Max Lamb: My Grandfather's Tree

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Monckton Walk Farm in the Yorkshire Wolds is run by Max Lamb's 89-year-old Grandfather, Dr Robert Andrew Dunning. He lives in a cottage that together they converted from an old cattle shed. Next to the cottage grew a female ash tree so large it overlooked the 150 acres of farmland and from where, on a clear day, York Minster could be seen 25 miles away. Alas, the age of the tree began to show and its largest limb had died and started to rot. For the safety of Max' Grandfather and the cottage it became necessary to fell the great ash.

Max Lamb wanted his Grandfather’s tree to survive beyond its rooted life, to offer the ash an afterlife and celebrate the nature of the material within. He wanted the tree to remain integral to the wood and to maintain the story told by its 187 annual growth rings — its age, the climatic conditions in which it grew, the years of heavy rainfall or drought, even its geographical orientation.

Together with his friend Jon Turnbull, they cut the tree at regular intervals from the top down, respecting natural divisions within the structure such as knots, branches and crotches. Max cut the ash into 131 logs of average ‘furniture’ height suitable for what his Grandfather would call ‘general purpose’ use. Whether as stool, table, chair or log, today My Grandfather’s Tree survives as an ash tree, but with a new function and the start of a new history. And where she once stood, a second generation of young ash trees are fast emerging from her roots.

 
Title: My Grandfather's Tree
Publisher: Dent-de-Leone, 2015
Authors: Edited by Gemma Holt, Max Lamb, Åbäke
Photographer: Log images by Sasa Stucin, portait of grandpa  by Gemma Holt, al other images Max Lamb
Graphic Design: Åbäke
Format: Softback with dustcover
Size: 12.5 x 22.9 cm, 128 pages
Edition: 1st edition 1200 copies

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