The Hazel Tree Mother

The Hazel Tree Mother is inspired by varients of the Cinderella story. This series offers cultural and environmental contexts to explore symbiosis, especially in the care of offspring and loved ones during fearful times. Cinderella's loss of her mother and her subsequent adventures require her resourcefulness, imagination, devotion and persistence. The ballet by Sergei Prokofiev includes several referents to trees and forests, including the Prince's oranges. The dead mother in a Chinese variant becomes a beautiful fish whose flesh feeds and whose bones provide clothes and a secret identity for the heroine. In the Pacific northwest, scientists have identified the nourishment migratory salmon provide to mountainous forests. The heroine of the version collected by the Grimm brothers receives clothes via the hazel tree she planted in her dead mother's grave. This series is part of a larger exploration about the nature of interpersonal interactions and recent research into stress responses, specifically, the quantifiable observations that women respond in times of crisis through behaviors which involve tending and befriending.

I wanted to expand the notion of syndicalism developed by the labor movement to include the planet's environmental systems. I have used handmade papers, watercolor and collage techniques and digitally manipulated images of my own photographs and cultural artifacts. The work appears here with the support of 4Culture and is dedicated to the memory of my parents.

About the images: The Dress, The Dovecote and The Shoe

After the last bough was carefully cleaned of decorations, the prince sent the golden shoe to the shoemakers. He made his rounds, checking the orange trees twice.
Later, the prince poked his head in the shoemaker’s doorway. “Aha!” he said, “what do you think?”
They quietly grunted noncommittally and shrugged.
He then cried, “She is a botanist! I know it. She knew all about my trees, just by touching their bark. Can you help me?”
The shoemakers looked at one another, and one put his tools down, wiping his hands on his apron. In concert they said,
 “you want us to make you another to match?”

Click on the thumbnails for a larger image.