The Chicago Tree Project

Thom Cicchelli

Arbor Renewal

Welles Park

2016

My concept for the tree was to visually depict nature, where new life is nourished and can grow from “deadwood”, and the similar constant renewal of the urban setting.

Though the kiln-fired ceramic flowers I created do look familiar, they don’t exist. Once I was given the location of my tree, I visited Welles Park. THe gazebo there provided inspiration for the oversized six-petal red flower near the middle of the tree. Heart-shaped edges from the black ironwork were incorporated into the red hibiscus/poppy-looking petals. Closer to the top of the tree, a more exotic-looking grouping arguably resembles a cross between a passionflower and a Peruvian daffodil. I’d like to think that passerby would see the project as a window to the new growing season, when the piece will become more compatible with its park and urban surroundings.