Gerald Sanders has been creating winter trees that rival Mother Nature's own creations since 1973.Sanders creates trees from 100's of pieces of straight 23 gauge steel wire. Using vise grips and pliers, he starts at the bottom and tightly twists the trunk of the tree, and then starts forming branches and twisting them again. Once the branches are made each wire is then patiently separated and placed in its final position. The trees become miniature replicas of leafless trees in winter.

Depending on size and design, one tree sculpture can take up to 8 hours to create. Each finished tree is then spray painted with three coats of enamel black, gold, or silver paint and mounted on natural marble of various colors. The marble bases are shaped using a mason's hammer to snap off pieces of the appropriate size and shape.

The Nashville, Tennessee artist has turned his love of trees into a full time vocation. Sanders got into the tree sculpture business by accident. "My mother saves everything and had some wire and suggested I make something with it," Sanders said. "I made a small tree and took it to work with me to show some of the people at the restaurant and a lady wanted to buy it. I sold it for a dollar or two, and another co-worker asked me to make her one."

Sanders said he produced trees as a source for extra income for several years, but it eventually got to where he was earning more from his tree business than from his full-time job. I quit work, and have been making trees ever since.

Since he began creating his original, one of a kind tree sculptures, he has established a well known reputation in the arts and crafts show scene of today. He has created and sold over 80,000 trees. Art lovers have spread his trees all over the United States, and 43 foreign countries.

He now is a member of the Tennessee Artist and Craftsmen Association, Tennessee Art League, American Society of Artists, and the Michigan Guild of Artists and Artisans. He travels extensively throughout the United States and participates in over 40 nationally known art shows a year.

"My favorite time of the year is winter when all are gone from the trees," Sanders said. "Trees have more character when they are bare. Only then do you how individualistic they are."

Sanders creates three styles of trees (Weeping Willows, Oaks and windblown) and says, "I think my true duty as an artist is to make people pause and appreciate something that they take for granted everyday.