Saturday, March 6, 2010

Memories of trees...

...I have the most vivid memories of my childhood Christmas trees . I can't give you the year or my age:my memory does not work like that. But I can recall the searching through the woods of New Hope PA. & the "Motel In The Woods" where we would stay when we went to pick a tree . I remember the decorations - some made by my parents who are both artists. My dad treated Christmas trees like they were works of art-one year he did a tree entirely covered in silver tinsel. That was the one and only year a tree of ours had a strand of tinsel on it. The tree looked like a sea monster covered in silver seaweed.
In my memory it seemed like my dad always waited until Christmas eve to put up the tree. And we always left it up -sometimes for months. I can recall it being up (and decorated for) one Valentines Day. It also somehow managed to last until Easter one year.
Since "we" are products of our parents it only stands to reason that I do something very similar - our tree was "procured" on Christmas Day (in the pouring rain) and it never really got decorated this year because of it's late arrival. But I did cover it in homemade hearts come February and it technically made it into March this year:
Last weekend I cut off all of it's branches. The needles had gotten to the point where they would fall off, en masse , if -by mistake of course-a small cat toy happened to be throw at it. Imagine a raining down of needles, cats standing there covered and stunned. It was fun but it was also time for it to go. So I cut everything off late one evening and -being my parents child and an artist in my own right-I saved some of the needles in the tallest vase I could find and arranged some of the branches in another vase. I love nature and since I live in an apartment these little touches are my way of bringing the out door in.
The de-branched trunk stayed in the tree stand for the week-atop the dining room table. The artist in me pondered what to do with it each breakfast. That is what artists do-we ponder what to make of the things that come our way. At its worst-it can be a disease of sorts , leading to a unhealthy collecting of things and plans that never see fruition. At its most functional it is one's take on Robert Rauschenberg's & Joseph Cornell's fantastic assemblage/collage/boxes.
Back to memories of trees: my other strong memory is of the weekend day when my dad would finally take the tree down. He would spread out the big canvas paint clothe and haul the garbage can into the living room and turn on the radio and cut the tree apart-a lot like I did last weekend-minus the drop clothe and garbage can.
I knew I would be making more of last year's candle sticks out of this years trunk. I envisioned a forest of candle sticks grouped together on the dining room table.Late this morning I got out a plastic dry cleaning bag I had been saving and covered the kitchen floor. I sawed the trunk into sections and dug up my Uncle Peter's drill and the largest bit I could find(3/8") and got to work making holes for thin candles. The smell of the tree resin was momentarily wonderful. Sap covered my hands. It was fun and once done I assembled the sections on the table and fell in love with the look-the forest on the table top.
I realize I am the only one in the whole world who still had their tree up so this next part is pure silliness but: next year-try this with your tree. You will love it. There are no other candle sticks on the face of the earth that I would rather have and I love that they are made from Christmas trees and required so very little , resources wise. Photos to come...

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