A Tree Sculpture Made Of Thousands Of Wood Pieces

February 3, 2015

Seattle-based artist John Grade has created Middle Fork, a tree sculpture that has been made up of hundreds of thousands of individual wood pieces. To get the shape of the sculpture, John and his assistants scaled a 140-year old old-growth Western Hemlock tree, where they took plaster casts of its trunk and limbs.

You can see a ‘making of’ video – here

The sculpture is currently on view at MadArt in Seattle, WA. through April 25, 2015.


A description from the artist

Middle Fork, is made up of hundreds of thousands of individual wood pieces, creating an intricate and expansive form. The elaborate process of creating this sculpture began in a forest in North Bend, WA, where John and his team of assistants scaled a 140-year old Western Hemlock tree to take plaster casts of its trunk and limbs. Over the following 10 months at MadArt Space, the casts were used as guides in creating the complex structure of the sculpture.


Salvaged old-growth cedar was milled into blocks then layered, cut and bonded with the additional help of hundreds of volunteers. Each small block was oriented and shaped by an individual, responding to the cast topography of the tree’s surface.


The final result reveals a hollow, light-filled armature that holds the specific contours of the tree at a given moment in time, suspended horizontally at eye level, with limbs radiating outward towards the floor, walls, and ceiling.


After the sculpture is exhibited at MadArt, it will travel internationally for two years to art fairs and museums. It will then return to the base of the living tree from which the molds were taken, where it will gradually moss over and disintegrate into the ground.



Artist: John Grade
Photography by Amos Morgan and James Harnois