John willis was born in 1978 and is from Lake Taupo, New Zealand. As a boy john was always outside digging holes or climbing trees. This grew into strong connection to nature and an immense love and respect for the outdoors.
John now resides in Australia and works as a qualified arborist. He first discovered the bizarre burl many years ago in East Gresford on a lonely gum tree. A burl develops as a growth on the tree, a virus fasciation causing radical cell distortion and an irregular grain.
Intrigued by their seemingly ugly appearance, john believed that with the right love and attention something truly beautiful could be created from these wonders of nature.
Each sculpture is unique, first carefully removed from the tree then carved and smoothed. Working on a burl, john takes his time allowing the beauty to reveal itself slowly – its natural shape, colour and grain coming alive in the process, which can take anywhere from 30-100+ hours. Read more about John’s Nature to Art process.
This connection between artist and burl leaves a lasting energy within each piece, bringing certain warmth to any given place. Although difficult to part with, these extraordinary sculptures deserved to be shared and loved.