Taylor Williams grew up absorbing the natural world around him. “Even as a kid, I could name all the different plants and trees,” says Williams, who was raised in River Ridge and loved gardening with his parents. After stints at Tulane and UNO, Williams turned his passion into a career. In 2012, he began studying horticulture at Delgado, intending to eventually study landscape design at LSU. At Delgado, however, he found a complementary form of artistic expression — creating wire sculptures of the trees living in his memory.
“I took a 3D design class at Delgado and one of the projects was to use aluminum wire to make a sculpture and I immediately knew I’d make a tree,” says Williams, owner of Will Garden, LLC a horticulture business specializing in design and installation of green spaces.
Inspiration for his arboreal works comes from a variety of sources including indigenous trees (live oak and bald cypress), his study of the art of bonsai and wire tree sculptures made by other artists.
The sculptures’ proportions and balance are based on the principles of bonsai. Williams’ patience and technical proficiency have been honed by his bonsai work as well.
“The thing I try to convey is the architecture, movement, form and trunk lines of trees,” he says. “It’s the same with bonsai. You pause and look into the form of the tree and appreciate the character and suggested aged look of the individual tree.”
He eventually developed a technique of his own. Instead of wrapping wires together at once, he wraps several strands, then repeats the process. Finally, he works the pre-twisted sections into a trunk.
“I start to do one branch and work off of that and let the piece evolve on itself,” he says.
Aside from their physical beauty, Williams’ trees are a metaphor for the nature that we take for granted in our fast-paced lives and a springboard for dialogue about conservation.
“Trees are so connected to the web of life that goes on around us,” he says. “We need to take time to appreciate nature and find the value in it.”
Williams’ works can be seen on Facebook (Will Garden LLC) and Instagram (twillgarden). In October 2018, Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania will be the site of two wire tree workshops given by Williams.