Cool Idea: Tree Stump Relief Printing


For good reason, environmentalists are up in arms over rain forests being bulldozed for their timber value, one of the earth's greatest biological treasures left carved down to sad little stumps. If I were to play devil's advocate, I'd call up Bryan Nash Gill, who has translated a dismal tree stump into something beautiful. Through relief printing and a laborious rubbing technique, Bryan created the print Hemlock 82 ($4,000), essentially a manual Xerox of the gorgeous growth rings of one section of a tree. To do so, he rolls ink out onto the stump and places a piece of hand-crafted Washi paper onto the "print block." Then, he presses the paper with his fingertips little by little, imprinting the texture of the wood onto the surface of the paper. Jaw-droppingly beautiful. I love the idea that something dead can be given a new life with this technique — or a dozen lives, seeing as it's a limited-edition of 12.

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