Meditations on the Breath of Trees
Several years ago, the way I viewed trees changed dramatically. I was at a lecture on deforestation, when the speaker provided this dramatic statistic: “A mature tree processes approximately 300 gallons of water a day.” It occurred to me that a tree is more than an aerial reach of branches and terrestrial dive of roots. A tree is an object of breath. What we cannot see around a tree is a great plume of water vapor. At the time, I was working with inks composed of carbon derived from burning the heartwood of pine trees. I saw a dramatic material link: the living tree produces a plume of water; being burned, the tree produces a plume of carbon. I decided to see if I could use this carbon from the tree to articulate the breath of trees—to render the invisible visible.
Read Terry Toedtemeier's essay on this series here.