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I made this paper tree full of birds as a housewarming gift for dear friends who just moved in-state. Something appealed to me about using vintage maps to welcome them, and the colors seemed a good fit for their charming 1920s home. I am often drawn to using books and text in my artwork, a natural tendency I suppose for an English major and bibliophile. I’m among the few shoppers for used books who entirely bypass consideration of subject matter in favor of pretty fonts. :)


Making the little birds required some patience, but I don’t mind that at all. Whether in the kitchen or the studio, I find great therapeutic value in hours spent on methodical, detailed tasks. It gives me the opportunity to put all my energy into accomplishing one single thing well. That kind of focus is an increasingly rare occurrence among my other daily responsibilities, and I find I need the balance provided by those deliberate, harnessed moments; they result in a beauty of their own, no matter what I create.


One of the housewarming tree’s layers of texture comes from cashmere wool the color of linen (also the color of book pages). I finished the tree off with a curled paper nest at its base. It probably says more about me than I care to admit that the little paper nest didn’t get added until three weeks after I originally gave the tree away. I planned to put it on there all along, but my life seldom divides neatly into “before” and “after,” so why should my artwork? I kind of like the potential in that.