Ghost Trees Project

29 3Arts supporters
$1,911 raised of $1,800 goal
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Funded on February 23, 2015
    • 106% contributed

For as long as I can remember, I have drawn inspiration from the beauty and magnificence of the natural world. With my Ghost Trees project, I have an opportunity to make and exhibit a series of new ceramic, sculptural, and photographic works that poetically explore the magnificence and regenerative cycles of old-growth forests. As an artist, much of my work combines decorative elements as well as social and political issues. For this project, I will be working on a larger scale to explore the tension between our simultaneous appreciation and destruction of these environments. Your support will help me realize my ambitious vision for Ghost Trees, which invites viewers to have a deeper understanding of trees as entities that possess value, whether alive or transformed through reclamation.

About This Project

This Spring, I will participate in a group exhibition called “Footprints Through Time: Artists Inspired by History” that will open at the Illinois State Museum on March 6, 2015. As one of the exhibiting artists, I have been given an entire room in which to display a new installation of work on a unified theme. I have chosen Ghost Trees as a way to reflect on the beauty and value of old-growth trees, as well as on their cyclical and historical layers of life and death. This is how the forest naturally sustains itself and regenerates. I also want to reflect on a tree’s sacrifice and transformation through lumbering to produce shelter. I recently discovered that much of the woodwork in my own home is made of clear pine, which is from an old-growth forest. I believe that the tension between our appreciation of trees and the destruction of them in order to sustain our existence is a difficult balance. How do we develop a sound and sustainable way of thinking and acting that reconciles these conflicting concerns?

A DCASE grant initially helped provide funds for this project. I created a series of small porcelain ceramic trees, which I brought to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan’s Sylvania Wilderness area, a place I have often hiked and camped. I took stereoscopic photographs of these trees to capture the depth and magic of the northern woods at various sites throughout this preserved virgin forest, which is one of few such tracts left in the Midwest. My idea was to return the spirit of my home’s woodwork back to its original and natural setting. I read that most old-growth forests in the Upper Midwest were logged to virtual extinction in a mere 20-year period in the 19th century.

My new work in Ghost Trees will feature a series of unglazed porcelain trees, sawdust-fired roots and branches, a large ceramic-made tree stump, and a series of photographs of “ghost trees” in the forest. I will also create a mixed-media sculptural installation using reclaimed flooring and other old-growth wood obtained from architectural salvagers as well as my own collection. Funds from this campaign will enable me to purchase materials for the new work, as well as hire a professional carpenter who will help me install the flooring and distressed woodwork to fully complement the installation.

With your help, I will be able to create this new work, as well as enhance the viewer’s experience and understanding of my artistic intention. My hope is that Ghost Trees will open more people’s eyes to the vanishing primeval woods and the need for sustainable practices. By exploring this relationship, this new work signifies a shift toward more personal and poetic concerns, but of course, the personal is still political. 

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $10
    Public thank-you on my Facebook page ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $25
    Mini "Ghost Trees" photographic print (3 ¼ in x 2 ¼ in) ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $50
    Small "Ghost Trees" photographic print (5 in x 7 in) ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $100
    One stereoscopic photograph print from "Ghost Trees" (8.5 in x 11 in) plus lorgnette (stereoscopic viewer) ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $350
    One stereoscopic photograph print from "Ghost Trees" (8.5 in x 11 in) plus lorgnette (stereoscopic viewer), and a personal guided tour of the exhibition ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $750
    Handmade porcelain lidded box with one stereoscopic photograph from "Ghost Trees" (8.5 in x 11 in) plus lorgnette (stereoscopic viewer) ($0.00 is tax deductible.)

Marjorie Woodruff

Marjorie Woodruff is a Chicago-based artist and teacher.  Her work aims to confront viewers with unsettling content while playing with the notions of traditional decorative or craft forms, in order to construct visually appealing objects that may portray difficult, timely …

View Marjorie Woodruff's profile
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    • Thank you to the following for contributing to 3Arts with the recommendation that we support this project.

    • Donald Sprague

    • Lester Arguelles

    • Corinne D Peterson

    • deb mach

    • Michael Thomas

    • Danny Mansmith

    • Rebecca Wolfram

    • Julie Pitzen

    • J Matyjasik

    • Rosalie Shirley Guay Koldan

    • roberta ulrich-deoliveira

    • Susan Messer McBride

    • Bob Hercules

    • Pamela Johnson-Howe

    • phil schuster

    • Anthony Squillante

    • Laurie Shaman

    • Kristin Forister

    • Christine Perri

    • Jane Stevens

    • matthew forister

    • Alexis Ortiz

    • Kapra Fleming

    • Elizabeth Patterson

    • Maureen DuffyDaugavietis

    • Ranald Stearns

    • Kate Grossman

    • Mark Beasley

    • Ines Sommer

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3AP Presenting Partner:

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 Additional support provided by: 

Department of Cultural Affairs logo  Illinois Arts Council