Tree Trust True

Detail from Gustav Klimt's Tree of Life
The other night, I was reading Aiden Meehan's book on the Celtic approach to drawing the Tree of Life. In his introduction, he mentions that the words "tree", "trust", "true" and even "Druid" come from the same proto Indo-European root. As you might guess, I love this idea.

I googled the 3 "T" words just to see what came up, and was intrigued to find Tree Trust True, a sculpture created by a California artist's collective called Deep Craft. The piece is a long table created from a Douglas Fir windfall, with bowls carved into the surface. These bowls were filled with local produce for a site-specific installation celebrating local food. Five years later, the group dismantled the table, which had been a popular outdoor gathering place, and moved it to the site where the tree originally grew. The process is documented here: The Return.

While exploring Deep Craft's site, I came across their Deep Craft Manifesto. It's well worth checking out in its long form, but 67 directives do not make for a quick study. Here are a few of my favourites:

8. All vessels originate with an imagined voyage.
9. Perfection is impossible to maintain.
13. Deep Craft is a system of arranging things and relationships in such a way as to improve their value as well as the conditions that sustain the value.
19. Art reduces the boundaries between work and thought. Traditional craft makes the distinction obsolete; both art and handicraft are most robust when the two are fused.
29. Encourage beneficial loops and a gift economy.
37. Kind, Courteous, Friendly, Helpful, Loyal, Trustworthy, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, Reverent
40. Trust in an ethos of ‘exuberant frugality’.
43. Making the time for a lovely lunch is a fundamental privilege, motivation and reward for any hard-working artisan.
49. Seek out the unexplored edges.

And so on... Deep Craft may be talking about their own practise of working with wood, but the ideas apply to textiles, clay - in fact, life in general. It's an approach that appeals to me, well, deeply.

While we're on the subject of manifestos, may I direct you to what has turned out to be one of my most popular posts in my little blogs history. Wendell Castle's 10 Adopted Rules of Thumb is the work of one of the most innovative furniture designers of the 20th century. I just posted his list, so can take none of the credit for the brilliance and clarity of that particular post. But it is a good one.


  1. I never knew Klimt did a tree of life. It's lovely! Obviously I haven't studied my art history enough. As the wife of a wood turner though, I totally get what Deep Craft is saying. Great post, as always, Heather!

  2. love the fact that tree trust true come from the same root, ha
    as for the rules (although I'm not a fan of taking rules too seriously) these make a lot of sense; I particularly like Wendell Castle's no.10 rule 'if you hit the bull's eye everytime, then the target is probably too near', yepski that is the one I must keep at the back of my mind; as per usual you got me thinking!


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