Wisconsin artists give nod to diseased ashes by turning those trees into art

Simple boards, puzzles and panels can be fashioned from these trees. (Photo by Jerry Davis)

Recently a group of 14 artists (there must be a word for such an assemblage) paid homage to ash trees by crafting an exhibit using trees cut from Madison and nearby municipalities.

The trees had fallen victim to emerald ash borer disease.

The exhibit will be on display in Madison’s Overture Center until Oct. 27.

Too many famous trees end up in a city dump, firewood pile, or are simply left to decompose without any recognition or reminders of their “accomplishments” or happenings during their time.

There are numerous ways trees can be remembered, somewhat like a mounted fish or other taxidermy crafts are.

Small wood objects could be crafted, entire houses floored with the lumber, or a piece or two installed in a school gymnasium basketball court.  A list seems endless.

Some of these mementos could raise money for replacements, but most are probably best not commercialized.

Sometimes these remembrances would be a farmer’s gatepost on a lane.  Other times a bench could be used as a deer stand, or wood pen barrels could be handed out at a future event.

The wood’s suitability may dictate the crafted item.  Maybe, instead of going out of business, a pen company could find a new way to stay profitable.

A famous cottonwood tree’s disease burl in Cross Plains was crafted into a large fish and that piece hangs in the public library with necessary signage for future generations.

These events take forethought, people’s involvement, and appreciation of history, remembrance, and caring about nature.

Categories: Wisconsin – Jerry Davis

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