River Wisp





After some larger pieces, it was a delight to scale down for River Wisp, another of the Spiritus Naturalis series.

Cool, watery elements flow through vegetative greens and warm earth hues.

A symphony of undulations evoke the motions of currents, waves and eddies.


28" high

Seaside Walkabout Leafipede







When I go deeply enough into a series, it often ends up spawning sub-series. And so it is that the Leafipedes have formed a family of their own within the Spiritus Naturalis collection.


While it has this double-belonging, Seaside Walkabout also stands apart in that it’s the first in this body of work to be sculptural furniture. It’s a table, unlike its siblings here and here, for both of which I purposefully tilted the leaf form and preoccupied it with other elements, making them decidedly not-tables.  

What caused the the shift? The Orcas Island Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center, amid a renovation of their office, requesting something lovelier than the stodgy old counter.


This being an island, and the shoreline steps away, it was natural to give it an oceanic gist. The cedar floating leaf top with its cool, speckled fiber surface suggests shallow water lapping up on a shore. The underside is a warmer sand tone, like a beach below the tide.  










The madrona branch legs with their bulbous tops remind me of bull whip kelp. The bands of color shift cooler, as if they’re descending into the depths. A brass mesh veil hangs below, like a keel sailing through kelp.


Seaside Walkabout is 60" long, 36" high.

Meandering Stream Leafipede





The Spiritus Naturalis series has spawned yet another Leafipede.

Meandering Stream Leafipede wanders the countryside, its legs morphed into stepping stones across its varied blue surface.

The watery cools percolate down into bright and warm earther tones toward the base.

31" high x 41" wide

Tidepool Waven






Making this piece reminded me of how much I love creating things that, despite their actual stillness, refuse to remain so in human perception. 



I love the flocks of choices in arranging and rearranging materials toward gestural aliveness. Beyond the roughing-in and refining of the flow of the form, I work with paper banding on the surfaces to set up sequences of color and density, adding a pulsing quality.




Tidepool Waven is both a crustaceous form and the waves coursing through it. This piece feels like a sibling of Surf Sylph.

29"H x 42"L x 16"D

Garden Seed Usher







At 6 feet, Garden Seed Usher is the tallest of the floor pieces yet in the Spiritus Naturalis series. It stands between earth and sky, conjuring and guiding seeds into the ground.

Its upper reaches are cool blues and whites with flecks of yellow sun.


The lower middle is a whirl of seeds of increasing size making their way earthward. The colors overall suggest a wild, vivid garden already in bloom. Or perhaps the garden to be?









It roots are brown tones, immersed in earth, completing the spectrum from sky to earth.

Spiritus Naturalis series: Winter Sky Leafelope












Winter Sky Leafelope is the second piece in the Spiritus Naturalis series with a floating, leaf-shaped landscape.  

Here the plane evokes sky with a pair of leaves comprised of numerous leaf-shaped clouds. Besides its antelope-like stance, there's an antler piercing the clouds, fading to lighter, bonier tones. 




The legs are of earthier, richer colors, with watery tendrils coursing through, cycling the sense of movement back up into the tree-like antler.

Spiritus Naturalis series: Cloud Garden Leafipede






This is Cloud Garden Leafipede, the first of the Spiritus Naturalis series to embody a landscape floating in midair.


All of the earlier pieces in this series have tendrils intertwining with madrona branch forms, but in this one the tendrils are separate, ending in leaf-like clouds that cast shadows on the mobile garden/leaf plane.






Cloud Garden Leafipede is 42"L x 26"H


A backlit 4' x 4' sheet of paper drying

I'd begun mentioning to folks that I was looking for some Madrona branches when a buddy said he'd seen some in a place accessible only by boat. He also had a boat with a small motor and a dinghy to tow behind. We ventured out to the nearest landing, where the motor promptly failed. Fortunately, he'd brought oars, and I got to feel with every row on the 3-mile round trip how much I wanted this exquisite stockpile.


The new work also needed a fresh supply of paper: almost tissue-paper thin, with lots of chromatic variation within each piece. I've been gathering visual impressions of nature since I was a kid.



Materials, tools, and a happy place to work...my idea of heaven on earth.

Walk in the Wild

Sometimes earlier phases, places and objects intersect with the present, as if a journey has come full round—though not as much in a circle as a spiral, like a comet passing near enough to see, yet offset by the gravitational pull of time and change.

Late last year I let go of a piece I’d created while in grad school in 1999. I’d loved this family of standing branches across two decades, numerous moves, and bouts of living overseas.

It was an artwork that readily came to mind when I recalled from time to time one of the professors saying that the program was really about getting down to the deeper roots of our work, and that if we were successful, it would open up avenues of exploration we could draw from for the rest of our lives.

Familial (1999)
There was an ideal space for it in a gorgeous home here on Orcas Island. That, and knowing I could visit, eased the decision to release it. Getting Familial ready for delivery and installing it reawakened the 20-year old interest in sculpting free-standing branch forms. I found myself with not only all those years of creative exploration and experience with which to refresh the approach, but the most gorgeous Madrona branches within reach.

I’d planned to open up some of my processes and techniques in a sabbatical over the winter, so the prospect of playing out at last a long-fallow direction with so much more experience, and in ultra fresh ways was tantalizing indeed.
One big shift has been in thinking anew about the surfaces. When I made Familial, I was emerging from a focus on making furniture finished with deep layers of natural oil and earth pigment glazes.

Another interest at the time was paper-making, so all these years later, it’s been immensely satisfying to turn to it as well for a kind of skin on the emerging branch forms. I've made vibrant, multi-colored flax fiber paper, similar to what I was making for the  Lumenpear and SkyHull series. 

With this new, as-yet-unnamed series, I’m envisioning these human-scale branch forms having a range of relationships with light: being a continuation of the work in light-emitting sculpture, or perhaps simply reveling in whatever light falls upon or passes through parts of them, depending on what each piece calls for. 
Update: The series that spilled out of this work is here.

At the outset, I intended for this first one to be simply a branch form like a single one of the elements in Familial. Yet the space between its legs evoked a skirt-like form responding to their motion, adding to the sense of the piece being alive, frolicking in the sensuality of nature.
The “wild” aspect of its name refers to its not just walking in untamed nature, but being it: as if nature is dancing in itself. Where one would anticipate a head, there’s a crescent moon, as if the dreamy feminine is at the helm.
Walk in the Wild is about 6' tall.

Radiant color and curves: Lumenpear, Skyhull, and Seedpod series (2016)

Lumenpear series: Aspearsa

The studio work has been focused on tranluscent pears, boats and seeds. There's a blog dedicated to the unfolding of these series here. Some snapshots:

Pears and I go way back creatively, but now I get to mate them with all sorts of imaginings with the Lumenpear series. Perhaps one meets a snail in a garden...

Skyhull series: Slipperfin

A model rowboat hung from the studio ceiling for a while, during which time I proceeded to fall in love with hulls floating in air. The first of the Skyhull series combined a fanciful boat form with a surface that remembers its watery ways. 

Seedpod series: Waters of Mothers

Seedpod evolved from an earlier painted series that merged a seed form with abstract landscapes. Fertile ground here, starting with a translucent rebirth of a pregnant belly and its placental waters.