The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life - Raku Pottery Sculpture

The tree of life is prevalent in the mythologies of the world. It is considered to be a symbol of creation and interconnectedness. Common roots of our world family can be found in this concept, and not just in some far off ancient texts.

For my first solo art exhibition, ‘Myth of Family’, I created a sculptural piece honouring this mystical tree.

Raku Sculpture - Tree of Life
Raku Sculpture – Tree of Life Currently on exhibit at the Oxford Riverside Gallery

It is a theme I like to explore in my work. Some of my readers may recall a previous work I did by this name, which is now one of the windows in my studio.

The world needs trees. It is a delicate balance of interconnected organisms on a scale that I feel is beyond our imagining. Living beings on this planet, including microbes and plants work together in unexpected ways.

Perhaps people are not unlike this too. Why would we be an exception? I do believe we are all interconnected in ways we can not understand. The choices I make here may have a ripple effect, more prominently on those closest, but ripples can reach out far and wide.

Beyond the ancient texts, scientists have discovered just how much trees contribute to life on this planet. Collectively, we as a species have not done well by trees. Large forest groves not only sequester carbon, but also help maintain biodiversity. Trees have a huge implication on the microbial communities in soil and have a profound impact on water/moisture levels. This impacts on our food supply.

Right now we are losing more trees than are being planted all over the world. Forest fires are a common phenomenon, but when combined with human activity there may be devastating consequences and implications for all life on this planet.

I feel we are at a critical juncture on this planet. Beyond environmental concerns, people are feeling more disconnected than ever. We have devices and gadgets that make it easier to connect with the world. But why do we feel more lonely than ever?

The tree of life teaches us that we are all interconnected on this planet. All life is. I hope we embrace those connections and the idea of a well balanced creation, rather than the greedy destruction based in fear of scarcity. The trees are counting on us, and so are our children. And all living things on this planet. Maybe the ancients knew something about the crisis we would face in our evolution when they chose the Tree of Life as a spiritual symbol?

What do you think of my ‘Tree of Life’ sculpture? Do you believe life on our planet is interconnected?

44 Comments

    1. Thank you so much for your very kind words! I love to hug trees too! Particularly the ones with large trunks that you can not fully get your arms around! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  1. I like your tree sculpture very much. I DO believe our planet is interconnected.

    We as people have become more insular and isolated, leading to a rise in depression, an anxiety, and aggressive behavior. Though many of us live close by to other people, we do not know our neighbors. That is a thing of the past. Like the trees that are being cut down, our own interconnectedness and humanity has been compromised. The trees are but a symptom of this much darker problem.

    Our children are counting on us to come together and re-connect with one another. To care about each other and all living things.

    Great post.

  2. Beautiful work and I fully agree. Regardless of what many of our so-called leaders try to do with decisiveness, divided we fall. I prefer affirmation. Your work and your words do just that.

    1. Thank you Michael for your thoughtful and kind comment. I am flattered by your kind words. I hope you are well! Finally our power was restored here not long ago after the hurricane!

  3. Great work and great post. Did you know rhey recently discovered that trees with their roots feed other trees nutrients if that one tree grows for instance in polluted soil? Or to a new sapling that does not do well? I think it shows how we all have to take care of each other.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and thoughtful comment! I heard that before about a particular grove of trees, but did not know it applied to trees in general. What a beautiful thought to take comfort in, and a great sentiment for us to adopt. I fully believe in the idea that we should take care of one another. I hope you are having a good week!

    1. Thank you for your kind comment! That movie is fantastic and so moving. I have not seen it in awhile, so I may have to watch it tonight! I hope you are having a fantastic day!

  4. Great post, cool sculpture too. Trees are so amazing: they shelter animals (we are animals too πŸ™‚), they clean the air, fight landslides/flooding and are so beautiful. Some redwoods have been here for so long! I think life is definitely interconnected. Humans are part of nature, it makes me sad that we destroy our only home and therefore ourselves! When my son was born I photographed the placenta, it actually looked just like a tree with branches. I think that might be where the β€œtree of life” theme came from.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful comment Judy! It makes me happy to hear that you and others can see the interconnectedness of things! That is very cool that you photographed the placenta after your son’s birth. I had no idea that they resembled a tree with branches. I think you are right that there must be a connection with that and the cross cultural pollination of the idea of ‘tree of life’. I hope you are having a wonderful week!

      1. You’re very welcome! I asked my midwife to photograph it, some women make an imprint of it too, that’s a bit too much for me haha! Life has many interconnected elements; I think ancient cultures had more respect for nature by studying and imitating it, which I think is wise. I hope you have a wonderful week too!

