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A magical boutique inspired by Tolkien

The Two Trees were inspired by the two trees of Valinor as described by the author, J.R.R. Tolkien in the book "The Silmarillian".

According to Tolkien’s lore, each Tree of Valinor spread a bright light over the lands. The first Tree, Telperion, shone with silver light at night, while Laurelin glowed bright gold during the day. 

When Melkor (the evil one) attacked Valinor, both Trees of Valinor were destroyed. Before they were completely destroyed, Telperion gave birth to one last flower, and Laurelin bore one last fruit. To ensure the light of the Trees of Valinor would forever shine over Arda, the Valar took this last flower and fruit to the skies and thus they became the Sun and the Moon.

See how the trees were constructed below. A special thank you goes to Chris Heron who had the experience in theater set production who helped me bring my vision life.

We used sonatubes as the base for the trees. They're used for pouring cement into the ground but it was perfect for the inner tree structure to attach the chicken wire and papier cache. They come in different diameters and we used 12 inch tubes.

To make sure they were secure we placed a piece of wood on the floor and a round piece of wood atop of that piece of wood that the sonatube fit onto. We added four "legs" for the chicken wire to attach to.

To add stability we cut out notches at the top so they would straddle the vigas (beams) on the ceiling. I wanted to make sure the trees didn't fall over onto my customers.

IBase of tree
Sonatube on base
Chris putting up Sonatube

Chicken wire was attached with carpentry staples. One of the trees had more curves to her and the other tree was straighter like a birch or Aspen tree.
We used pool noodles for some of the big branches and taped those as well so the paper cache would have something to adhere to. 

Masking tape over chicken wire
Pool tube for limbs

I tried different recipes for the papier cache and methods of application. I tried premade papier mache but it was like cottage cheese; good old flour, water and Elmers glue did the trick. Since the trees were so large I hoped to use large chunks of paper but that was too unwieldy. Eventually I settled on using the packing paper that came with my shipments in strips of 12 inches or so. (It was kismet that some of the kraft paper was white, perfect for Telperion, since he was a birch/aspen and the brown Kraft paper was used for Laurelin since her bark was brown).

Papier mache over masking tape
Pool noodle with masking tape
Painted papier mache
Painted and leafed

I painted the trees with acrylic paints and then attached tree limbs that I collected from outside. Getting the limbs attached took some elbow grease since they had to penetrate the paper cache, the masking tape and the sonatube. Chris, my engineer, had to use a small hand saw to get the limbs through that heavy cardboard.
Leaves were purchased from a site that shall not be named (begins with a "T"). Laurelin has gold edges so I hand paint hundreds of leaves...took me two days. Telperion was a bit easier since his leaves were silver on the bottom; I simply spray painted the leaves on one side.

Tree finished in bedding area
Symbolic flower on Telperion


Here is the finished result. Both trees received a halo of green rug at their feet. Telperion has a symbolic flower that would become the moon when they were destroyed by Morgoth (the bad dude).


And here is Laurelin with a closeup of the symbolic fruit that became the sun.

Symbolic fruit of Laurelin
Tree finished in bath area
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