North Cascades Fungi || Part 1

Back in October, J and I visited a couple of dear friends in Seattle for a few days.  While on our trip, we drove into the North Cascades and hiked the Lake 22 trail in the Mt. Baker - Snoqualmie National Forest.  This day was really one of the highlights of my year, and I'm still feeding off of the inspiration and beauty that we beheld in the Pacific Northwest.  I know I say this a lot, but I really can't believe things like this exist.  It's mind blowing, really!  The hike up the mountain took about 3 times longer than the trek down, because of constant stops to observe and gawk (and photograph) about once every 20 feet or so.  I know it's excessive, but when the opportunity arises you just need to take these things in, you know?  Here is a sampling of the fungi I observed that day.  This will be a two part post, since it's pretty photo heavy - and there's part two to look forward to next week!  Can't wait to go back...

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.


I started to go through my photos from our trip out west and got a little overwhelmed, so here are just a few from Seattle.  Our friends that we stayed with live in Ballard, just down the street from the Locks so we took a walk down there on the first day.  I'm told that we arrived just as the rains began, so the weather varied between mist, clouds, and intermittent sunlight.  I can't say I was bothered by any of it; the landscape is so lushly green and covered with huge trees, ferns, moss and lichen that would probably not thrive were it not for that temperate climate.
This is pretty much the extent of my urban photography on the trip, as most of my photos are pretty much of the aforementioned incredible landscape, the North Cascades in particular.  One great thing about visiting in the fall is the abundance of fungi, which I must admit is the reason I became overwhelmed when starting to go through photos.  So many different types!  I would love to share them all with you.  It will take a while, but I'm going to break them up into a series of posts over the next several weeks -- small pleasures.
I hope everyone has a Happy Halloween and a lovely weekend.  More knitted fungi is coming next week!

Witch's Hair

 When we started planning our recent trip to Washington state, I knew that I wanted to take advantage of the landscape for at least one small installation.  Time was not abundant, so in the end it turned out to be pretty minimal.  After getting my lichen feet wet through collaborating with Sarah Hearn this spring, I've spent much of the summer planning out some new work that branches into lichen territory.  I love knitting fungi, but also find lichen to be extremely fascinating the more I learn about it.  And the more I observe it I find that I just can't help stopping to get up close and take in every one that I spot.  It's hard to pull away at times!
This piece was inspired by Witch's hair (a rather magnified version of witch's hair).  I wish I could have made it larger, but I do intend to continue exploring this species for a larger body of work that I've begun, so if you like it then stick around!
Just after I took my last photo, I heard a creak and glanced over to see a large snag tip and crash to the ground across the trail about 50 feet away.  No one was nearby, thankfully, but it was magnificent to see.  It's strange how an incident like witnessing a giant fall to the ground like that can make you feel so small, when it also brings you to realize that the giant itself is minuscule in comparison to the magnitude of the world.  Nature is so vast.  We are but one tiny component in this, yet we as humans feel that we control it all.  It's a nice reminder that the world keeps spinning, trees keep growing and falling and the Earth will continue to nurture everything on it until the end of time.  I feel refreshed and inspired with each moment that I spend in the wild.


 J and I just returned from a trip out west to celebrate our third anniversary - we spent about a week in the Seattle area staying with some friends, and spent a lot of time outdoors.  My friend Sharalee took these photos that I thought I would share since I have not had the chance to upload my own yet.  The middle one is a pretty typical scene on hikes with me!  I will share more soon about what caught my eye on our adventures.  There's nothing more soothing than immersing oneself into wild places.




Kansas City

Left side: images from my installation.  Right Side: images from around KC

This weekend was a great experience, and I can't wait to share some photos from my finished installation at Plug Projects.  The Plug crew was incredibly hospitable and kind, and they were great to work with.  I was blown away by the talent of the other artists in the exhibition, and feel honored to show alongside them.  Not to mention, we had a lot of fun while we were hanging out - great people!

If you are in the Kansas City area over the next 6 weeks, I encourage you to stop by the Plug Projects gallery to see all of the artwork in Rare Earth.  I will work on processing my installation images and post them on Wednesday.

Fungi of Southeastern Oklahoma

  Here are some more observations from our trip to Broken Bow, OK last month.  I also posted about the plant life a couple of weeks ago.  It feels like I haven't looked at fungi in forever, mostly because I've been working on another project which you'll find out more on soon.  I'm pretty excited about multiple things that are happening in life right now, and hopefully I can be a little less cryptic and let you in on these things in the very near future.  Until then... fungi!


Broken Bow Flora

 As I mentioned last week, J and I spent a few days down in southeastern Oklahoma last weekend (where I also did my latest installation for the Decomposition series, "Riot").  It's a beautiful time of year to visit that area -- everything was in bloom: the dogwoods, red buds, wildflowers.  Trees were just starting to leaf out.  A hint of fungus was starting to appear here and there (that's another photo post entirely).  We absolutely loved the scenery, and it was so refreshing to get away from a few days.  You don't realize how much you miss the "sound" of silence until you hear it.  There are few things I love more than the absence of urban noises - cars, voices, industrial sounds... and in its place just the low hum of the wind and a nearby stream.  So peaceful, so revitalizing.  We will definitely be back.
I took so many photos that I will have to break it up into a few posts.  The flora comes first!

