Where Land Meets Ocean
In the Pacific Northwest we are uniquely situated on the edge of a coastal rainforest, where the mountains rise from the sea. The ecosystem that has evolved here is as diverse as it is dynamic. The geological bounds of the surroundings influence the climate, as mountains formed along the coast corral the passing clouds, releasing relentless rain on the forest below. Dominated by western red cedar, Douglas-fir, and hemlock, this landscape has supported indigenous communities for centuries. Tributaries from the mountains snake to the sea, bringing sediments and nutrients which sustain local aquatic populations, and in turn the terrestrial populations that depend on them. As the tide advances, the crashing ocean waves unleash their power on the ocean-formed basalt along the coastline. The waves are persistent and tenacious, eroding the coastal rock only over times spans beyond comprehension. As the tide recedes, it leaves behind stones and shells that have been smoothed and rounded from the sea, rippled patterns along the sand, and tide pools begging for exploration. The ecological processes at this coastal juncture are dynamic and in constant flux. Where the land meets the ocean is alive, it is evolving, eroding, recreating.
My own exposure to the dramas at play within the intertidal zone has fostered a deep respect for that story. The time spent walking the shores at Black Rock, Ucluelet, has made me truly appreciate the beautiful landforms that arise at this shifting, bustling intersection. Here in the Pacific Northwest we exist on a sliver of land between the mountains and the sea, one is constantly visually connected to the environment, and aware of their place within a larger context. A deep respect for place exists within the people that call this area home, and is imbued in the work they produce. This connection results in work that is honest about the material’s origins, it’s not over-processed; it speaks to the story of the land, creating a body of work emblematic of the region.
Our newly released Intertidal Collection reflects on the physical relationship between rock and water, as the lunar cycles drive the shifting tides in advance and retreat. The basalt stone, a rich black when wet, stands immovable while the ocean is ever in flux. As the tide ebbs, it reveals the basalt, a pillar of permanence and stability in a harsh environment. The abundance of this stone that we see along the coast, immovable and omnipresent, represents the passage of time; it reminds us of how small in scale our timelines really are. As the tide advances and flows back on to the shore, the stone is covered with a slick of water. Sunlight caught in the waves sends ripples dancing across the surface.
Along the coast we also see accumulations of Tafoni. These granular rocks; sandstone, granite, limestone, have been salt weathered by exposure to the sea, leaving behind honeycomb-like patterns. The smooth curves of the Tafoni bench mimic the smooth walled intrusions you see in these coastal rock forms. This uniquely patterned rock demonstrates the unrelenting forces at play, the constant exchange of energy at the intertidal zone cultivates a world that is teeming with life, and change.
The sea is as undiscerning as it is unsparing. Interwoven into the fabric of the environment is the story of humanity’s history. As one walks along the rugged shoreline of Haida Gwaii, a beautiful, rugged archipelago in the Queen Charlotte Islands, they might come across the Pesuta wreckage. Here, a large wooden barge was shipwrecked in 1928 and juts out from the sand, a testament to the forces of nature and their dominion over us. Our Pesuta chair pays homage to that site, with sharp angular forms that reference the ships jutting, wooden members.
Rich in inspiration, I have a deep respect for this land that has been in a shifting state of renewal and destruction since time immemorial. Our own place within that story is humble; I stand awed at the raw beauty, as a devoted steward and observer. Through my work I strive to convey that admiration, sharing with you the energy that I receive from this place, the energy that drives and defines all things, when the land meets the ocean.