Sometimes 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.
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