The Root that Grew Into a Tree

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I found this dried root of hogweed on a hilltop walk with friends. It’s been in my studio for quite a while now, and has given birth to many images. Upended on its stalk the root becomes a tree. I’ve written about using it as a model in a post made last year, but since then there have been even more manifestations of it.

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I made a toy theatre out of building blocks, and stood the root on the stage to make an image I titled Day of the Triffids in honour of John Wyndham’s novel about an invasion of killer alien plant-life.

I’ve drawn it extensively for my picture-book of Hansel & Gretel, due out this summer. Here it is in a detail from a preparatory image of a witchy forest drenched in moonlight.

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My friend, artist Phil Cooper, has made a model of it in preparation for a film we plan as a book-trailer.

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Versions of the root-as-tree made by artist Johann Rohl when he worked in my studio for a month last summer.

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And in the background here, another by Johann with a horse by me hiding behind it, plus a couple of trees and a maquette that I made.

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In this detail of an endpaper for Hansel & Gretel, a leafy version appears bottom left.

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Festooned with icicles in my study for the print Christmas at Camelot.

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Yesterday my friend Philippa spent a day with me in the studio, and she produced this delicately beautiful version of the root, made in coloured pencils and sgrafitto.

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Johann made the three images on the left, and I made the tree.

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Four artists all working from one, small, dried root.

8 thoughts on “The Root that Grew Into a Tree

  1. Pingback: More witchy trees | Hedgecrows

  2. Wonderful post Clive. the images that little root has conjured out of our minds are so curious and so varied, I particularly love the tree clad in icicles you painted – and I’m sure it hasn’t finished sparking our imaginations yet 😊

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