My initial interest in trees as a mosaic subject was superficial. Bark resembled the textures and hues of the handmade pottery I used as tesserae and I wanted to see how these materials would translate the physical presence and visual impression of a tree. That was the starting point for a six-part series, completed March through December of 2020 – a time of tension and isolation, both political and personal.
The year before, I’d left my job and home of 30 years, moving 300 miles from family and friends in Baltimore to a small rural town in West Virginia. The pandemic struck soon after my move and fledgling friendships had to be put on hold as the practice of social distancing became common and necessary. More often, I found myself in the company of the trees that lined increasingly familiar paths I walked each day. Truncated to avoid contact with passing cars and power lines, these trees had healed in unique and revealing ways.
The divisive politics and social unrest of 2020 unfolded against the backdrop of a deadly worldwide pandemic. Our truncated lives reminded us of nature’s power to destroy and to heal. With a change in leadership and a promising vaccine, 2021 brings renewed hope that we might bifurcate and learn to grow in harmony with each other and our natural surroundings.