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Wednesday, 25 January 2017

I'm Building a Tree

A few more leaves have gone on since this photo, but it is kind of a slow process! I ended up using a Copic Sketch pen to colour coffee filter paper, as I found that painting regular paper just didn't give me both the depth of colour and the required translucency. The skeleton of the tree is a nicely shaped twig I found in the garden some time ago, painted all over with tacky glue for strength. Despite that, I did manage to break one of the twiglets, see the whitish lump on the lower part of the bare branch? It is one of several thin coats of carpenter's glue, which has now dried clear and has mended the break in the twig beautifully.

The old thread spool is my "third hand"; it allows me to hold the tree while applying the leaves, as well as acting as a holder while the glue dries. The trunk will likely be cut a bit shorter, as Japanese maples tend to be lower to the ground than most trees. This is not an artfully dwarfed tree, just a "reaching to heaven" type; the one I have in my garden is one of the lower, dwarfed variety, which we coddle through each winter with its own little protective tent, hoping it will survive for another year....

I am using two sizes of punch, and allowing the paper to be coloured in streaks, in order to add more life to the leaves. Because filter paper is so thin, I have to punch a double layer of leaves through two layers of wax paper - for visibility - then peel everything apart, discard the wax paper leaves, and shape the filter paper leaves. The larger ones are getting three shaping creases each, the smaller ones just one. And no, I will not be making any trees for sale any time soon, unless the purchaser agrees to a cost of well over a hundred dollars!

The gate house has been mapped out; I think I know how to proceed. Instead of dowel supports, I am going to use half inch square basswood, which can be rabbeted to take the flat wall panels in between the large posts. The posts will be distressed to look more in keeping with the project. I don't think this will be a modern house, it is beginning to want to be a more traditional form of Japanese house.

 I didn't have enough decent basswood for the four beams required, but was able to acquire some of the not-so-great stuff from the local hobby store, for a price, of course! And it was their last piece in that size. There will be one fixed, barred door and one that will actually slide, hopefully, made from planks of basswood drilled to take the bamboo skewer bars, and the whole set into a basswood frame.


  1. Those leaves look gorgeous, Mom!

  2. Un elemento indispensable,el arce japonés,me encanta su colorido,las hojas se ven perfectas!!!!