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Interview: The Handmade Tree Chair Interview: The Handmade Tree Chair

Interview: The Handmade Tree Chair

by ReadyMade
January 19, 2010

This article is part of The GOOD (and ReadyMade) Guide to Slowing Down, from GOOD Issue 18. Read more of the guide here.Peter Cook and Becky Northey, Australians, wanted to see if it was possible to grow a chair. So they tried. Then they tried growing other things-mirror frames, tables, tree people-and the results are what they call Pooktres.Why a tree chair? We started exploring the possibility of "I wonder if I can grow a chair" in 1987. So we began playing with Pete's original concept of creating with trees.How long does it take to make a Pooktre? From one to 10 growing seasons, depending on the design.How many parts are there? Either one tree or small groupings of trees.What is the hardest part about making one? Getting the design and framework right, understanding your tree's reactions. The more gradual the shaping of the tree the better.How many did you  make? We have about 70 different art projects on the go.Why are your chairs better than mass-produced ones you can get at a store? Creating with living trees is the way of the future. Once there is a method that other people can replicate, trees will be viewed differently, therefore transforming the world.Can you share a few words of wisdom about the benefits of doing things the slow way? Many people believe tree-shaping takes far too long, but that is not how tree-shaping should be viewed. Rather, think of it like this: The time you spend shaping a tree is captured by the tree, and then amplified over time. Twenty, 30, 50, or maybe a few hundred years from now, people will be able to see and enjoy a tree that you shaped. Why not leave a gift for the future?LEARN MORE: To see the chair and other tree creations, visit pooktre.comIllustration by Tim Lahan
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