An Annotated Portfolio & Project Documentaries

Twenty-one. The ars poetica of tree art

There are many preliminaries and other indirect activities in the making of tree art.  I imagine that any poet (maker) knows, regardless of the particular poem (thing made), that it resulted from the complicated processes of poetry (making).  I like to think that the phrase ars poetica applies to both the making of my tree art, and to each individual piece I make.

For over twenty years, I’ve used pocket notebooks and clipboard tablets to record the process of making tree art–with descriptions, introspections, and philosophical reflections.  These voluminous scribbles and word processings might someday become a published book.

I started keeping design sketches and notes in this 3-ring binder in 1990. It has sections on: tree motifs and their possible uses; specific types of furniture–chairs, tables, beds,toteboxes, lamps, etc; workshop fixtures, templates, jigs, tools; and marketing ideas.

These are drawings of what I came to recognize as recurring "Lodgepole pine" (Pinus contorta var. latifolia) tree trunk shapes. They also became figuratively significant to me as runes--runic figures/characters in a forest calligraphy.

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