When it reaches the desired shape I begin applying the outer layers of protection, re-painting the entire piece with several layers, lightly sanding in between.
The last layer is a special finish that takes off ALL of the sheen, returning the finish back to a look of delicate paper.
While this dries I decide on the leaf shape and hand cut the leaves. I do this individually as in nature all leaves are lightly different - each has a life story of its own. These are then soaked and adhered one by one. (yes, this takes a really long time, I think of it as a meditation!) I do this in a few stages as under layers have to dry and firm up before middle and outer layers can be applied.
Next comes the trunk, which is typically the spine of the book. I figure out the placement of the tree and build the branches out of bundles of thinly cut pages. And then I adhere the ground/roots. All is soaked, adhered, then recoated with the same medium as the background.
After removing the pages from the spine I hand place them on the panel to figure out the background. Books vary greatly in dimension, so this takes a bit of math. Then I submerge the pages one by one in ph balanced library grade glue and adhere them carefully onto the prepared birch panel. After they dry I lightly sand and coat one more time.
Each piece of art is made from one book. These books were being discarded from a library so I wanted to turn them back into trees. Everything is hand cut and hand placed. The type and design of each tree, its placement, and the ground underneath it are all done with the story and the author in mind.