Can you tell me about collecting and using roots?
I am originally from Vancouver and am now living in Montreal I would like to create an art show with ceramic sculpture and tree roots.
I am just wondering which type of tree to use, what time of year to harvest the roots, whether to collect the roots here or on the West Coast. And then how to clean them.
I am considering hiring a pressure washing company to save time seeing as the volume of roots would be about 3 cubic feet. I am thinking either cedar or spruce. Any feed back would be appreciated.
Woman of Many Sticks says:
If I were you, I would collect roots from somewhere local, as there will be less cost involved in shipping them from a closer area.
Decide if you need the roots to be free of salt, as that will alter the way you deal with them, potentially.
Salt is a component of ocean water, but there wouldn't be any in a river or lake.
I would say that any type of tree species is suitable; more important is the area that the tree grew - the more convoluted ones would be found in rocky areas, and the absolute best driftwood is found where they get a lot of washing machine action.
For timing, I would say that the best time if possible is right after some major storms, when new pieces will be washed high up on the beach. Spring is my favorite time, but anytime you can actually get to a beach (barring ice) is the best time!
To clean them, unless they're covered in mud (ie, very freshly dug out of the ground) I would just hose them off.
Stay away from a pressure washer, as this will remove any of the lovely silver patina that is so valuable. It also has the potential to 'raise the grain' making the pieces very rough.
Nature knows best, in many cases.
Again, I don't think it's necessary to restrict yourself to any one particular species, although if you will be displaying your art outdoors, cedar has some particularly interesting properties of rot resistance.
I would be more inclined to go with any interesting type of root, regardless of the type of tree they come from.
Good luck with your project - dare I hope that you will share some photos of your show? Here's the url if you would like to - scroll to the bottom of the page to share: Rustic Crafts
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