Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Snow spiral on maple
I have been working a lot indoors this past week. Creating plans and structures for the Vermont Flower show that is coming up on March 6-8. But the week before we had some gentle snows and I decided to finish a sculpture I had started last fall.
Remembering how a windless snowfall can stick to the smallest of branches, I took a single weeping willow branch and wound it around till it formed a pleasing spiral form. I had to do this in an indirect way by pinning the branch to my mossy lawn with small twigs till I had the shape I liked. Then I carefully used thread to apply tension and counter tension till the shape held in place when I picked it up. It looked a bit like a spiders web at that point. Then I set the whole thing aside in a dark, dry closet in the basement so it could dry out holding this shape.
After several months, I removed the thread and the dried willow branch was now holding the spiral all on it's own. Now I just had to wait for the right snowstorm... which we had last week.
I put the spiral out and misted it lightly. It cooled quickly and a fine layer of ice formed on the spiral... now it was ready to receive the snow. I set the spiral against one of the two largest Maple trees on the property. "The Grandmothers" I call these trees... they must be over 250 years old. I crossed my fingers and went to sleep.
The next morning was grey and gloomy but there was about 2 inches of fresh snow. It was very cold and dry so the flakes were particularly large and frosty looking. I snapped a few photos just as the wind was beginning to pick up. Soon all the snow was falling off the branches from above and knocked several bits off the spiral (and down my neck !).
So something that was imagined in November finally takes form in January. It was a good week... and yes, I do realize the double meaning. Cheers!