This installation by Suzanne Tidwell has departed from the park across the street from 4Culture’s office. I miss the tree sweaters. They brightened up the joint, and during this long winter in the Northwest we’ve needed a bit of brightening. The project has crossed the lake to Redmond for the spring season, where I look forward to seeing its new digs.
I’ve been thinking about the tree sweaters a lot this past week as we get press out, muster volunteers and begin the installation for Konstantin Dimopoulos’s The Blue Trees project. Like Tidwell’s tree sweaters The Blue Trees have worn their color in multiple locations. The ultramarine blue pigment lends a startling presence to the landscape, fading away over time. People have opinions. They’ve been coming in for days. Whatever else the response indicates (concern, outrage, interest, excitement) I am convinced its strength and persistence stems from how much trees mean to humans, how we form emotional attachments and chart our year by their buds, flowers, crown and leaf fall.
When I had a bad patch as a girl I used to climb the maple in our front yard and sit in a comfortable Y listening to the leaves rustle and watching the cars go by. Across the street, which sloped down toward the houses below and Berkeley in the distance, very old live oaks had branches that were made for kids to scramble onto and bounce upon. We solved a lot of problems on those branches, too.
We take trees personally, and we should. Both projects mean to create conversation and to celebrate the participating groves. When the tree sweaters first went up, in Occidental Square, there was a similar grumbling, but a great affection grew for them over time. I like to think the shoes pictured at the foot of the tree in the post were left as an offering. Did you notice? The laces are ultramarine.