This series began with The Master Tree, a work centered on Songham Taekwondo practice taught by the American Taekwondo Association (ATA). That work was a joint project with my husband, Patrick Hunter, created to honor our teacher, Master Russ Duer, when he achieved mastership within ATA. While much of the original work was about expressing the values and symbolism of Songham taekwondo, the essence of this series is rooted far deeper in my personal life experience.
Trees have had a place in my life and my art since I can remember. Through my awkward adolescent years, when my remarkably poor drawing skills caused me considerable anguish, my private sketch book was all about nature. Leaves and deciduous tree forms were the sole shapes I could get to turn out how I wanted. The trees who lived in my yard as a child and later in various places along my path have been some of my best friends. I think it was my fast connection to these wise creatures that gave my drawing a boost. To this day, my sketching and drawing skills are remarkably poor, except where trees are concerned.
In Songham Taekwondo, Rocks symbolize the strong, grounded, centered connection a martial artist must have to the Earth as well as the challenges of the warrior’s path. Like a tree growing on a mountainside, students of taekwondo, much like students of life, become stronger when we connect deeply to the Earth. Through out my life, rocks have offered me that connection. Their energies have flowed through my veins, given me guidance when I’ve felt lost, and protected me when I’ve most needed the proverbial thick skin so many artists and sensitive folk are coached to develop to function in our culture.
In my Tree and Rock series, I’m exploring how Trees and Rocks express my own development. The core fabrics I used for The Master Tree are the foundation for the series palette. The core techniques I draw on are a combination of machine and handwork ranging from machine to hand piecing, machine and hand appliqué, fusible appliqué, and a variety of surface work such as painting, embroidery, and sketching. Each piece is drawn from meditation, journey work, and dream work, requested and honored as it arrives, and manifested with deliberation at the pace that unfolds.