Any kid will tell you there is much more to a Popsicle stick than the average frozen ice pop support gig might imply. You'll find them rallying for public health issues (usually as tongue depressors in pediatrician's offices) or generously donating their time to local nonprofits (often as the log cabin building blocks in elementary school art classrooms). Most recently, we spotted them on the corner of La Cienega and Willoughby, spreading holiday cheer in what is perhaps the most amazing faux Christmas tree that we've seen. Ever.
The tree, in the window of Reborn Antiques, was made by L.A.-based Popsicle stick furniture maker (yes, there is such a thing) David Hrobowski. Hrobowski glued more than 18,000 Popsicle sticks together by hand, using only Elmer's glue, to make the seven-foot-tall Christmas tree. Eighty-eight branches covered in an equal number of hand-dyed Popsicle stick ornaments spiral from the Popsicle stick tree “trunk.”
Turn the page for more on Hrobowski and his holiday penchant for Popsicle sticks.
Hrobowski, a Los Angeles antiques dealer, says he made his first Popsicle stick piece when he was 9-years-old. A neighbor dropped off several boxes of Popsicle sticks and some Elmer's glue when he was home from school with a cold. “She thought I could do something with them,” he says. Indeed.
He skipped the log cabins and went straight for a Popsicle stick lamp, which turned into a little lunch money side business after he landed on the local St. Louis news station for his creation. It wasn't until three years ago that he picked up Popsicle stick furniture making again with a passion — passion being the key to a craft that requires gluing together 4 1/2-inch sticks one-by-one. (“Some good music and a glass or two of wine helps,” he adds).
He began working on the Christmas tree in June, shortly after his furniture became the subject of his first gallery exhibition (at Mor York Gallery). It took him five months to make each branch (ranging from 3 to 17 inches) and the accompanying round ornaments he designed to “wrap around the tree like a garland.” A Popsicle ornament on top of the tree actually glows. (Yeah, we're feeling that our flocked, plastic, pre-lit number is suddenly a bit inadequate, too.)
The tree is for sale (contact the antique shop with queries), but if it doesn't sell during the run of the shop's holiday window exhibition, Hrobowski plans to store the tree until next year (the branches are removable). Next year: Popsicle stick lawn furniture?