Topic: New England

Knowledge & Wisdom: Beauty in Unexpected Places

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Steve Erickson creates works of sculptural art from what Nature has already sculpted herself. And to him the best messages Nature sends are through her most pedestrian messengers: weeds, roots, stalks, prickers … He’s interested in helping people learn to see beauty in unexpected places, [so] he’s agreed to part with some of his tips–as long as they help people out looking for treasures:

The best seasons are late autumn and winter, when the leaves have dropped to reveal the shapes of things. Look for dead material–it’s already dried, and removing it will have less impact on the local ecology than removing something living.

A rotted birch log will yield a hollow tube of bark, once you’ve picked out the rotted wood. Make it your vase, and add small branches–straight, twisted, contorted, weeping–to reflect an emotion.

Weeds are exquisite. Common suburban overgrowth such as Japanese knotweed provides dramatic shapes in its branches.

–“Rhapsody in Roots,” by Tracey Minkin, October 1994


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