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0 "Middle Fork" - The GIANT SCULPTURAL TREE CAST From A 140-year-old Hemlock Tree by John Grade

“Middle Fork”, is the newest sculpture by local Seattle artist John Grade, known for creating large-scale sculptures in unusual ubran areas, and is also the first exhibit at the new MadArt Space in Seattle.

Of course, a sculpture on such a huge scale also requires huge help. Countless volunteers aided in making this enormous scale mold of a 140-year-old tree a reality.

All photos © John Grade

It all started a year ago when Grade along with his assistants and a team of tree specialits, scaled a Western Hemlock tree in North Bend, Washington. At nearly 90 feet in the air they created sectional plaster molds of the living tree which were carefully lowered and transported back to the MadArt space over a period of two weeks.

Over the next 12 months, hundreds of volunteers (some who walked in right off the streets) helped to create a hollow sculpture of the tree using hundreds of thousands of small wood blocks, salvaged from old-growth cedar and bonded with waterproof glue.

After all the pieces were in place and refined, the tree sculpture was oriented horizontally and suspened from the ceiling in the gallery so that visitors can view the center of the trunk at eye level. Limbs will radiate outward toward the floor, walls, and ceiling, allowing visitors to view a familiar organic form from new perspectives.

The finished piece will be displayed at MadArt Space from January 25 through April 25th, 2015, before traveling to art fairs and museums, including the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery.
And what is to become of this great sculpture after it has been exhibted? It will be placed at the foot of the tree from which it was cast, gradually mossing over and degrading into the forest floor.


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