Installing in the Oregon Maple, part 1

The next stage in the artwork process was to decide where in the tree to install and how long each section of fabric needed to be. David Hackett kindly booked and organised getting the large and cumbersome scissors lift to the Oregon Maple on the morning of the 14th of September.

It would have been great if it were possible to continue using the scissors lift that day and finally install all the ‘tendons’ but unfortunately I had so much cutting of fabric to get the desired shape, sewing of the edges and inserting the eyelet fixing points that David will have to roll out all the equipment again for the final stage.

So on a windy sunny morning and on the same day that American Vice President Mike Pence visited Trinity College Dublin David Hackett and his team maneuvered the large scissors lift into position. Ironically we were up in the scissors lift when the Vice President visited the main square nearby.

See images from top of the tree looking down on the main square.

Before we could begin large boards had to be laid down on the grass to protect it from being damaged by the wheels of the lift.

See images of scissors lift preparation

As soon as all the preparation was completed David promptly buckled me into a harness system and up we went! I am not afraid of heights but it was still a nerve wrecking experience all the same. It takes a lot of skill and experience to get the cherry picker to the highest parts of the huge Oregon Maple, thankfully David is a great driver!

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See images of the tree as I was looking down at it from the topmost branches.  

For what happened next see the blog entitled Installing in the Oregon Maple, part 2. 

Behind the artworks – The Oregon Maple

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The Oregon Maple, location: Main square.

The main point of interest for our team and key inspiration for the artwork was the bracing system. This is a very precise system of high tensile stainless steel cables that have been stretched between the heavy limbs and the main trunk thus spreading the load of the heavier branches throughout the tree.

An interesting piece of information is that when the tree surgeon has drilled the correct size holes to insert the support rods he has only a 30 second time frame before the tree will start to repair itself and begin closing the holes.

Large yellow tendon-line artworks have been created by the artist in response to this tree.  These swathes of fabric will be stretched between the limbs and the trunk of the tree on the left mirroring some of the steel cables in the bracing system.

The material used for the artwork is a large continuous length of elasticated lycra. The imagery printed onto the fabric is inspired by the microscopic photographs taken from a cross section of a small branch highlighting the linear cellular pattern of the maple.  

The team will post some images of this art work after the exhibition opens to the public on Friday 29th of September 2017. 

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Image 1: the scanning electron microscope image that inspired the artwork for the Oregon Maple.  

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Image 2: the in-between image. The artist worked with various photoshop filters and touchup techniques to arrive at the final result.  

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Image 3: is the final artwork that was transferred onto a printing screen.