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More than Beautiful

April 27, 2015


On May 3, 1891, my great grandfather wrote to his bride-to-be about some of the things he encountered while working in the forests of Washington State. He was the assistant geologist for the mining bureau. I’m not certain how they met, but he sent letters often via train back to Puyallup or Tacoma, wherever my g-grandmother happened to be. He was living in a camp near or in Carbonado, WA, on the flanks of Mt. Ranier. I’ve been looking back through his letters in search of a particular passage where he talks about walking through the pristine forests. “The scouting trip yesterday was more than beautiful, through virgin forests never polluted by the hand of man, carpeted with soft moss as far as the eye could reach. The immense trees rising in their majestic grandeur to the height of several hundred feet as straight as an arrow, not a branch for over a hundred feet from the ground.” Almost 124 years ago…. and a sight you’ll probably never encounter.

During my father’s childhood in Eugene Oregon (1930’s), he talked about a particular section of river that he and his brothers would camp along. He too would talk about the moss-covered logs, ground covered with sword ferns and all the ancient trees. Now, that particular area is totally underwater thanks to one of many dams.

As I work through the beginning part of the forest rot project, I want to feel a connection back to my g-grandfather’s experience: walking through the woods, encountering sights never seen by the encroaching population. I want to incorporate a portion of him into this project, even though he was a horrible man who eventually left my g-grandmother and child. I’m planning on cutting out the full quote, but not necessarily in one full run. Possibly short sections that are placed through the mixture of other cut paper. But time will tell if it really becomes part of the project. One thing I’ve determined, cutting words is very difficult on the hands.

Size: 12″ x 2″ (30.4cm x 5cm), 300gm watercolor paper.


12 Comments leave one →
  1. Kim permalink
    April 27, 2015 8:25 pm

    The writing you cut out is very beautiful!

  2. April 28, 2015 12:03 am

    nice work! pamper the hands!! thanks for sharing

    • paperstew permalink*
      April 28, 2015 6:19 am

      Little to no cutting scheduled for today. I’ll torture them with yard work instead. 😄

  3. April 28, 2015 12:55 am

    This is so wonderful. Intriguing. And uses paper. Tell me about the paper. You know I have an obsession 😀

    • paperstew permalink*
      April 28, 2015 6:13 am

      You’re so funny! The paper is Arches CP 300gm watercolor. Slightly textured, pretty stiff, and a leftover from my fathers stash. The bad thing is that I’m almost out of it so I’ll need to decide if it’s worth getting more or to try something else 😀

  4. Katheryn Byram permalink
    April 28, 2015 5:44 am

    Not fair to have such talented hands with pain.

    • paperstew permalink*
      April 28, 2015 6:17 am

      I question the talented portion because I constantly feel like I’m flubbing up everything. Nothing ever quite matches what’s happening inside my brain. Time will tell with this project. I’m looking forward for a nice trip or two out to the ancient forests!
      The pain portion is certainly better than a year ago. 😀

  5. April 28, 2015 2:38 pm

    Just beautiful Gale, what a magical quote and the way you have used it is lovely. I tried cutting letters once and know how hard it is. Even snippets will enhance your project. Karen

    • paperstew permalink*
      April 28, 2015 6:33 pm

      Thanks Karen. This project is starting to take some interesting turns. Not certain if it will help or harm my chances of getting accepted. I agree, it is a lovely quote.
      Sections of letters is totally possible. 😃

  6. April 29, 2015 4:06 am

    What an interesting project Gale. I love your cut type. Don’t doubt yourself, it’s beautiful and if you feel its not quite perfect just know thats what makes it even more special. No need to remove the “humanity” in creative, that makes it unique and real. I love that you have all this old family history, thats really interesting too!

    • paperstew permalink*
      April 30, 2015 2:10 pm

      Thanks Cathe. I’m looking forward to this project progressing forward. It will still have to be juried into the show, so it isn’t a sure thing. If it doesn’t make it, I’ll probably sell the individual works off during the Open Studio weekends in October. 🙂

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