Spending this much time with one tree is becoming challenging, some days I love the fact that I have a something to go to, something that holds me, grounds me, listens to me, shares space with me. Other days when I think of all the things I haven’t done, the collections piled high on spaces throughout my studio, I see the impermanence of it all. I wonder why did I ever start this? Why didn’t I drive straight by the fallen tree without a second thought? Why is it so important that I spend this time working with a tree?

The pile of leaves I saved from the original canopy of the tree are sitting in a pile in my studio, they have  an ecology of their own, a micro world of decay. I have a morbid fascination with watching this pile of leaves disintegrate. Initially I was using some of them for dyeing and making ink, but as time has gone by, I have moved onto other parts of the tree, and the leaves have continued on their own journey.

There is so much beauty as I watch it all disintegrating as the months pass, it is still living, the resilience of the process of decay, its unstoppable.  The words used to describe and explain decay are harsh, there isn’t the celebration of a cycle of life, of the purpose that this incredible process holds.

decay
dɪˈkeɪ/

verb
1. (of organic matter) rot or decompose through the action of bacteria and fungi. “the body had begun to decay”
synonyms: decompose, rot, putrefy, go bad, go off, spoil, fester, perish, deteriorate;

I’ve also begun to look at other parts of the tree, small sections and different parts that I foraged from the site, and different pieces of the wood as I begin to work slowly with the larger pieces.

Anne Harris - Love and Decay
Anne Harris - Love and Decay
Anne Harris - Love and Decay
Anne Harris - Love and Decay
Anne Harris - Love and Decay
Anne Harris - Love and Decay
Anne Harris - Love and Decay
Anne Harris - Love and Decay
Anne Harris - Love and Decay
Anne Harris - Love and Decay
Anne Harris - Love and Decay

I’ve cut some wood into small pieces, these I’ve carefully put in random places,  rooms, places where I’ve been working. Wondering if the tree still has ‘life’ and becomes part of its surroundings. I’ve put collections together with other trees. The sawdust I collect, I’m not ready to let go of any of the ‘parts’ of the tree yet, except for a few small pieces that have been gifted to interested people. I also, as part of a celebration early on, sprinkled sawdust on a shared salad, this food me and another tree-loving friend shared, as we talked about plants and life.

Anne Harris - Love and Decay