Ever since I was kid, I've had a fascination with roots and growing things. The tangled shapes of tree roots, sheltering pearlescent mushrooms and bright lichen can hold my attention longer than many things. It all started with my grandma, a sassy country woman with more energy than ten kids. One evening, while we were walking back from the lake, I spotted a tree with great big bulbous growth protruding from its side, as large as a watermelon. I asked my grandma what caused it and she took a moment, studying the shape, then said, 'Why that tree's gonna have babies! There are little babies in that bulge, waiting to pop out and find a nice place of its own, then grow into something purdy'. I believed her. I imagined what the babies would look like, probably like cute potatoes, all fat and sweet faced. Maybe pale green, with tiny leaf buds and smelling of earth and dew.
Decades later, I'm still facinated by that image. Now, I realize my grandma probably had no idea what made the huge bulge in the tree, but rather than give us a short answer, she told us a tale that had us speculating for years. Later, when I told my dad (a guy that frequently named trees by their Latin name) what was in tree knots, he just smiled and asked if learned that from grandma. I guess he heard that story too.
It's interesting to me as an adult, what ideas have contributed to my visual vocabulary as an artist. There are things that I loved as a child, that I still love, but with more informed eyes, I suppose. It leads me to questions of what I'll be making in the next twenty years, of what stories my children will keep and what they'll discard.