Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Loving the Redwoods to Death

Photo by Max Foster, in  Redwoods MagazineBrett Silver, California State Parks Acting Sector Superintendent, points to the base of a Titan where visitors have stripped vegetation and exposed the gigantic tree’s roots.
It's difficult to convey the redwoods' majesty and mystique in a mere children's book. Based on reviews of The Forest in the Trees, I think responses have a lot to do with whether or not readers have actually experienced them. Folks in redwood country love it--for others it's apparently just OK. Only 10% of Americans have ever seen a big redwood up close. And maybe that's for the best.

Visitors have created unofficial trails and trampled plants in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park to get to the Grove of Titans, some of the largest and oldest coast redwoods. Researchers stumbled upon the grove in 1998, and people eventually learned the location despite efforts to protect the area by keeping it secret. The network of trails is compacting the soil, exposing the root systems and creating a host of other serious problems.
"In response, Save the Redwoods League, California State Parks, the National Park Service, and Redwood Parks Conservancy have partnered to mitigate the damage and ongoing threats to the Grove of Titans, while allowing for an unforgettable experience in this magnificent grove. Work will begin in the fall of 2019 to remove unsanctioned trails and rehabilitate the damaged habitat and compacted and eroding soil. The project will also include construction of elevated walkways to and around the grove to guide visitors safely without damaging the understory, and installation of restrooms and trash receptacles along Howland Hill Road. In addition, interpretive materials and signage will tell the story of the grove’s restoration, the ecosystem’s sensitivity, and the global importance of this truly special place." - Redwoods Magazine, Spring/Summer 2019 

Monday, September 9, 2019

First signing event

Books arrived from Charleston on Wednesday, and I had a great evening signing at Eureka Books last Saturday during Eureka's (packed) Arts Alive event. The next day we drove Avenue of the Giants and over to the Rockefeller Grove in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. After all the work on the book and not seeing the redwoods for a LONG time, it was great to finally be IN the forest again.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Redwood Jewelry

When I had the idea of dressing up my electroplated redwood cones and leaves with a little beadwork, did any of my beading friends warn me it could be addictive...or cause a repetitive motion WRIST INJURY?? No, of course not. I've had to learn that the hard way. I bought 24 pendants and  have made 12 necklaces. Now I have to take two days off between each one or suffer the consequences--by which I mean doing anything with my right hand, including holding a coffee cup, causes pain. Good grief.

Expecting printed books in late August, and ramping up for  events that begin in mid-September-- feeling guilty about not working on my "next" book...or maybe painting again for a change.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

I Made A Tree

I used foam core board, spray insulation foam, redwood bark, and supplies from the railroad hobby store to make this 60-inch-tall model--a table-top prop for book shows and school presentations to give some idea of the redwoods’ immensity. At 1.5", the little people at the base are roughly to scale for a 250-foot redwood. However, many coast redwoods are over 300', and the tallest is nearly 380'.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Easter painting resurrection

Raven,  8x8" oil on panel
It has been 3 months since I finished book illustrations, 9 months since I've painted, and I've had a bigger-than-usual mental block about starting something. More than ever, I want to do something different, something less constrained, something somehow easier and less labored. Now that I've finally squeezed out paint, maybe I'll be able to keep going--at least until I get a release date and can work more effectively on marketing the book.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Author "Onesheet"

I took a break from bookmark making and spent yesterday working on my author "onesheet." Still anxiously awaiting a firm release date.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

The Bookmark Factory

Coast redwoods, the tallest trees on Earth (350+ ft.), make tiny cones, with seeds about the size of tomato seeds. I find that, like many things about the redwoods, amazing. The cones are the perfect size for attaching to bookmarks.

This week I am a bookmark factory. First on the assembly line is dipping the cones in a preservative, then gluing on  "upeye" jewelry findings.  While they dry, I am cutting out and laminating the bookmarks and waiting for some green satin cord to arrive. Sometimes mindless work is fun.