Holga || Roll 1

I bought a Holga toy camera with Christmas money a couple of years back, and finally just got around to having the first roll of film I used with it developed.  I'm used to 35 mm, but the camera I bought uses 120 film.  To be honest, I wasn't sure how these were going to turn out because after a certain point the numbers do not seem to be showing up correctly as you wind through the film - it seems like I remember them starting to count backward at some point?  Anyway, it was exciting to get these images back and see the imperfections created by my well meaning ignorance of the thing, in addition to the characteristic light leaks, etc.
Most of these images are from our trip to Marfa, TX and Big Bend National Park in February 2011.  I played around with double exposure a little bit, which you can see in a couple of the beginning photos. The frames are off on the majority of these (well meaning film winding ignorance), but I think I like it.  It gives some of the photos (such as the one below) a bit of an "opposites" contrast.  The very last photo is from the condo we stayed in for our honeymoon in Costa Rica... I think I changed the film after taking that one.  Now I need to finish the current roll so I can see what kind of quirks/character the frames from that trip will have!
Do you use toy cameras?  I'm interested in trying out other kinds; let me know if you have a recommendation for what I should get next!
On another note, I miss the desert.  Looking over these REALLY makes me want to go visit south Texas again.


Sacramento By IPhone

I recently visited Sacramento for a few days to attend a conference.  In my down time, I made a point to walk around and explore the downtown area, and found a lot of beauty there.  I will post some more photos from my DSLR in a few days, but in the meantime here are some things I saw and shot with my phone camera using the Instagram app.  Sacramento is known as the "City of Trees" and they really do have some nice trees.  Make note of the blue ones below - I'm going to put together a post about that project soon as well.


Photos from Portland

There was one last location on our trip that I have yet to post photos from.  I didn't take quite as many in Portland as I did elsewhere, but I think there are still some that warrant sharing.  This is definitely my kind of town...  the nature shots are mostly from the Hoyt Arboretum.  We stayed at the Jupiter Hotel which is where the room photos came from, and the others are just some random things from around town.  The last photo isn't from Portland, but since I didn't write a post on the wedding we went to it got skipped over.  It's a great photo of Jason and I though and I wanted to share it (because that doesn't come along very often).


















Texture || Fungi of the Pacific Northwest

Yes, that is my post title.  This gets its own entry because I have so many photos of fungi from our trip last month.  As I was looking through the camera's playback in our hotel room in Portland, I told J that 20% of my photos were of trees, 15% were buildings/landmarks/other scenery, 5% were of food, 15% were from our friend's wedding, 5% were of J drinking beer, 10% were of my fiber art installations, and 30% of my photos were of some type of fungi in the woods.  So here you go, a showing of my favorites.  If you would like to see the rest, take a look at my Flickr stream. IMG_0473










Time to Go Home

Last night I slept in the mist amongst a graveyard of cedar trees, a mere 100 yards from the ocean. It smelled of burning cedar logs on the campfire and sounded like crashing waves.Earlier in the day, we ate smoked mussels and clam chowder, and then embarked on a hike into a temperate, fern covered forest to find the perfect spot for Phase I of my Decomposition fiber art installations. I can't remember the last time I felt this creatively fulfilled. (Photos to come upon our return home). The previous night: we joined with friends old and new and enjoyed great food and conversation. Even away from home we have found great community and bonded with New friends who also reside in Oklahoma. Earlier that day: wandering around Portland (lost, but we got to see a lot of it that way), visited and purchased from the kingdom of books (Powell's) and hiked at Hoyt Arboretum beneath redwoods, spruces, firs and giant sequoias. Might have snagged some spongy sequoia bark to take home... Along with some street side succulents bits that afternoon... All this since in Portland. Since I last posted we geeked out in the towns where Twin Peaks and Northern Exposure were filmed in WA. Snoqualmie (Twin Peaks) was really developed and had very little of the character left in it (what can you expect after 20 years). Roslyn, however, (Northern Exposure) is still very remote, quaint, quiet and AMAZING. We hung out in town for a bit and then headed out to the river where we pitched our tent 10 feet from the bank, shared a bottle of wine, watched a beaver swimming around and saw the most beautiful night sky. The wedding in Oregon was in and of itself a blast, and it was set in a gorgeous landscape - a meadow atop a mountain with forest all around. I had a blast seeing one of my best friends marry a beautiful, amazing woman and the reception was one of the most fun I've been to, to date. Overall, we love it here. I'm ready to see my critters at home and be in my house, but we have loved every moment of this trip. Enough blabbing now, here are some Instagram photos from the past week. Sorry again for the size and quality, I'll prepare a series of photo posts from the shots I took with my camera after we are home


Kansas City

We visited Kansas City this weekend for a friend's wedding, and I have to say the city is way more interesting (and beautiful) than I had anticipated.  I've only been there once before, which was for a soccer tournament when I was 11.  I can't remember much, and I think the tournament was in Overland Park so I doubt we actually even went into the downtown area. We had a great time exploring - the architecture is beautiful, the culture is unique and I've never felt safer walking around any City's downtown at night as I did there.  We're already looking forward to our next visit, and can hopefully spend a little more time exploring.

The last two photos are of some items I purchased from Hammerpress, an amazing letterpress and design studio.  I fell in love with the shop upon walking in, and basically squealed with glee when I found Woodcut out on display.  If you remember this post about Bryan Nash Gill's prints using tree cross sections, you understand my excitement.  Now I have my own copy of the book (happy early birthday to me!).  I can't wait to go through all of it!

Sensory Cues

It's been dry here for so long, I had almost forgotten what humidity felt like.  Last week, the heavy blanket of muggy atmosphere not only wreaked havoc on my frizz sensitive curls, it also threw me into sensory overload.  You know how sometimes a vague tip off a sensory cue will throw you back into the feeling associated with a distant memory?  Since these bouts of nostalgia tend to be associated with pleasant memories for me, I typically welcome them with open arms.  This last week of humid spring weather has placed me inside a bubble of reminiscence over our trip to Costa Rica this past December.  I finally uploaded the photos from my point and shoot digital camera yesterday and thought I would share some photos from the trip again while I wait on some stormy weather to roll in this afternoon.