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As a lover of all things artsy, I am constantly on the lookout for pieces to bring into my museum-like home, or just posting incredible artwork that I can find on my Facebook profile. Though I’ve recently been coming across articles about innovative art forms, several of which are actually centuries old and have been resurrected by some truly creative individuals. This month, I’m showcasing two such forms that caught my attention: Pooktre tree shaping and eggshell carving. They are solid proof that if you put lots of time and effort into creating magic out of ordinary objects, the possibilities are endless and rewarding.
Pooktre Tree Shaping
This is a form of environmental art in which you train any living woody plant to grow and assume shapes of aesthetic and even useable structures. It requires an understanding of these plants and how they grow and involves absolutely no cutting nor carving. Specific cultures, as well as modern designers, use various methods and techniques to achieve breathtaking results, and the following practices are the most commonly implemented:
1. Shaping Methods
a) Aeroponic Growing
What is unique about this approach is that no soil or other similar means to grow plants are needed. Instead, plant roots are periodically suspended in an enclosed mist chamber of either water or a nutrient solution. They are essentially growing in air, so oxygen is plentiful.
b) Instant Tree Shaping
This process involves the bending and weaving of a matured plant’s curve and then holding the bends in place until they are permanently cast. Depending on the plant’s growth rate and the desired form of the designer, bends are held anywhere between an hour to several years. Understanding a plant’s fluid flow is crucial to mastering this method.
c) Gradual Tree Shaping
Time-wise, the end product of this method takes the longest to achieve because the designing and framing of plants is a gradual and ongoing process that begins at the seedling stage. Furniture designs can take decades to reach maturity.
2. Shaping Techniques
This technique uses materials such as timber, steel, tree hollow tubes, wire designs, wooden jigs, or whole plants. It has various functions, which include supporting grafted joints until the grafts can support themselves, bending mature plants until permanently cast in instant tree shaping, guiding aeroponically developed roots into desired forms, and shaping the growth of saplings in gradual tree shaping.
It is similar to inoculation, except that parts of two plants are combined by cutting one branch or plant and adding a piece of another plant to it. This is done to create permanent connections and joins so that the intertwined and grafted stems of two or several more plants can sculpt any desired shape.
This technique, which may sometimes be the only one used in a project, involves directing and controlling the growth of a plant’s design. It can also be used to remove unwanted branches from the design in progress and reduce the size of the plant’s canopy.
Carving Egg Shells
It’s Easter egg decorating taken to a whole new level. Eggshell carving is a practice that started in ancient civilizations, where the egg was celebrated as the symbol of fertility and thus decorated as part of fertility rituals. Try it at home, whether you want to start off basic or challenge yourself with finesse designs, by following these instructions:
Diamond drill bit
1. Cleaning the Egg
- Poke a hole on each side of the egg with the needle. Regardless of which side you start with, make sure that one hole is slightly larger than the other.
- Hold the egg over the bowl. Put the tip of the bulb syringe over the smaller hole, and squeeze the syringe to force air into the egg. The egg’s inner contents will be emptied into the bowl.
- Fill up the syringe with cool water and squeeze it into the now empty egg. When the egg is completely filled with water, gently shake it. Then, blow all the water out with the syringe. Let the egg totally dry before beginning to carve it.
2. Carving the Egg
Make sure to put on your gloves and mask first to avoid exposure to salmonella and dust.
- Draw any design you’d like in one of two ways: a) draw it directly onto the egg or b) draw it first on transfer paper, then place the paper over the egg to trace your design.
- Set the diamond drill bit on your rotary tool. Carefully but firmly hold your egg in one hand and the rotary tool in the other. Slowly carve away your drawn design on the egg.
- Pierce the egg with the diamond drill bit. Slowly remove the rest of your design. Put down your rotary tool, and brush dust left from carving off the egg with your free hand to make it smooth.
- • Using protective sealant, brush or spray your finished egg.
Story credits to teamdubuque.org, Wikipedia, and ehow.com