I Built a Fence That Fell From the Sky{14}

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stick fence and bozSometimes beauty reveals itself in unexpected ways, other times it’s a familiar friend on my daily path. For the madrona trees that have stood witness to the lives and loves of this house over the last century, it’s both. As I’ve said before, they are truly living sculptures.

madrona stick fence closeup

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 not standing under a madrona during a wind storm or anchoring your hammock to its bough.)

rustic fence from Olana, Frederick Church’s home

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.

fence built of madrona branches

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.

winter fence of branches ladened with snow

A blanket of snow outlines its fanciful form

sm frame Christmas lights tree fence 011And in 2012 a new tradition: a seasonal livery–lighting up the fence and madrona grove!

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