The force that through the green fuse drives the flower.
- Poet Dylan Thomas

The Beetle Wood pieces are made of pine rounds cut from trees killed by the recent pine beetle infestation in the Rocky Mountains. The beetles leave a dark stain that enhances the grain and beauty of the wood. I harvested trees from private property in Northern Colorado's Rawah Forest to use in making the series.

The natural pattern of the tree rings and wood grain make such a dynamic statement of their own that the series became a practice in meditative study and restraint. I found I could easily overwhelm the natural beauty and make the piece of wood into something less attractive. Instead, I followed the cues given by the wood, counting rings and tracing their patterns using a wood burning tool.

This naturally led to marking the rings by numbers, then to telling the story of the rings by cutting words from novels, making poetry, and describing the environment in which the trees grew. Some of the trees are 300 years old! Imagine the stories they could tell, the things they have witnessed and the wisdom they hold. This series imagines a bit of that story.

My workspace while working on the Wood project; Detail of a finished piece.

While I am working on a series, I like to immerse myself entirely into the work and do very little other creative work. The more invested I get into the process, the deeper I get into following the trail. At first I might be hesitant about materials or process, unsure of the intent, content or direction. But if I continue going forward I can find my footing and the work opens up to me. I like the discovery process. Every material or curiosity has something to reveal.  It does mean that each series I do might be very different than the others, and even that I am learning to relax into.

Creativity comes naturally for me. Repetition does not. Not surprisingly, It turns out that creativity and repetition have opposite energetic patterns! It seems society loves the repetition of things, yet I am just cut out of a very different cloth, and I can’t fake the other. And so be it.

In developing the Beetle Wood pieces, I realized how much I love putting a show together. It reminds me of doing video installations where every element in the show helps to communicate the message. It is creating an experience, not just a wall full of artworks. How a person enters the space, how information is revealed, how the story is told — all of this is part of curating an exhibit, and every detail matters.

Beetle Wood installation view at The Element of Wood exhibit.

2019, Gift Shop, Fort Collins Museum of Art
2018, Be Still, Group show at Wolverine Publik House, Fort Collins, CO
2016, Wood, Group show at Wolverine Publik House, Fort Collins, CO
2015, The Element of WoodSolo show of Chinese Herb Photomontages and Beetle Wood series.