With roots in China and a long history in Japan, bonsai trees are instantly recognizable for their petite, yet artistic forms. Fans of these little plants will go to a great deal of effort to care for them properly. For one artist in Manchester, England, however, bonsai trees are carefully crafted and require no upkeep. What began as a therapeutic exercise for Andy Elliot has since grown into a full-fledged creative endeavor. The UK-based artist creates meticulously crafted bonsai trees from numerous strands of metal wire.
These miniature works of art range in size and shape, just like real bonsai trees. Elliott uses thousands of feet of wire to make some of the more elaborate projects, taking up to a week to finalize the numerous details. “The trees are created by twisting strands of wire to create the trunk and branches and then looping it up to create the leaves,” he explains. “I have various tools that I use to twist and loop the wire.”
He often begins by sketching out a rough form. “Sometimes I let the form occur naturally,” he admits. “My designs are mainly based on Bonsai trees and use varied types and gauges of wire.” It is inspiring to see how many beautiful variations of bonsai trees Elliott is able to produce simply by manipulating a relatively common material. He even demonstrates in a video how hundreds of strands of wire are shaped into the sinuous shape of the trunk and the bunches of leaves cresting the tops of these branches.
You can purchase original artwork via Elliott's Etsy shop.