Growing your own furniture is the sort of idea The Shed likes to take to bed and we might want to return to a report by Shane Hickey in one of the Guardian supplements of 28.3.15, from a field in Wirksworth, Derbyshire –
The field was planted 10 years ago by Gavin Munro, founder of the company Full Grown, with willow, oak, ash and sycamore, growing into plastic moulds which train the wood into the shapes of chairs, tables, lamps, etcetera. The first pieces of furniture should be harvested later this year.
Munro told the reporter: “When you look at it from a manufacturing point of view and from a design point of view, it actually makes total sense. Why would you grow trees, chop them down with all the faff? Why don’t you just grow the shape you want? You can make thousands of these in the same way as you can make 10, but each one is unique.”
The Guardian reported: “The first solid chairs will be sold for £2,500, while lamps will be between £1,000 and £1,500 – targeted at people who are looking for a unique art piece and ‘believe in the mission’, Munro said. When Full Grown has scaled up production to hundreds and thousands of units in future years, products will be sold at more affordable prices, he said.”
The article called the process “botanical manufacturing” but Guardian readers wrote in to say they knew of it by other names.
Chris Cattle of Abingdon said: “Nice to see the work of Gavin Munro and the technique of tree-shaping for practical purposes being taken seriously at last. It’s worldwide, from Europe to Israel, Taiwan to Australia and the US. I’ve been at it here in the UK for about 20 years now, growing three-legged stools and encouraging others to grow them. If readers are interested in what’s possible, they should search for Axel Erlandson, perhaps the modern father of all this. Let’s have more orchards and fewer energy-hungry factories.”