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.