In the summer of 2009, I attended a treehouse-building workshop held by Treehouse Workshop, a Seattle-based company that builds gorgeous treehouses, run by Peter Nelson and partners. The workshop was held at Finnriver Farm, where over the course of the weekend participants learned the basics of selecting trees, design and structural considerations, which tools to use, and using ropes, harnesses and other gear to climb up and down trees and to rig components necessary for the building process.
Here is a so-called “Garnier limb” or GL, poking out from under the treehouse platform’s supporting beams. Developed by treehouse engineer Michael Garnier, it’s basically a fastener that allows the tree to grow naturally — without having to bolt or nail the treehouse beam directly to the tree (which harms the tree), and without compromising the treehouse’s supporting structure.
First time I climbed up a Douglas fir in this way….
We also got to try out these “dreamcatcher” net systems by Sarah Jefferson, who builds them for open-air events out of reclaimed nautical ropes that she ties together with winches and by hand.
All in all, it was an exhilarating experience to sit in the trees, envisioning a kind of “treedom.” As Japanese treehouse builder Takashi Kobayashi once said, if humans live in the trees, no longer will we see them as mere resources, but as “home.”