I have a very large White Ash tree in the center of my backyard that is dying from Emerald Ash Borers. The diminishing leaves and shade and impending loss of this once majestic tree has been a source of great sadness and loss for me. For more than 20 years, I have followed the shade of this beautiful tree daily as it rotated like a giant sundial across my yard; sitting in its shade to eat and read, working under the tall protective canopy to plant and tend to my gardens and bird feeders.
Our Ash tree is so large that you can see it above the roofs from a block away. The diameter of the trunk so big it takes 2 adults to reach their arms around it. The whole of my backyard sanctuary will be changed, is already changed by this tiny import, the Emerald Ash Borer. I have always been fascinated by insects; observed them, made pets of them, used them in my art and design work. We have this huge tree being so dramatically affected, yet I have only ever seen 1 borer.
I wanted to make art about my tree, my loss. I have thought and sketched, but the playful scenes of insects I usually envision just didn’t work. Then a few weeks ago I parked my car in a favorite shady spot on campus and I noticed White Ash seeds laying in beautiful patterns on the lot and sidewalk.
I hadn’t before realized that there were female Ash trees there. These trees were starting to show signs of borers too. I was captivated by the way the seeds lay like fringe or fur upon the ground. I thought they were as precious and beautiful as beads. I knew then the art I would make.
Using a plastic bag from my car, I gathered up a bag full of seeds, took them home and began to experiment with how I would work with them.
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©2012 Alice Frenz