Making the artworks – the plane tree

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The Plane tree nodule collected and ready to begin moulding

 

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The finished plaster backed silicone two piece mould of the nodule

 

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Wax samples testing how much red colourant to add to the microcrystalline wax to get the desired colour.

 

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Partial wax for colour and surface texture texting

 

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Resultant partial wax test

 

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Two wax copies from both parts of the mould

 

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Both halves of the wax mould brought together to create a working 3d model.

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Two working wax works ready to be properly adhered together.

The drilling of the holes to represent the imagery from the microscope will be added at a later stage.

I will post images of the final wax works when they have been installed in the trees after the official opening on September 29th.

Science Notes: Plane Tree Nodules

The nodules on the plane trees give them an unusual knobbly shape. They are also unusual when viewed at high magnification in the scanning electron microscope. This SEM photo shows a rather messy, chaotic structure…

Plane Tree Nodules fig1 …which is very different from that of normal wood. For example here’s a picture Clodagh took of a twig from the Oregon maple, at the same magnification:

 Plane Tree Nodules fig2 This remarkably regular pattern of cells makes the wood very strong and light. The nodule is also made of cells, but they have grown in a chaotic, random pattern, creating material which is much weaker. This explains why these trees have made very thick trunks to support their weight. Nodular wood is much sought-after by woodturners because it makes a beautiful patterned surface when made into, for example, a bowl, but they know to treat it very carefully because it breaks easily.

Not all the wood in the plane trees is chaotic though. Clodagh found this area where the tree has managed to get back to something approaching a regular cellular structure:

Plane Tree Nodules fig3

David