Lichtenberg Fractals


The delicate burned lines on these pieces were the result of applying very high voltage to basically electrocute the wood.  How high?  I use a transformer to convert 110 volts to 15,000 volts.  When that amount of voltage tries to complete the circuit on non-conductive materials such as wood, it creates what is known as fractal burns.

The process was initially discovered by the German physicist Georg Christoph Lichtenberg in 1777.  Innovations over the next 200 years of various scientists trying to record the unique patterns ultimately resulted in the Xerox copier.

The art world has recently picked up on the concept of applying high voltage to wood to create these dynamic and unique figures.  The pattern is totally dependent on how the tree developed over time.  The types of wood and grain patterns affect the shape of the Lichtenberg figure produced.  Furthermore, it is virtually impossible to duplicate a specific pattern.  Each is totally unique.

As you can imagine, this process can be extremely dangerous.  There is absolutely no room for error.  However, with the right equipment and process, you can minimize the danger and create absolutely stunning designs.  Science and art coming together.