and ceilings are composed of living tree
material and there are leaves coming out of the roof. We could
accomplish this in one generation. We’d build doorways and windows that
the trees would grow around, and also plumbing and electrical conduits.
The trees would just swallow all the pipes. We’re going to call this

This ties in perfectly with my personal philosophy that we can never have enough trees and a better way of living would be to live in harmony with trees instead of just cutting them down. The environmental effects of trees in living are well documented (see image below):


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