Treehouses are becoming more than just slabs of wood nailed together on top of a high tree. Oh yeah, people are getting creative with their treehouses. Some include an actual working elevator lift! if that’s not enough for you, they may also include solar power panels, and running water. That sounds better than my own house!
Treehouses nowadays are being made by using the actual tree. Other treehouses are being deemed works of art. They are so big that they seem to be made by a humongous bird. In reality they are just made by a human like you and I, but one that is extremely creative. If I were a bird I would want to live in one of his special nest houses.
The amazing artsy human who created this is known as Patrick Dougherty from North Carolina. His nest houses are so wonderful and unique that he is known as a branch-bender extraordinaire/artist. He basically sculpts growing trees into shapes that form a house, a bird nest, a cocoon, a clay pot, etc. The weaving ideas are endless. He has a background in sculpting and a love for nature so it comes to good use in his field of work. He is a winner of many awards and his living art has traveled through the whole United States, Japan, Brussels, and many more locations worldwide. I find it tough to bend one single tree branch; how he does it, I will always marvel over his strength. We normal folks call it art work, but Patrick calls his amazing sculpted work ‘stickwork’. I say tomato, you say tomatoe. You’re unbelievable, Patrick! Your work should be called “magic”.
With over 200 sculpted pieces of work, Patrick decided to showcase them all for you in his published book, Stickwork. My favorite piece of his is called Just Around the Corner in New Harmony, Indiana. It looks like something out of the Lord of the Rings realm. Each branch is bent to perfection.
Not everyone can be Patrick, but you can be you. Learn to create your own nest house, treehouse, inside decoration, birdhouse or backyard sculpture. It just takes a little bending of your creativity. I recommend doing some research first on what type of wood works best for the type of project you want to do. There are three types: Dogwood, Live Oak, and Elm. These are used in the craft of pleaching: molding and weaving trees to create structures. You can also just create a tree house of your choice, and weave wood around it. It will take time because trees do not grow real fast. The outcome will be spectacular, though and of course, you should use branches that are already on the floor.
Three tips on how to begin.
- Plan out the tree house. Make a sketch. Doodle away! Get creative and don’t be afraid.
- See if it is safe to build on your specific tree. Get a tree expert to come out and check if you’re planning something on a large scale.
- Measure twice, cut once. Do not waste wood. Recycle as much as possible.
The great thing about building a treehouse for your kids is that the measurements can be adjusted. Want an adult treehouse? Make the measurements bigger. Want a birdhouse? then make the measurements smaller, like real small. Nope, smaller than that. Smaller. There you go.
Nest houses, sculptures, huts, giant bird houses, and unthinkable tree houses are all possible. Get inspiration from Patrick Dougherty. Get inspiration from the Ewok village in Star Wars. Be creative and weave something good.