A Place For Discovery

Discovery Park in Seattle is the urban nature lover's dream come true - right in the middle of town, trails to get lost on, a view of the Puget Sound, plus a beautiful forest.  I could have spent an entire day there! Here are a few photos from the time I got to indulge.
No matter where I am, I find that there is so much to be seen.  The Pacific Northwest contains some of my favorite ecosystem types so it's easy to be amazed by what's present there, but even in my own backyard I find that nature inspires me.  Always keep your eyes open… you never know what will move you.

All The Little Details

I never cease to be amazed by the texture in these amazing little organisms.  The cap on this little guy was only about 3-4 inches across, but check out the level of detail in the underside.  J found him when cleaning out the flower bed a few weeks back.  It's unfortunately been too warm lately to do much hiking, so sometimes inspiration from the yard must suffice.  The bottom photo is from an excursion to our favorite hiking spot in town last month.
September is here - I always sigh a bit of relief when August is gone.  The heat will gradually subside and I will take a deep breath and suddenly crisp fall air, colorful leaves and seasonal yard decorations will appear.  I live for this season.
Happy Weekend.

Tangled Up

J and I went hiking the other day in an area that was totally overtaken in some parts by wild grape vines.  He spotted this snake skin tangled up in some of the vines - some little dude decided that was a good spot to shed his skin.  The ants seemed to think so too.  I love the texture of it.
If you're in the US I hope you're having a wonderful Fourth of July holiday.  My initiative for the weekend - find an ice cream maker (if everyone else didn't have the same idea and buy them all up) and make use of those blackberries and strawberries ripening in my garden.  Cheers!

Ample Moisture

Oklahoma saw a late spring this year, and just in the last couple of weeks have we started receiving some of those "April showers" that supposedly bring on the "May flowers" and henceforth.  I planted my garden weeks ago and have relied on my trusty garden hose to keep it watered, but for several days we saw some continuous rain amounting to a few inches in the end.
I've seen some inky cap mushrooms pop up here and there since my entire garden is covered in a nice thick layer of wood chip mulch, but as the rains kept going they really seemed to find their happy place.  One morning I came outside to witness this - an entire area of the garden covered in these little shrooms.  It's odd how quickly they change.  I took these photos about 30 minutes to an hour after I first spotted them.  Initially, they still looked fresh and the caps were not curling upward yet.  By photo time they had started to deteriorate some and A noticeable change in color was apparent.  I came out an hour later and they had disintegrated into a mere memory.  Had I not seen them earlier I would not have known of their presence, save for a close observation of tiny black fibers across the mulch.
I love the textures in this top photo - this is one of my favorite attributes of fungi: the textures.  So intricate, despite how small they are.
And now it's raining again...

Lichen Inspiration

Lichen is becoming more and more of an intrigue for me.  I've always observed it, although not necessarily all that closely and I never really knew much about it.  The more I learn, the more I want to know about these tiny symbiotic organisms formed by the coming together of a fungi, cyanobacteria and  algae.  The closer you look at them and the more you learn about their habits, the more amazing they become!  The delicately intricate medulla, and teeny apothecia.  The fact that they are used as indicators of air quality.  I find myself consistently inspecting lichen when I spot it, and feeling inspired to explore it with future work.  The collaboration that I worked on with Sarah Hearn was just a taste, and it definitely left me craving more.  One of my favorite parts about my artistic process is the amount of information that I learn about each organism that I make.  While I'm no expert, I know so much more about mycology than I did before I started replicating it with fiber.  I'm looking forward to researching and experiencing the same with lichenology in the future!
Here are some specimens observed at Martin Park Nature Center when I was out there scoping out installation spots for Niche.  On a side note, the collaboration that I mentioned above is still on exhibit at START Norman in the Old Lumber Yard on Main St until May 10th, in addition to Succession.

Rain Does Wonderful Things

August in Oklahoma normally means everything is dry, brown and on its way into dormancy.  We've had way more rain this summer than in the past couple of years (really, that's an understatement), and warm temperatures with a lot of moisture equals fungi!  Here are some little scenes I got really giggly geeking out over last weekend when I was foraging for my Momentum Tulsa installation.  I need to look up the red ones from the second to last photo.  Some knitting might be in order for those...




Inspiration || Supernatural

It's been a while since I shied away from reposting content from other blogs, but I came across these images on Miss Moss this week and they struck me with inspiration, so I couldn't resist.  The photos are from a floral arranging studio lookbook for a couple of very talented ladies in Cape Town, South Africa: Emma Frost and Jessica Ellis.  Their studio is called Supernatural.  I love these so much, I'm not really even sure what to say about them!  Overall the concept is very creative, and it really gets my wheels turning!
Floral Design  ||  Supernatural
Photography  ||  Alix Rose Cowie
Styling  ||  Kate Desmarais
Model  ||  Shelly Chen
Found via  ||  Miss Moss


I love the snowflake shapes that plaster themselves to car windows on mornings of frost.  There's something simply satisfying about it, or maybe even nostalgic.  It reminds me of cutting out snowflake shapes from white paper when I was a kid.  Now I can't help but lean in for a closer look, right before I scrape them away so I can be on time to work.
These are from a frosty morning a week or two ago.  The same frosty morning that I spotted these crazy patterns in the ice on my driveway, in fact.  Winter seems to be on its last leg, but man it sure keeps holding on.  It's weird how we can have so many mild days and then suddenly in the last month of the season it's snow, cold weather, sleet, cold weather, etc. etc.  I got out to take a walk yesterday for some 52 Forms of Fungi photos and was almost tempted to lie down and take a nap in the yard, it was so nice.
Check back on Wednesday for photos of my installation and an update about this weekend's Momentum OKC event!  I will be sharing images of my process in the near future too.

