Remembering Our Ancestors

“Some people see scars, and it is wounding they remember. To me they are proof of the fact that there is healing.” – Linda Hogan

Bridgette Guerzon Mills | Remembering Our Ancestors, encaustic mixed media, 6×12 inches, available at Cappaert Contemporary Gallery

We could learn so much from our ancestors- human and non-human. In this time of climate change, I wish so much that the lessons were more evident and that we would actually listen and take heed.

This is a piece that I recently finished and framed. The wood that I used is a special wood, American Wormy Chestnut, that is not a commonly found wood. Once upon a time the Chestnut tree was dominant in the northeast United States and was used by the early settlers extensively. In the 1900s a fungus spread through the forest and destroyed many of the mature Chestnut trees. The weakened trees then became home to an insect that bore holes into the wood. Many of these trees were then felled to stop the spread of the disease and then milled into lumber for barns and fences and can be identified by the holes, as seen above.

I was gifted these pieces of Wormy Chestnut from a local woodworker who said that he loved how I put salvaged wood into my artwork and that he hoped I’d find a new home for these pieces.

Can we find healing in looking at the old with new eyes, by seeing worth in what was deemed unworthy? By cherishing things that happen naturally and slowly, rather than mass produced? These are things I think about often. I hope we can heal what we have destroyed.

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