Peter grew up on a pineapple plantation in Queensland, Australia, on a hill overlooking Fraser Island. At a very young age he developed a love of gardening and longed to have a place were he could grow fruit trees.
At 16, he taught himself jewellery making, and at 19 opened a jeweller shop. By 26, he was losing interested with working 6 days a week at the shop.
He began looking for land somewhere in the mountain ranges. At this time he was living on a 400 acre property on the beachfront with rainforest and mangrove swamps. It was a very powerful place.
He went to Fraser Island for a holiday with 2 friends and horses. Riding on the beach one day, Peter found a large piece of ambergris, which is not only rare to find but also to recognize it as something of value. He used this to purchase his current 162 acre property in the mountains of southeast Queensland, which is idyllic and peaceful. Peter planted his orchard.
In 1987, he had been at one of his favorite places were three large fig trees nestled under the cliff face. As he was walking home from the cliffs behind the cabin the idea came to him, “I wonder if I can grow a chair”. Telling his partner at the time about his idea, she hated the concept.
The more he thought about it the more logical it seemed. Not deterred he started the very next day. He took 7 cuttings from a willow and planted them in a U shape in the area where he directed the waste water from the cabin.
In 1987 nothing worked the way he expected it to. Horses and cows finally ruined this first attempt when it was 6 years old. In 1988 he planted a wattle, it was to be a pot plant stand. Watching it grow year by year, as it was twisting and distorting he was learning what was going to be one of the most important lessons.
1995 he met Becky after being on his own for 6 years during the worst drought in 100 years. Becky became his partner and the drought broke
just before winter.
Throughout this time he had been using Becky as a sounding board for his ideas about the trees.
In 1996, while watching the wattle grow and distort, the answer came to him. Later asking Becky the question she came straight back with the answer. It had taken him years to acquire the knowledge to ask the right question ….the answer was simple.
The drought had made the plum trees sucker all over the place he had been cutting them out when he realized they were perfect for his new found knowledge. With the three remaining shoots he decided to grow a coffee table, first mirror and garden gate but had to wait until spring which was 6 months away. Dozen’s of designs come into being that winter sitting by the fireplace.
Within the first year of Pete and Becky’s partnership the coffee table and the first mirror were started and taking shape. More pieces have continued to be planted in the next seven years, those pieces including the bed-ends, candelabras, chairs, free- form hat stand, rocking chair, garden settings, more mirrors of various sizes, and Pook’s favorite, tree men.
Pete used his skills of designing jewellery and sculptures with the growing design of the Pooktre art pieces. Some of his inspiration comes from the natural beauty of the land were he lives .Clear mountain streams and rugged cliffs, a very wild piece of country.
Peter credits his relationship with his partner Becky as giving him the encouragement and reflection in his tree work he refers to as “Pooktre”.
In his own words “I get the best ideas just walking around my own garden.”
“It’s good to have someone to bounce ideas off”
Becky grew up in the suburbs of Brisbane. Becky and her brother spent most of their time playing in the paddocks around Tingalpa creek. She was lucky in that she had a few horses that they could ride and take them swimming at Porters dam. Becky’s love of her horses inspired her to try and draw them. At the same time she tried her hand a various different types of crafts. Knitted a jumper with her own design on the front (a horse of course) made clay horses, cross stitch, carved candle wax in to all sorts of shapes. She even tried to make a saddle with some old blankets and thread.
By the time Becky reached high school her drawing style was abstract as well as realistic. She won many awards at royal shows for her artwork. Becky dabbled in many different art forms in class. She had a few disagreements with her art teacher about how the finished pieces should look . In spite of her doing the pieces her own way, Becky received high marks for practical art. At boarding school Becky found out how wonderful books can be and started to read avidly and has yet to slow down.
After school Becky worked for Camelot costumes where she learnt lots of things for her work. Sign writing in store, designing costumes, sewing costumes, fabric painting, beading, customer services, photo editing, web site building, and she is now also a mean ironer. At home Becky maintained many different hobbies, horse riding, mustering cattle, drawing,
painting, reading, sewing going out clothes, macramé crocheting, leather work. It was when she decided to add yet other hobby of jewellery making, that she met Pete again. She had known Pete earlier but only as the jeweller who lived next to her best friends property. So Becky when down the creek to ask his advice about the best way to go about it. After having made many trips to visit Pete. Becky discovered that they had a lot in common and that she would like to have Pete as her partner.
Once Becky moved up to Pete’s beautiful property she worked one week on and one week off at Camelot Costumes. Becky has renovated two houses and spent a month each on each one, with a little help from her friends.
Pete had been working on the concept of using trees for real life pieces that were beautiful and functional. A growing willow chair and wattle pot stand. Both had fundamental problems which he was trying to work out. Pete explained to Becky the different aspects of what he was doing. After several months things came together in Pete’s head and he wanted to check with his sounding board (Becky). When Pete asked the right question she come back with the answer, as they had been discussing the trees for some time.
Since 1996 Becky helped Pete with different aspects of Pooktre. The swirls in the Pooktre was inspired by the hobby of engraving that she was doing at the time. Becky did a lot of the mundane stuff so that Pete had more time to think about the trees and design. Late at night was the best time for Becky and Pete to talk about different designs and ideas.
It was only after Becky became pregnant with Brin and moved home full time, that she had the time to design and grow her own Pooktre trees. Her enjoyment of Fantasy novels also has surfaced in her designs. Most of them would not look out of place on the set of a Elvin or Faerie movie.
She also enjoys spending time with her two children, Brinshard & Sharvana, riding horses, and reading.