On Saturday, Eric and I spent some time walking the trails at Fruitlands Museum. Here we took in nature and art because Joseph Wheelwright’s sculptures on are display throughout the Fruitlands property. You can read more about Fruitlands here
Joseph Wheelwright is a master carver of stone, trees, bones and other natural materials. He works in Boston and Vermont and received his BA from Yale and his MFA from RISD. His website doesn’t explain much about his process in creating the tree figures. My understanding is that he tends to use trees that have either been uprooted or have their roots exposed. The tree is then removed from the ground and taken to his studio where a transformation occurs. The root ball (or some variant of it) is preserved and serves as the figure’s head and/or “hair.” You can visit Wheelwright’s website here.
Here are pictures of the figures on display at Fruitlands. They are quite fascinating. In the first picture, you’ll see a woman coming down the trail toward the figure and a small child staring up at the tree figure. This gives you an idea of the height of Wheelwright’s figures.
Oracle is a pine tree and was, appropriately enough, placed between two large pine trees just off the hiking trail.
Sometimes, the photographer’s timing and the lighting are in sync. I was thrilled with the way the picture below turned out.
Doesn’t it look like she is playing with a ball of light?
This tree, another hornbeam tree, really did look like it had survived a fire.
These last two figures can be seen from Prospect Hill Road as you drive past the entrance to Fruitlands. From the road they look rather imposing and scary.
Predator Tree below looks the biggest and scariest from the road. Walking up to him, he didn’t see so big and scary.
On second glance, however, his face is a little intimidating. A face, as they say, that only a mother could love….
Joseph Wheelwright’s Tree Figures are on display through the fall of 2010 at Fruitlands.