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Handcrafting a Steel Art Tree (aka Fabricated Tree): An Interview with Gary Hanick of NatureMaker

By Gary Hanick

Please tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

NatureMaker designs, handcrafts and installs one-of-a-kind highly naturalistic tree sculpture for prestigious properties and residences around the world.

Can you explain the basics of what steel art trees are?

Each tree is designed on an intricate steel substructure that is clad with NatureMaker's proprietary bark medium. The nuance of the tree species is hand-carved and hand-painted by experienced artists. Limbs and branches are realistically configured. Foliage - fabric or preserved material - are hand applied to naturally occurring growth points on secondary and tertiary branches.

How do people use them in their homes and what are some popular styles for residences?

Residential applications include enclosed atriums, as well as interior atriums with or without retractable roofs. NatureMaker also has been commissioned to handcraft trees for entries with vaulted ceilings, great rooms and indoor pools.

What is the design and installation process for a steel art tree, or artificial/fabricated tree, like?

Once the client commission is received, NatureMaker's art department provides a scale line drawing of the tree to verify height, canopy silhouette and placement in the space. Custom fabrication includes welding of the steel frame by certified welders; hand application, carving and painting of the bark medium and texture; and foliation of tree branches. The tree is assembled in the studio for client approval, and then dismantled, packed and labelled for shipping. The tree is shipped as a series of telescopically interlocking components. NatureMaker provides one or more artists to stage, reassemble and add final details to the tree on site.

What are they made of and are the materials environmentally friendly?

Steel, high-grade epoxy, fabric or preserved foliage. All materials are environmentally friendly - sustainable, recycled, containing no VOCs.

Do you have any tips for homeowners after they've had their steel art tree installed?

Foliage needs to be dusted occasionally using a pole-mounted, electrostatic duster.

Is there anything that we didn't cover that you'd like to say about the trees?

Each tree is conceived and designed as a unique work of art. No two trees are ever alike. NatureMaker has the expertise, passion and experience to create trees that are true to scale - whether 5 feet or 50 feet tall.

What's the best way for people to contact your company?

Please visit our website for an extensive portfolio of background information and images. Phone and email information are included. Toll free: 800 872 1889. email contact: gary@naturemaker.com.

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