Burning Light Series
Light Sculptures created out of wood from the California Forest Fires.
"What is to give light must endure burning"
The story of the expanding fires in California is complex and multi-faceted. The world is heating up, increasing droughts and extreme weather events. Ecosystems that once had regular cycles of burn and regeneration have been disrupted for the past 100 years by policies s that devoted incredible resources to extinguishing all fires. In this time fuel loads have grown, and human populations have expanded into wildland areas. Now we are left with few choices. We have to fight fires to protect people and property, but every year they grow worse.
As a result of both local and global human impacts, natural disasters are increasing every year.
By making art around this subject I hope to inspire people to look closely at the world and their own behaviors. I believe that by recognizing and ameliorating our negative influence, we can leave a better world for our children.
This series began in 2016 after I collected wood from the aftermath of the Sand Fire in Santa Clarita.
Driving to work, I was struck by a sudden transformation of the land. Like passing through the gates of hell, in an instant the earth was black and my mind could not register the change. The fire had passed through a week earlier, leaving a senseless path of destruction. A loan tree stood green, while all around looked flattened by an ashen foot.
I pulled over and stared transfixed.
Forgetting my work, I walked away from the road, feet lightly breaking through the surface like treading dark snow.
Something pulled me to pick up a few pieces and carry them back to the car.
They lay like bodies in my living room for two weeks as I meditated, questioning what was I thinking bringing these home?
Then it came to me: cut and carve the wood to preserve the charcoal, and bring out the light within.
After years of working with this wood, I keep being surprised by the way the light wants to come out.
And I keep being surprised by the reactions to the pieces.
This work has become a source of hope.
We can keep moving after everything is lost. We can support each other through our weakness. We can find light in the dark.
- CBS News Feature: