Towering and twisted, they reach for the sky, shedding any branches starved for light. A few Sou’westers, and the ground becomes a battlefield of branches, driftwood spears released by the wind’s slightest provocation and gravity’s standing invitation. (I recommend neither standing under a madrona during a wind storm nor anchoring your hammock to its boughs.)
The rustic branch fence at Olana (Hudson, New York)
I was inspired to make a fence out these branches after visiting Olana: the home of landscape painter Frederic Church in the Hudson River Valley. On the historic estate, I studied a stunning rustic fence, intrigued that by using one type of tree branch (cedar, I believe in this case), the randomness of the individual branches formed a greater harmony and formality when fashioned in the whole. The fence created movement in the static.
When I arrived home, I knew the piles of madrona branches were destined for something more artful than a burn pile. The madrona (like Olana’s cedar branch fence) unlocked its fluidity and quirky formality when brought together collectively. I built a fence that fell from the sky–a fence that grows and snakes along new territory after each storm.
A blanket of snow outlines its fanciful form