- story by MaterialDistrict
Students from the Iceland Academy of the Arts have created a range of materials including paper, glue and string by adding nothing but heat and water to willow. The process of boiling loosens the bark of the willow and softens the fibres of the leaves and bark.
The willow project is an investigation into one of Iceland’s newly gained raw materials, the willow tree. Since the start of forestry from about 70 years ago, this material starts being available in a bigger quantity now. During the research process, three main processes of boiling, burning and distilling were rendered. Inspired by the natural circulation of matter, nothing but water and heat were added to the wood and all byproducts were processed as valuable resources. By deconstructing the tree into micro scale and reassembling the found elements, the rendered new materials that could stand by themselves. All of them would be able to go back to the forest as nutrition. The rugged willow, which colonised Iceland after the last Ice Age, has not been given a great deal of attention. In fact, willow trees have not been considered in and of themselves a valuable commodity, instead used mainly to cultivate soil in preparation for the growing of other plants.
Along with Tinna Gunnarsdóttir, one of the teachers who led the course, seven student participated in the project:
Birta Rós Brynjólfsdóttir
Björn Steinar Jóhannesson
Theodóra Mjöll Skúladóttir Jack