Twisting around the floor, walls, and ceilings of the Museum of a Million and One Roots in Cornimont, France are fanciful creatures of all shape and kind, seemingly organic clocks and lamps, and fantasy tableaus, all made of hardened roots collected by local artist Michel Maurice.
Maurice began his magical sylvan collection after crafting a lamp out of a large root that he picked up in Algeria. After creating his first luminous piece, the artist began collecting roots as he would walk through his local forest and carving them into fantasy creatures inspired by the natural shape of the root. A piece of wood with a number of trailing branches might become an octopus while a root that looks like it might be a happy little character will get a smiling face carved into it. As his collection began to grow, Maurice started creating clocks, and other decorative pieces in addition to woodland settings for his characters. Once Maurice has brought the true spirit of a root to the surface, they are shined and lacquered.
The root collection has continued to grow over the years and now contains around 800 pieces, all selected and created by Maurice. After his growing number of works began getting almost unwieldy, Maurice opened the Museum of a Million and One Roots at the behest of some of his admirers. It covers two floors of magical wooden beasts and is now decorated with foliage that grows up the walls and over the floors as though visitors have stepped right into an enchanted grove. While the space is more gallery than museum, there are some small displays about insects and wood diseases that give it a bit more of an academic air.
Know Before You Go
The museum is about 3.5km north of Cornimont on the D486. It will be on your left.