Geometric Ice

I came outside the other morning to walk the dog, and spotted this crazy pattern in the ice on my driveway.  I guess there really is something positive that can come out of having a driveway with extremely poor drainage?  What causes this, I have no idea... but I wish I could have had more time to just inspect and enjoy it while it was there.  I guess that's what a camera is good for, huh?  Now you get to enjoy it too.  :)


Oklahoma Sunrise in December

Every morning, I walk my dog around the neighborhood before I go to work.  On occasion I am awakened and amazed by the incredible sunrises of Oklahoma.  As someone who loves to document experiences and inspiration, I often find myself thinking "Oh, I wish I had my camera!" so I can capture my viewpoint and share it with others.  I know it's important, though, to take a step back and just enjoy the moment - to take in as much as possible and just be grateful that you were there to see it... and then move on with your day.  This particular morning was exceptionally brilliant.  While I savored my morning walk, I also couldn't help grabbing my camera when we returned to the house since this view was lingering a little longer than usual.  One more sunrise picture never hurt anybody, right? :)

Texture || Boxelder Bugs

J and I were walking over to pick up some dinner last night when this maple tree covered in clusters of boxelder bugs caught our attention.  At the time, there were clusters twice the size of these at every branch/trunk attachment all the way up the tree, but after the glorious thunderstorm we had yesterday evening they must have been all washed out.  I went back today, and this is what I found.


You can barely make them out here, but we have some bees living in a giant hackberry tree down the street from us.  J and I periodically like to walk by it to observe their activity, and I would say that today is the most active I've seen them in months.  Apparently I'm not the only one who has emerged from their slothfulness with this 20 degree drop.  It's glorious!  And it's also encouraging to see these pollinators making their way in our paved, urban environment.  Kudos, sweet things!

Trees with Heartbeats

Breathing tree with lights
As an urban forester and lover of installation art, I would be remiss to not share this installation that coincides with the Olympics in London this year.

Sometimes I think it's difficult for people to really grasp that trees are breathing, functioning beings with intricate processes that somehow come together even though these organisms do not have nervous systems or brains like humans and animals.  This is one of the ideas that drew me to study forestry in the first place, because it's so beyond my understanding no matter how long I ponder it.  I will never stop being amazed by trees and what they are capable of despite how still and static they appear, and I wish people didn't miss out so often in regards to understanding what our communities gain by having trees growing throughout them.

This installation is an educational and artistic perspective of environmental services of trees that was put in place to raise awareness about these benefits.

From RTTC:

"The ‘Breathing Trees’ display is based in Russell Square – one of they city’s best known public areas – and is intended to change a typical city park into a living, breathing organism using light and sound installations.The artwork is a collaboration between Camden Borough Council and digital art company Creatmosphere. It uses a series of multi-colour LED lights positioned within two of the square’s largest trees to visually transform the canopy into the ‘lungs’ of the city, rising and falling to the sound of breathing and a beating heart.

London’s focus on sustainability ahead of the Olympics Games has been praised by NGOs such as WWF and Bioregional.

And Councillor Phil Jones, Cabinet member for sustainability at Camden said the art would help reinforce their efforts to remind the public of how vital trees are to urban areas.

'Breathing trees in not just a visual audio spectacle…it will reinforce our message that our natural environment must be protected,' he said.

'Without protecting our wonderful natural resources we will be unable to tackle the many environmental issues in the years to come.' "

In case you're interested in what services trees do provide, check out the National Arbor Day Foundation's information about tree benefits.

Neukom Vivarium

6a00e39335dc1e88340148c6b580cf970c-800wi In one week, we will be in Seattle taking in 80 degree temperatures, great seafood and the culture of the northwest.  One of the sites I am most looking forward to visiting is the Olympic Sculpture Park, an extension of the Seattle Art Museum.  The reason behind this is Neukom Vivarium, an art installation surrounding life cycles and the decomposition process of an old growth log.  Here is a brief description of the installation by Mark Dion from the park web site:

"Neukom Vivarium is a hybrid work of sculpture, architecture, environmental education and horticulture that connects art and science. Sited at the corner of Elliott Avenue and Broad Street, it features a sixty-foot-long 'nurse log' in an eighty-foot-long custom-designed greenhouse. Set on a slab under the glass roof of the greenhouse, the log has been removed from the forest ecosystem and now inhabits an art system. Its ongoing decay and renewal represent nature as a complex system of cycles and processes. Visitors observe life forms within the log using magnifying glasses supplied in a cabinet designed by the artist. Illustrations of potential log inhabitants-bacteria, fungi, lichen, plants, and insects-decorate blue and white tiles that function as a field guide, assisting visitors' identification of 'specimens.' Neukom Vivarium is the artist's first permanent public art work in the United States."

A Pyramid and a Rock

Yes, you are looking at a knitted sculpture in the shape of a giant rock.  The piece is in fact a giant replica of a smaller rock, a fragment of one of the Pyramids at Giza taken by a young boy (the artist) on a trip with his family (he did put it back... eventually).  The backstory on this sculpture is pretty interesting, if you have a moment to read about it << here >>.

Andy Holden created this piece, in addition to some other knitted work shown below.  Can you imagine how long it took to knit all of that fabric?  That's a lot of surface area.  I'm definitely going to keep an eye on his web site, in hopes of seeing more knitted medium used in the future.