Cork Dome

Cork Dome is the sculpture Nash is most excited about. It is an entirely new work, built onsite at Kew.

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Date and material

  • 2012
  • Cork oak
David Nash sculpture cork dome
Stacks of cork oak bark in Portugal (Photo by David Nash)

Making Cork Dome

Cork Dome is the first sculpture Nash has made from cork oak (Quercus suber). He was inspired to make it while visiting the cork harvest in Portugal, where he had planned to draw the trees.

However, during the visit, he discovered a 40 tonne pile of harvested cork bark, which is usually sold to make wine bottle corks. Playing with some scrap bits of cork bark, placing them within each other, he formed a prototype on impulse, giving him the confidence to develop a larger version.'What's exciting for me is, like at the Wood Quarry, I'm making pieces that I haven't made before, it means it's new, and makes the whole thing about having a show at Kew much more interesting.

David Nash 'Cork Drawing'
Cork drawing by David Nash (Photo by David Nash)

Nash's cork tree drawings

When mature, cork trees can regrow their spongy bark and farmers can strip it every ten years without any harm to the tree. Numbering the tree with the year it was harvested is a practice all over Portugal, and enables farmers to predict when their trees will be ready to harvest again. Nash searched through this Portuguese grove for trees at different stages of regeneration, drawing the different colours of bare trunks as they had weathered year by year. He has displayed these colour changes in the nearby Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art.

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