Grow Your Own Furniture

In his wonderful 1954 story The Houses of Iszm, Jack Vance writes about house trees which also contained furniture that grew along with the house:

The sphincter expanded and Farr stepped dubiously into the chamber…the pod was thirty feet long, opening on a balcony with a waist-high balustrade. The walls and domed ceiling were tufted with trefoils of a silky green fibre; the floor was heavy with plum-coloured moss; quaint lamps grew out of the wall. There were four magenta pod-chairs against one wall. In the middle of the floor stood a tall cylindrical vase containing water, plants and black dancing eels.
(Read more about Vance's house trees)

Christopher Castle can help you grow your own furniture. On his site, he provides you with the templates and instructions to grow your own stools.


(Sycamore frame ready for harvesting, next to a finished stool)

He can provide you with the easily assembled "jig" which is used to train three young saplings planted just so. It takes about five years for the sapling "whips" to be shaped, grafted and grown to make the stool.

He writes:

Growing furniture isn't going to save the planet, but it can be used to demonstrate that it is possible to create genuinely useful things without adding to the pollution that industry inevitably seems to produce. Trees are self-generating, and grown wooden products need only the energy that the sun gives everywhere. It's free and it's non-polluting. Training and grafting trees as they grow are established traditional crafts, and wood is durable but it's also biodegradable, so it doesn't have to end up in a hole in the ground. I call this Grownup furniture as it's the result of mature thinking.

Don't miss these unusual botanical specimens:

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Check out his technique at Grown Furniture.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/12/2006)

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