Middle Fork – A Parametric Tree Sculpture by John Grade

Middle Fork

Middle Fork, is made up of hundreds of thousands of individual wood pieces.

This parametric sculpture Created by Seattle-based artist John Grade, 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.

1_Middle Fork-narrow end

Over the following 10 months at MadArt Space, the casts were used as guides in creating the complex structure of the sculpture.

2_Middle Fork-side view narrow end

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.

3_Middle Fork-narrow end

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.

4_Middle Fork-limbs detail

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.

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Project Info:

Artist: John Grade
Photography by Amos Morgan and James Harnois