An art-science collaboration between artists Sara Heywood & Jane Watt, and Dr David Chau
Mulberry - Tree of Plenty is a collaborative project by artists Sara Heywood & Jane Watt and UCL science researcher Dr David Chau.
The project explores the materiality of the mulberry tree (Morus nigra and Morus alba) in Bethnal Green, east London. It considers how this iconic tree can be used as a vehicle to stimulate discussion, debate and engagement in cutting-edge research and applications in biotechnology, heritage and contemporary engaged art practice. Over the course of a year, the team engaged with local participants and tree specialists to investigate points within the yearly cycle of the mulberry to frame their material exploration of bark, leaves, pollen, and fruit.
The artists and scientist have exchanged knowledge, and learnt more about the tree in workshop sessions, walks, experiments in the lab, kitchen, and studio. They worked with mulberry tree expert Peter Coles and local mulberry campaigner Jaime Rory Lucy to create a short film that outlines some of the unique characteristics of the mulberry tree, and its significance in the area.
Together, Sara, Jane and David researched the heritage of the mulberry in east London; 3D digital scanning and printing; botanical ink making; skeletonization and ghosting of leaves for biomedical applications; and the growing of saplings for legacy planting in the local area and at UCL East, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Mulberry - Tree of Plenty is commissioned as part of Trellis: a UCL Culture & UCL East Programme and supported by St Margaret's House.