Mulberry - Tree of Plenty is a collaborative project by artists Sara Heywood & Jane Watt and UCL science researcher Dr David Chau. The project explores the materiality of the mulberry tree (Morus nigra and Morus alba) in Bethnal Green, east London. It considers how this iconic tree can be used as a vehicle to stimulate discussion, debate and engagement in cutting-edge research and applications in biotechnology, heritage and contemporary engaged art practice. The team have engaged with local participants and tree specialists to investigate points within the yearly cycle of the mulberry to frame their material exploration of bark, leaves, pollen and fruit.

They have exchanged knowledge, and learnt more about the tree in workshop sessions, walks, experiments in the lab and studio. Together, they have researched the heritage of the mulberry in east London; 3D digital scanning and printing; botanical ink making; skeletonization and ghosting of leaves for biomedical applications; and the growing of saplings for legacy planting at UCL East, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Mulberry - Tree of Plenty is commissioned as part of Trellis: a UCL Culture and UCL east Programme and supported by St Margaret’s House, Bethnal Green.