Tree Core Study

Fires of Change, Coconino Center for the Arts, Flagstaff, September 5 through October 31, 2015. Collaboration with Craig Goodworth, porcelain and red stoneware, woodfired.

During the fire science workshop on the North Rim, we decided to collaborate on a secondary project in a way that might hold together concept and craft. We were both struck by the fragility and memory of a tree core.  It is the essence of a tree, a documentation of its history, from its beginning one to two hundred years ago, enabling scientists to see the evidence of a particular tree, sharing with us its story of dry and wet years, possibly pests and illnesses, and when it was touched by fire.

In making a tree core out of clay, we are documenting the various rings of growth, giving it an archival quality, like a book in a library of time, setting it in stone. Wood firing implies we are casting it in fire, exposing it to the elements.

Are we learning from the history that a tree has to share? Are we learning what a tree has to tell us? Who are we to make rules about its safety?

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