Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Forest Unseen: Looking at the land with eyes of an artist and a scientist

I've been connected with the folks at the St. Andrew's Sewannee School for some time. This is where I'll be teaching my upcoming summer collograph workshop, at the annual Shakerag Workshop.

As an artist living and working in rural Tennessee, thinking about how I connect with nature is a big part of what I do. I've written about my experiences gardening, spending time with the earth and just taking it all in.

This is why I wanted to share a wonderful book with you, written by a Botany professor at Sewannee by the name of David Haskell. Over the course of one year, Haskell observed the activity of 1 square meter of land on a wooded slope in Shakerag Hollow, Sewannee, Tennessee. His book, The Forest Unseen, chronicles just what he observed and witnessed during the 12-month period.

By taking time to stop and really observe the land, Haskell saw many things that others most definitely would miss.

As an artist, I rely very heavily on the powers of observation. All artists are individuals looking at the world, trying to glean something from what we see. That's what I experience when creating a new piece of work.

I often feel that as a society, we need more hope. And nature is a great place to look and find that such a hope does exist...if we simply stop and look for it.

Here's a short video about the book and Haskell's experience. I think you'll enjoy it.

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