Sunday, June 10, 2007

Extreme Texture

When I was setting up for my open house back in February, I remember commenting to my brother, Mad Max, that there were a disturbing number of birch tree quilts. I didn't know whether I should be concerned about that or not. He blithely said, so quit making birch tree quilts. But my sense was, and still is, that I have more to say with birches, and as long as that is true, it's ok to keep working with that image. One might think that I am pursuing birches, but I rather think it is the other way around. I can't seem to escape them.

Case in point: Not long ago, a flatbed trailer loaded with birch logs mysteriously showed up next door. I grabbed my camera and took several dozen shots, capturing an amazing array of shapes, textures and colors. Good thing I didn't wait until the next day to do this. As unexpectedly as it had arrived, the trailer disappeared, its load unceremoniously dumped behind a fence, no longer accessible to me and my camera.

The first thing to catch my eye was shape. I automatically think of logs as being perfectly round, so this oblong one amused and intrigued me.

The bark was wildly curling away from this one. It reminded me of surf - big waves on the ocean.

The thinner layer of the bark curled like ribbon drawn across the blade of a scissor, or like wood shavings from a plane.

Being birch, black lines were also in evidence.

I'm so used to thinking of birch bark as stark white. These trees' bark was darker and shaded in spots with peach and burgundy undertones.

Ok, so maybe it wasn't so mysterious, this bunch of logs arriving. But the following week, I had the distinct impression that I was being stalked by them. Within my fenced yard, there's a narrow passageway between the back of my house and a shed - the route I take when going out to walk the dog. It is quite a ways from where the birch logs were dumped, even the opposite side of the driveway. Yet this particular morning, there was this three inch square of birch bark lodged next to the shed along this passageway. I can't imagine how it got there, and yes, it was a bit spooky!

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