Posts Tagged ‘launch’

Dancers in the Forest

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013


At SculptureFest annual openings, dancers engage creatively with each piece that has been installed. In this clip, Tracey Penfield and dance partner Chelsea Palin performed a spontaneous piece in “The Forest Within.” Filmed by Edie Farwell and edited by Cedar Farwell, with original music, “Anna’s Waltz,” by Seth Houston.

The Tree Artist: A Tribute to an Oldest Friend

Thursday, September 5th, 2013
Jay Mead and Peter Heller

Jay Mead and Peter Heller

I am pleased to share these written reflections on my SculptureFest piece, “The Forest Within,” by friend and author Peter Heller. A former Upper Valley resident, Peter wrote the bestselling novel The Dog Stars in 2012. – Jay

The Tree Artist
Jay Mead at SculptureFest
A Tribute to an Oldest Friend

Take a beat up old farm shed. Prop it up, true the posts, re-roof it. Give it back its humble life. Then reach for the medium you have loved since you were a kid: trees.

Trees are everything to you. You grew up on a tree farm in New Hampshire. You tapped trees to make syrup as a teenager, cut and bucked and split them for firewood. You walked and skied among them for inspiration and solace in high school. And after you moved to the Bay Area you went to the sequoias and redwoods whenever you could. The giants were your cathedral. Those forests did something to the light and the air that changed the way you saw yourself in the world. When you lost two younger sisters and a father that is where you prayed, and when you had children of your own it is where you gave thanks. They gave you back your smallness, which every person needs. Your awe. Your oxygen. They rooted you to your life and reminded you that those that walk and sway on earth are myriad, are your brothers and sisters, and that we are entrusted with certain souls.

The Forest Within

The Forest Within

In San Francisco, your first big installation was a giant redwood stump, the kind they used to drive cars through, erected in the middle of the city and built of discarded redwood lumber. I helped you build it. Remember? The crowds that stopped, the mouths that fell open? It was a sensation, an organic monument to nature and loss.

So, trees. Back here in Vermont you cut twenty saplings—the field edge needed to be cut back–and you painted them white and planted them inside the dark shed on a ground of soft red mulch. The old pavilion suddenly looked like it would burst its seams with pride. Because it was now a shadow box that held a forest. A ghost forest. A forest of birch at night, or aspen. It was a little church, and inside danced the rows of slender luminous trees, and it was sepulcher also, and the forest was skeletal, a photographic negative of the living world, of what it may become. You called it The Forest Within. And you planted it on the King Farm* where we can all see it and wonder why it resonates with some green thing that moves inside, that sways against our own bones.

* King Farm is in Woodstock, Vermont and hosts the annual SculptureFest.

“The Forest Within” SculptureFest Installation

Thursday, August 29th, 2013
Forest Within

“The Forest Within” is in a salvaged pavilion (12′ x 18′ x 10′) and comprised of painted saplings, bark mulch, polyethylene, and burlap.

Just yesterday, I completed my new SculptureFest installation, “The Forest Within.” It’s across from my “When the Moon Came to Earth” installation (2012) at King Farm, Woodstock, Vermont.

This structure was originally used as a summer pavilion by the King family. When it was moved, the building was damaged and lacked a proper foundation. The first order of business was to jack it up and put a couple of beams underneath to provide some structural integrity. In the process, the building was made more or less level. Trim and shingles were also replaced and the building was spruced up.

To me, this installation is an exploration of the organic lines created by the saplings and their interstices. The black interior was necessary to provide a space of high contrast. Breaking all the elements down to three strong colors – white, black, and red (iron oxide) – allows for additional clarity. The pavilion has a Zen quality and these sparse elements pay homage to that aesthetic. The trees can be viewed as conduits of earth to sky and vice versa. How many times have we witnessed the trees dancing in the wind? Is there a dance here? How do we carry the forest in us?

The painting of the saplings arose out of last year’s installation of “When the Moon Came to Earth,” standing to the east (see time-lapse video). The initial impetus came from the “Hand on Pianos” project when the piece “Tree Songs” was created (see video of musical performance on piano piece).

The SculptureFest Opening is this Saturday, August 31 from 4-7pm. At 7pm there will be a performance of the play “Art” in the King Farm Barn. Get tickets at BarnArts. I hope you’ll come and see my installations, those of other artists, and the play. SculptureFest is always free and open to the public from dawn to dusk through foliage season. Here are directions.

When the Moon Came to Earth – Installed

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

When the Moon Came to Earth, detail

This is my latest piece “When the Moon Came to Earth.” Each disc is made of saplings and measures 10′ in diameter.  It’s installed at King Farm, which is an extension of Sculpture Fest.

The opening is at King Farm on Saturday, September 1st from 4-7pm.  The theme this year is “Poetry on the Land.”  At 5:15pm, Bonnie Gale will do a presentation on “Living Willow Sculpture” at the Prosper Road location. Bring your own picnic.  Then, Barnarts will present the play “Eleemoysynary” in the Barn at King Farm at 7pm. Buy tickets for the performance here. More information on Sculpture Fest is available here.

“A Little Farm Story”

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

On Wednesday, the 22nd of September, I launched my book “A Little Farm Story.” It was a warm fall evening marked by a beautiful sunset and moonrise. About 75 folks showed up for the potluck, farm fest, and book launching. We set up 5  picnic table in a line and recreated the page from the book that says “the people eat.” All this happened in the CSA garden space of Cedar Mountain Farm here at Cobb Hill. Zach Stremlau, of Green Mountain Flour, fired up his portable (wood fired) oven and cooked up many tasty pizzas, Peter Money, of Harbor Mountain Press, sponsored Zach. I did a dramatic reading of the book and was accompanied by Justin on guitar and Steve on the djembe. I hung the originals on the green house. Luminaria were lit and co-ordinated by Wendy and others and provided the perfect path of light. Deep gratitude to all who showed up and supported me on this venture.

To purchase a copy of “A Little Farm Story”, click here.