In The Essence of Dendrolatry

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Dendrolatry refers to the tendency of many societies throughout history to worship or otherwise mythologize trees. (read more of this definition at  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_worship )

I am one of many artists, each given a chair to transform to sell at an upcoming charitable auction called “Sitting Pretty”.  A ticketed reception will be held on Saturday November 16th. Please follow link to learn more about this event  http://www.ccha-orleans.org/sitting%20pretty/default.html

“In The Essence of Dendrolatry”

When I received this chair at random to transform into “art”, I couldn’t help but appreciate it for what it already was. I admit, I loved this chair just as it arrived.  It was skillfully crafted by hand rather than by machine, had a rich walnut stain and spindled, windsor style back. To be honest, I used it as my studio chair for quite some time because I liked it so much. I didn’t really want to transform it. I wanted to appreciate it. This chair once stood strong and tall as a towering tree in some forest, somewhere. It once had a life growing, photosynthesising and converting carbon dioxide into oxygen. It was a home to many wild things, animals, insects, microbes and alike. One day it was selected as a specimen for human need, want, manipulation and transformation. The tree was worked first by machine into many cuts, before being worked with much craft by someone’s hands. This chair was presumably used for many years as it exhibited some aged wear. However, this chair was treated well and still stood with much presence. I couldn’t help but appreciate the journey  this tree, this chair had endured. So In such appreciation I began by adding Oak branches in their natural state as embellishments to the chair’s design. The use of the Oak branches also symbolises where this chair orignially came from. I carefully cut, bent and wired each piece, while creating what I call “wire rose knots” as I went. I felt this use of wire was not only a unique design but also symbolised my human hand in the process. Then I sanded into the chair’s stain revealing its natural wood beneath. I selectively did this to again bring out the natural presence of this chair, while incorporating a sort of modern design. This also led to show another stage in this wood’s process. Lastly, I sanded down a circle within the seat of the chair and overlaid it with a translucent paper. I wanted to give the appearance of something Earthly but also cyclical.

Overall, this piece shows the different phases of wood from tree to chair. It tells a story of appreciation and process. Working with this chair truly allowed me to submerse myself “In The Essence of Dendrolatry”. -Tessa D’Agostino

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Published in: Uncategorized on November 4, 2013 at 7:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

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