Through my work I respond to my natural environment. For over two decades, trees have been the focus of my ceramic sculpture. On slow walks in the forest I'm drawn to the oddities, disruptions in the growth patterns of trees like bracket fungi, burls, and gnarls. My fungi series explores the role they play in the life cycle of trees. Bracket fungi or polypores inhabit the trunks or branches of trees and form strange woody fruiting bodies called conks. As a sculptor, I was first attracted to polypores because of their surreal three-dimensional forms and how they seem to pop out of the tree trunks. Through closer inspection, I was intrigued by the diversity of the species with an endless variety of shapes, colors, and textures.
Back in the studio, I identified a selection of specimens and learned that the fungi consume the wood, though some species form a symbiotic relationship with sick or dying trees and aid in the decomposition into soil. The realization that polypores not only indicate the health of trees but are decomposers working their behind-the-scenes magic made clear the interconnection between polypores, trees, soil, roots, the forest, and everything in between. Through my art I hope to elevate the overlooked and discarded bits and pieces of nature for a deeper understanding of the ecosystem.
My models are assembled from bracket fungi and branches that I collect in the forest. I harvest the fungi by knocking them off of decaying trees with a hammer. These found natural objects are thoroughly air-dried, arranged, and glued together then sculpted in clay.