Posts Tagged ‘stories’

Moonlight shines in through the silent night.

Light a beeswax candle.

Yuko Wada

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Have you ever climbed a tree? Do you have a favorite tree or a magical path through the woods?

Join the Treewhispers forest of stories by sending your handmade paper rounds with your tree story/art/poetry. Your submission will be included in the upcoming exhibition Bridge and Joutras Galleries in the Regenstein Center at the Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, Illinois, January 14 through April 8, 2012 as well as all future exhibitions.

How have trees inspired and informed you?

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I have visited the Primordial Forest near the coast of Oregon. The Hidden Creek Wilderness has a stand of giant Redwoods going back two thousand years.

It seems that few humans wander off the path into this overgrown untouched wilderness with Hidden Creek running through it. Even the Indians that lived along the coast and wore the bark for clothing, gathered berries and seeds from the undergrowth, were said to be afraid of the Dark Forest. Occasionally an old hunter enters the forest, carrying his rifle. The turf is moist and spongy from layers of bark and loam and old trees that have fallen over, becoming part of the ground. It is easy to take a step and sink way down. The smell is fresh and musty. The redwoods grow straight upwards, creating a ceiling at about 200 feet. There are signs of elk and bear along the river. One tree is charred by lightening, somehow burning in all this wetness. Inside this place there are no paths, and the trees are covered in moss hanging down, like old elegant clothing.

Winter wrens hop along the ground and are difficult to see. The only sound is the owl hooting. American Dippers dive in and out of the river.

Inside with the trees the silence is thick, palpable. There are no human sounds left, and not a trace of human presence. Just these ancient trees guarding memory. I say to myself, ”Nothing false can enter Here.”

Contributed by Laurie Doctor

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The planting inheritance, a flourishing of the verdurous instinct…

But it’s more to the relishing of seeing things grow. And sharing in that growth. My father comes from a planting background, as a farmer. Early on, our family bought a farm, some several miles from our house in Spokane — mostly hay, back in the beginning. But later, the family — including all the brothers, and Dad, brought trees to plant. And more trees. And more — till finally, the bulk of the land is covered in pine. But it was never about the idea of cutting the trees, but converting the land.

Walking round, cleaning the land around the island studio, I see the many little plantings that have moved to permanence, after nearly two decades of growth. Here, too, are trees that have moved along — some, to growth, others have passed in the harsh and salted winds and rain. Cedars, transplanted couldn’t survive the shift from inland forests to more coastal weather.

I’m seeing the inklings of spring, just coming. Little sprigs of green emerging – the hints that the fierce grasp of winter is shifting to the season of renewal.

The nature of planting — the nurturing sprig or seedling — it’s a mutual gift, whether gardens, flowers, trees; but that gift, as I’ve seen in my parents, is as much a gift in the practice of planting, as the nourishing of green to the outcome of that gesture.

With the sun shining, it’s a day that celebrates that transition, just now — glinting rays illuminate the far shore like a rule of scintillant light, shimmering in slivers.

The waters, calm, still speak the whisper of the tides.

Contributed by Tim Girvin, Seattle, Washington

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I am the tree… there is no name for me … I am just the tree!
My ways are ancient … symbolic of the connections between earth and sky.
My roots grow deep into the soil; soil that is all that remains of my ancestors.
It is all that remains … of anyone’s ancestors … and I know them all.
For I walk barefoot in the soil; and the soil stores the remnants of every creature’s works.
You are the human … do your roots live among the ancestors … like mine?
Are you as dependent on … or even aware of … the wisdom of the soil or its long-term memory?

I am the tree … it is but a word to me … I am just the tree!
My leaves are held high … eager for the warmth of the sun and a gentle summer rains.
And I cast my shadows across the meadow … shade for those who would tend my roots and branches.
A family of Hawks has nested high in my crown …
That they may teach their young to soar with Grandfather Sky.
And I am honored for the air exchange we leafed beings … share … with those that have lungs.
May our needs remain in balance! May our days be many upon this earth!

I am the tree … no words, just a song for me … I am just the tree!
Listen for the whispers of my song … carried by the wind at your back.
There are many such songs in the forest, a different one for each and every physical thing.
Songs that reveal the secrets hidden in every leaf and rock.
Songs … like reference libraries … that share all secrets, great and small … worth knowing.
It is the universal language all things use to communicate, it is the only true language.
The language of vibrations … songs … still emanating from that very first day!

I am the tree … I am the song … I am the tree!

Ho Hecetu Welo!

contributed by Rob (Wind At His Back) Miller

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It’s thrilling to see the Treewhispers project growing globally. Rose Camastro-Pritchett recently returned from Jiujiang, China where she implemented the project with her art students—as well as her oral English students. I had the pleasure of hearing the many stories surrounding the project and thought you too would enjoy some of the wonderful photos and synopsis of the events.

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Treewhispers Project: Jiujiang University, Jiujiang, China 2010

Rose Camastro-Pritchett

For the first semester of the 2010 academic year I was invited to teach papermaking and book arts to 18 sophomore art students. We worked from the premise that the artist book is an art form that uses text and images to tell a story. It can take the form of a book or object. The approach to the work was conceptual in nature considering the idea to be the most important element of the work but not eliminating the importance of aesthetics and craft. As part of this course we participated in the international Treewhispers Project.

The work was challenging. Not only was papermaking and bookbinding a new art form for them, they had never been exposed to conceptual art nor had they done an installation or put together an entire exhibition. In order to do the projects they had to work as a team, collaboratively, rather than individually. They set up, did the work and cleaned up. They engaged in the critiques with Chunxue translating when needed. On a regular basis they volunteered to come to class up to 2 hours early and stay late to do their work to their satisfaction.

Upon seeing the DVD on Treewhispers, the students were awed. They had never seen anything like this and wanted to be a part of it as did the students in my oral English classes of which I taught two. The art students pulled the discs and they along with my oral English students wrote their own stories on them.

We created a Papermaking Studio on the veranda of my apartment and classes where held inside the apartment. The desks and chairs were provided by the Art Department. I brought some supplies with me— pellon and embroidery rings— and purchased the rest in Jiujiang. With the help of two students we searched many markets and shops throughout the city center to find what we needed. Students made paper from university recycled copy paper using plastic embroidery rings as molds and deckles. Rice bowls were used for pulp casting.

I found the students to be extremely creative and curious, hardworking and enthusiastic. They came to me with a good art foundation from their Jiujiang University art classes and a willingness to learn new art forms. It was a definite blend of two cultures, my background in the west and theirs in the east. As a result, the work that they produced is unique, intriguing and compelling. It was a pleasure to work with them.

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