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birch bark


 A friend approached me with an interesting concept for her wedding guest book.  She was planning a small wedding in Lake Tahoe with a theme of rustic elegance.  Since she liked PodArt, she envisioned one of my organic wall hangings as a permanent reminder of her and her husband's special day.  Excited about the uniqueness of her idea, I immediately began planning its layout:

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am an avid recycler and user of repurposed things.  For the backing, instead of a pallet, I used a small redwood cabinet door.  I experimented with several different elements (cork, rice paper, etc,) as writing surfaces for the guests' signatures, but the reverse side of birch bark was my final choice.     

As you see in the above photos, I used foraged lichen covered bark and branches, pinecones collected my grandchildren and a sprinkling of star anise.  The latter is one of my favorite pods since it retains its scent for a long, long time.  I also inserted a beautiful yellow chunk of amber (2nd photo from the left) as a personal wish for longevity and good health.  This piece was truly a labor of love and, naturally, became my gift to the couple.  After the wedding, the bride texted me with the shot below:

Thank you, M.G.S., for the opportunity to make your special day even more memorable.

Birch Bark & Lotus Pods


This was my second PodArt creation and my son's favorite.  One of the predominant natural materials featured in this piece was the lotus pod which also became the emblem for the website.  The sketch of the pod was actually drawn in ink by my mother, who is an artist in her own right (I will share her work with you in the future).  A little background on the Lotus plant:  it is an aquatic perennial and, under favorable circumstances, its seeds may remain viable for many years.  The oldest recorded lotus germination being from that of seeds 1,300 years old recovered from a dry lake bed in northeastern China.  This particular piece consists of birch bark, moss covered twigs, lichen, lavender buds, silver beads, peridot and, of course, lotus pods.  It's a graduation/layering of gray, green and blue hues. 

I'm often asked what I use as backing for my art.  Thus far, I've been [mostly] working with pallets originally used to dry grapes by California vintners.  They are relatively light in weight and I love their rusticity.  They can be purchased at the San Francisco Flower Mart.  However, as a good forager and acclaimed scavenger and recycler, I will utilize pretty much anything that can be repurposed.  Another frequently asked question by  people who have purchased my pieces is:  "How do I clean/dust it?"  Easy.  Use a hairdryer at its lowest setting.  Some buyers opt to frame the art under glass or encase it in plexiglass.  

As far as this piece goes, I'm not quite sure whether it was because it's Alex's favorite or whether it was because the moss withered, I reached the tentative decision to keep this piece.  It currently hangs in my study and I get to stare at it whenever I'm on my trusty Mac. One interesting fact about moss covered bark and twigs, if they're misted from time to time, they will retain their verdure.  This is valuable insider information for all you prospective buyers.

Sure hope there's a lot of you out there.  Chuckle.