Wood represents many different avenues, and yet it all directs us back to the tree. The Shattered series and the Alder series both pay tribute to the wood, allowing us to imagine where it came from and what it now represents.
Shattered was my first piece inspired by process. I was anxious to see how I could create random patterns by splitting and assembling different sized and shaped pieces of wood. I hoped that through the physical art of organizing a chaotic pile of wood I could somehow capture and convey the energy of this process.
What I unexpectedly discovered was the aroma released by the fall of the axe and the thud and crack as the wood fibers tore apart. This took me back to when I was a teenager, cutting wood during the summer months on Vancouver Island.
I love the experience of walking in the forests near my home, never sure of what lies in the shadows in the distance or the dark spaces between the trees. I’ve often wondered if the mystery suggested in these dark spaces and unknown depths is a significant part of what draws us to the natural world.
Alder was a natural choice as the material with which to tell this story of the coastal forest. Western alder is a pioneer tree. It grows quickly from saplings into dense stands of foliage that contribute to the forest’s shifting play of light and dark. It also has the unique and crucial ability to fix nitrogen from the air into the soil, preparing fertile ground for other tree species to be reborn.
With the Alder collection we carefully select, hand cut, and carve each stem before bundling it into a stack. We then saw horizontally across each stack to create the form of the piece, which appears to be sliced directly out of a section of densely packed forest. The depth of the open space which encircles each stick provides a stark contrast. My wish is for you to peer into the piece past the surface and imagine yourself walking in a rainforest.