I am captivated by the patterning of a sawn cedar tree stump in our back garden, the product of a severe winter wind storm.
I dust it with charcoal powder, dampen a piece of 29 ½” x 42” (75 cm x 106.7 cm) archival printmaking paper, and lay it over the stump’s now blackened surface. I cushion the paper with blankets and a piece of foam rubber, before I climb onto it, to use the weight of my footsteps to take its imprint.
Back in my studio, this embossed print suggests the need for a reference to the tree’s context: that of my garden. Using images of seeds from an adjacent dogwood tree, I create five, 7” x 5” (18cm x 12.7cm) prints, demonstrating five different methods of relief printmaking, and collage them across the lower third of the work, metaphorically collapsing self and garden into one expression.
My mind’s eye casts back to my mother’s garden where her hops climb the side of the house and her Canterbury bells dangle as a back drop to her veggie rows, so I draw them with Caran d’Ache, water-based crayons. In doing so, I discover that in the gesture of the largest of the hop leaves, I have created an unintentional art historical reference that establishes the direction of this work. I continue, using the same materials, with a garland of wild roses, an avocado plant, three gardenias, then clematis flowers, followed by fuchsias and irises and lastly the lower dogwood blooms.
This work informs itself as it progresses, until I see that the subject is neither the tree nor my garden, rather, generations: my mother, myself, my daughters and my grand-daughters, and the passage of time, until it becomes my HERitage Garden.
Varnished, archivally matted and backed to outside dimensions 37 1/2” x 49 1/2” (95.25 cm x 125.73 cm) HERitage Garden is conservatively valued at $2400.00 Cdn., plus crating, shipping and handling.