Temple of Earth

I view my work as making shrines to nature, because I believe that one of most common connections we have as people is the awe we feel when plunged into the natural world away from civilization. I think it is the source of our concept of divinity

The tree I have used is a gigantic Red Gum Eucalyptus that was cut 15 years age and left to rot. Luckily, Eucalyptus does not rot readily, and I was able; through much effort and time, to mill large sections of the tree to spectacular end. Nature has unending variety, and this tree is a “one in million” in its mind-boggling grain and growth patterns.

As I was working, it was evident to me over and over, that I was saving something majestic, and magical. I want to share the amazing beauty in nature, so that people can feel the connection to the living world, and through touching and seeing the wood, come to value the world of the wild; from which we are not separate, but are an intrinsic part. I believe that we all need to be reminded of where we are in the world, and how we fit in. The illusion is that we are above, and in control of nature. The reality is that we need to hold it in greater esteem, because without a healthy environment, we, as well as the natural world around us, cannot thrive, or maybe, even survive. Wood, to me is the symbol of that awareness; making a visual and physical connection, honoring the beauty and significance of nature in our lives. Made of Red Gum Eucalyptus, Walnut, Bocoate, and acrylic wash.

Shades of Life

Acrylic wash on Willow, with Valley Oak Legs, Walnut and a log of Black Locust, sculpted to be the left side support. I felt that the life of the tree should be represented through shadows cast on the table, like a visual echo of its leaves still catching light. I also wanted to keep the story of its being cut down with a chain saw, like a piece of forensic evidence, which I left plainly visible on the top of the Black Locust. What is more poignant than telling a story about life and death?

Fragile as the Forest

I think we need to change the lexicon of our words, and thus our thinking, in order to start to change the way we see the world around us. I wanted to make an image that spoke in a very recognizable way, and turn around the symbol to represent a new awareness of our relationship to out forests, and how we see them. Our world has changed significantly, and it is only reasonable that we shift our view to match. We have control of the forests of the world, and yet, it is the forest that has the air we need to exist. In a very real way our lives are contingent on the survival of our forests. If we start to see trees as the fragile life force that is of huge value to us we might change our actions to value and protect that fragile resource for all the lives to come on this earth.

The table legs and frame are made of California Walnut, from a yard in Santa Rosa. The owner was very unhappy that the tree was at the end of its life, and wanted me to use it for furniture, so it would have a second life and continue to be of beauty and use. The top. is Red Gum Eucalyptus from a construction site where they were going to just cut it up and put it in landfill. Obviously that is not what happened. The butterflies are acrylic and are done in the tradition of Trompe l’oeil on historic furniture.

Fragile-as-a-Forest1
Fragile-as-a-Forest-closeup

Alive

The body of a tree is hard, permanent, beautiful and useful. The tree itself, a mute, majestic life force, spreading out into the sky, making matter and atmosphere out of water and earth, a living factory, yet fragile as all life is.

This Table is made of Red Gum Eucalyptus, California Walnut, Valley Oak and Elm
I wanted to make a mathematical equivalent to a tree in the form of a shrine, with its asymmetrical growth rising up to the branching structure, and the plane of canopy spreading out to form a horizontal expanse of color and light resting on the branches, as colors play off the space between leaves; A tree as a temple, a table, to embody the majesty of the life in a tree.