      2. Oh that is very neat that you had someone photograph it! I agree with you that many of our early cultures learned from nature. Hopefully we can get back on that path πŸ˜‰

  5. it feels gothic and a little macabre to me πŸ˜€ maybe because the branches are reminiscent of tentacles to me… which draw up things from the dark. But I might be recalling sylvia plath’s poem about the moon and the yew tree… and graveyards and spiritous mist. I love interconnectedness as a theme. Thich Naht Hanh uses the atom’s journey to write about it… that what existed in the rain, in the soil… eons before we came… now exists in us… will pass through us… into the rivers… the earth… maybe an earthworm… and maybe a bird somewhere. On a mundane level… it means that everything we use… came from somewhere, humans are involved in the production and distribution of what I am using to write this message. There is that interconnectedness that exists yet I don’t tend to question it. Perhaps that is why loneliness is such a thing. We buy and use something and feel alienated from the story on deeper level and our place in that story. That the sacred and the human is sometimes gone because we don’t see it anymore. It makes it easy to discard something because it doesn’t matter to us. We haven’t met the human who made it, we haven’t known the person who laboured tirelessly at minimum or below poverty wage. We buy something without questioning its origin and how it was made… so… we’re interconnected, but we don’t see it, we don’t know it… so how could we value it?

    whoa. that was a bit of a tangent. In any case, thank you, for sharing your art and your work and your themes and triggering these deeper things for me as well. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you so much for such a thoughtful comment. I love the song ‘We are Stardust’ by Joni Mitchell, which encapsulates some of what you have said. Isn’t that a magical and wonderful thought? That we are timeless and in some way have always been and in some way always will be?
      I think you are correct in that many are less aware of the connectedness with others because of the way our society is structured. I am not sure if that is an unfortunate byproduct of the evolution of our technology, or some kind of consumer conditioning.
      I really enjoyed your tangent, and feel free to comment with more, should the inspiration arrive. I love discussing and learning more about people’s views on these matters.
      I hope you are well, and thank you again!

  6. I was drawn to your Tree of Life in the post about your show. I am fascinated by trees and the one you created is beautiful. And, yes, all of earth, its creatures, its plants are interconnected in ways we have only begun to fathom.
    Have you read the book The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature’s Great Connectors by David George Haskell? I thought of it immediately while reading this post.

    1. Thank you so much Teressa for your very kind and thoughtful comment. I have not yet read that book, but it sounds like I should πŸ˜‰ I do believe one day science will help us better understand the depth of how connected everything is, if we don’t mess up everything first! I hope you have a beautiful day.

    1. You made me smile after a long and stressful start to the week. I love the poem and I want to share it on the page for this sculpture. I am glad you were able to find and revive it. It was well worth it.

    1. That has been weighing heaving on my mind too. Also there are large forest fires in Africa as well, the media just gives that a lot less attention.

    1. That is a beautiful sentiment Lisa. I agree πŸ˜‰ Are you familiar with the song ‘We are Stardust’ by Joni Mitchell? Maybe that can replace the other song stuck in your head. It captures this sentiment perfectly.

      1. Having trouble with my cell signal. I’m not familiar with it & have tried to play it with no success. We I get this fixed I will let you know. 😊

  7. Sculpture is fascinating and your words provoke recent thoughts I’ve been having about trees. I’m learning a lot about life and community from observing trees and reading about how they grow and interact. This book actually sparked my curiosity: β€œThe Overstory” by Richard Powers about a month ago. It describes this kind of interconnectedness that you speak of beautifully. Have you read it?

    1. Hi Micah. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. I have not read that book, but it sounds like one I may need to add to my library. I just read the synopsis and I think I will order it. Thank you so much for taking the time to tell me about the book and sharing your thoughts. I am glad to know there are others thinking about these kinds of things. I hope you are having a great week so far!

  8. Beautiful sculpture! A tree is the perfect symbol for humanity. I was very happy to see yesterday, in an international festival here in Chesme (Turkey), where I spend my summers, that in recognition of the groups and performers from other countries, they were given certificates of trees planted in their name and honour. It was done in lieu of giving flower bouquets and a very important thing for in this area there have been many forest fires and new trees are desperately needed. Lovely article and you are truly a gifted artist.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind and beautiful comment. What a lovely way to thank people and how amazing for them to know that there is a tree in their honour in such an ancient and beautiful land. Flower bouquets are temporary, but those trees will nourish the earth for many years to come πŸ˜‰ I hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

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