Posts Tagged ‘nature’

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.

When the Moon Came to Earth – New Video

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Enjoy this time-lapse video produced by Colleen Bozuwa of my “When the Moon Came to Earth” installation at King Farm in Woodstock, Vermont.  Thanks, Colleen!

Also, Marie Kirn of Hartland, Vermont gave my piece a kind endorsement, saying it is “striking and moving” in this broadcast of Vermont Public Radio’s En Plein Air. Listen to the short segment.

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.

Mask Making with Students from New York City

Friday, July 27th, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I recently led a mask making workshop at Cobb Hill  with students from the Brearley School in New York City. The second year of students to stay at Cobb Hill during the summer, they came to learn about rural living, sustainability, and organic farming. Their presence created a fun exchange of lifestyles and ideas.

In many cultures, putting on a mask signifies the creation of a new persona, and therefore a new set of understandings, empathies, and ways of thinking. The participants in the workshop created masks while learning about the significance of mask-making in different cultures. They used natural elements collected around Cobb Hill and integrated them with other materials to create their pieces of art.

Creative problem solving is essential for addressing the many challenges we face in bringing about a sustainable future for people and planet. In this workshop the next generation engaged in creative expression and expanded their problem-solving skills, while also using these as a tool for cross-cultural exchange.

I received this note after the workshop:

“Thank you so much for guiding us through mask-making: we loved every minute of it. It was amazing to see our nature elements combined with human features take shape as we molded, constructed and painted them with vibrant colors. You were extremely patient, and your critiques for every one of our masks was always so kind and your advice always so helpful.” - Participants from the Brearley School, New York City

The above photos were taken by Annie Byerly and Xiaofu Ding, and Cobb Hill resident Carla Kimball.

When the Moon Came to Earth – The Process

Monday, June 18th, 2012

Friend and photographer, Carla Kimball, documented progress I made in creating When the Moon Came to Earth, a piece for Woodstock, Vermont’s Sculpture Fest. Click to see her first installment and second installment of photographs.