This is the second of five installments about my artistic journey I like to call, “The Numbers.” (To read Part 1, please click here.)
I’m really happy how this project is turning out. Taking time to make each hike’s number using materials found on the hike has caused me to concentrate more on looking at my surroundings as I hike. I try to select a material that 1) is abundant and 2) won’t affect the ecology or aesthetics of the area. I love nature, but I don’t want to love it to death. If I’m using living flora, I prune the plant and not pick it outright. Here’s a few stories of the behind-the-scenes of numbers 11-20.
Hike #11 – Shevlin Park, Bend, OR – I found a patch of snowberries (Symphoricarpos) early on this hike. The berries are a food source for land fowl (grouse, quail, pheasants, etc.) but poisonous to humans. A hiker saw me gathering the berries and was concerned I was going to bring them home and make jelly or something. I’m not sure he believed me when I told him my intentions.
Hike #14 – Stough Canyon Nature Center Trail – Burbank, CA – I was invited to Southern California for the screening of a documentary I worked on, Mile… Mile & a Half. While there, I took a stroll in the Verdugo Mountains with producer Ric Serena. XXX grew in abundance along the trail, so it seemed the best choice to use. I love it when my hiking friends get involved in making The Number.
Hike #15 – Mishe Mokwa Trail to Sandstone Peak – Malibu, CA – Two friends helped collect and construct Number Fifteen near the summit of Sandstone Peak in the Santa Monica Mountains. Here we used Redshanks (Adenostoma sparsifolium), a common tree/shrub native to Southern California. The backdrop of the number is a type of igneous rock found in abundance around Sandstone Peak which, surprisingly, isn’t sandstone.
Hike #16 – East Metolius River Trail – Sisters, OR – My friend and I used moss that had fallen from the trees to make Number Sixteen. I thought the unique jigsaw puzzle quality of a fallen Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) made for a good backdrop, but the needle-covered slope the fallen tree rested made this number difficult to make. I slipped a few times. In this photo, my friend makes it look so easy.
Hike #18 -Porcupine Snowshoe Loop – Bend, OR – The first snowshoeing outing of the season, my friend and I used green and brown pine needles to make Number Eighteen. Aesthetically, I dislike this number. I felt rushed in the cold and wet Deschutes National Forest. In hindsight, I could have made it look a lot better. However, it is what it is. What I like most about this number is that my good friend helped make it. When I look at it, I’m reminded of the great time I had on the 4-mile snowshoe trek. The hike was especially memorable because this was the last hike I went on with my good friend before she moved to Montana.
Hike #19 – The Ale Trail of Bend, OR – This was an unusual hike, but one I had hoped to do on this project. In Bend, only about eight miles separate a dozen breweries. Most people drive to each of them, but, if you plan it right, you can visit all of them on foot in a day. For my birthday, a few friends took up the challenge and we visited thirteen locations, hiking a total of 8.5 miles. Along the way, I gathered bottle caps, coasters, and stickers to make Number Nineteen.
Hike #20 – Flatiron Trail – Oregon Badlands Wilderness – The big TWO-OH! Early on the hike, I passed a Juniper tree that had green, orange, and yellow needles and immediately imagined this reggae-esque design.
If you would like to own a limited edition print of The First Twenty, check out my Etsy store.
I’m excited to make the next 80 numbers. If you’d like to see behind-the-scenes of the first ten, click here.