Amazing Living Art: Pooktre Tree Shaping

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Peter Cook and Becky Northey met in 1995, became partners and began shaping plum tree suckers into living art they call Pooktre. During their first year they started shaping the young trees into a coffee table and a mirror frame – and it has grown from there.

The Tree People

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(images via: Pooktre)

The Pooktre tree people are an interesting and ongoing part of the Pooktre garden. The final use and location of many of the living tree people is undetermined, sometimes for years. Some will be harvested, while others will be permanent residents in the Pooktre garden. The Hello Man Pooktre ended up as the mascot for the Growing Village.

Mature Trees: After Years of Shaping…

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(images via: Pooktre)

Over the years the trees are shaped and formed into tables, hat and coat racks, chairs, beds, mirror frames and anything else Peter and Becky decide. The parts of the trees that are pruned off during the shaping are often rooted and are grown into more living art. The furniture is often used in the garden, long before harvest.

Shaping Trees into Furniture

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(images via: Pooktre)

The shaping process takes years. New trees are planted in the Spring and Peter and Becky harvest completed pieces in the Fall. After harvesting, the stumps usually sprout new growth, which can be again sculpted into living art or sustainable furniture.

Sustainable Furniture from Shaped Trees

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(images via: Pooktre)

After trees are carefully sculpted for years into the desired shape, the mature pieces are harvested. Peter saws the trees at the base and begins the work of removing the bark to create naturally beautiful and unique art furniture. After a six-month to three-year period of drying, the Pooktre is sanded and smoothed and the finished work is oiled or stained and given new life as a treasured heirloom.

Before the Pooktres: Intricate Wood Carvings

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(images via: Pooktre)

Peter is no stranger to working with wood. Before he and Becky began shaping trees he made amazingly intricate carvings from single pieces of wood. He still enjoys sculpting different types of wood and also works with sandstone. All of his unique artwork is always derived from nature.

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