In 2014, I did an installation of over 300 blood-red dyed willow branches in a tree along the Yahara River in Madison, WI. The blood red of the willow stood in contrast against the verdant, early summer foliage of the tree. It represented both an unspoiled and historically tarnished landscape, a modern interpretation of the fatal genocidal Black Hawk Wars of 1832.

This tragic event led to the ‘birth’ of our nation.

“BLACK HAWK YAHARA: a river of tears” was the first installation I did with willow. I’m harvesting willow again for a project in September with UW-Milwaukee. There’s a sort of beautiful, sad irony about using these willow trees, and harvesting them from a place like a golf course. It’s a beautiful material to work with, and an invasive and unnatural thing to have in our environment.

“BLACK HAWK YAHARA: a river of tears” was funded by a Madison Arts Commission BLINK grant. You can view more images of this project in my portfolio.