Forest Home is a two-part community created public art work, that was an element of the Forest Fire project installed in Truckee, CA from December 2021 – September 2022.
The mural “Our Home, Our Forest” was created by adding hundreds of individual artworks made by area schoolchildren from Kindergarten, third, and seventh grade classes created during a series of workshops with Sierra Watershed Education Partnerships during the late spring of 2022. I worked with groups of children as a reflective activity while they were given tours of the exhibit, to encourage them to express through art what they thought and felt related to the themes of Forest Fire and its connection to our collective home in the Tahoe National Forest. The art was brought together into a larger image of beneficial trees within our ecosystem, with the children’s art playing the key visual role, and subsequent layers of transparent glazes serving to allow the tree forms to emerge.
The “Wishing Tree” sculpture was created using slabs reclaimed from a tree that was burned in the 2019 Camp Fire in California, a catastrophic wildfire that caused enormous loss of life and property, and which had a heavy emotional toll on everyone, including our own community. The tree was harvested by a young man who had grown up near the fire site, and began processing the burned trees as a way to process the event. The inscriptions across the surfaces of the slabs were written on cards by attendees of the exhibit and collected in a box, in response to the question “what is your wish for the future forest”? I have attempted to the best of my ability to reproduce the handwriting of contributors, and the art of the children who drew instead of (or in addition to) writing.
I feel so blessed to live in this community and to have the opportunity to serve in this way. These kids did incredible work, and the community came together beautifully in a collection of thoughtful and reflective comments.