The Ancient Repetitions Series
In her first series for Tappan, Chanee Vijay shares her regard for the millennia-old landscape on her California property in textile collages that exude awe and a hard-won sense of joy.
I created this series while living alone for two months with my dogs in the coastal redwoods at The Sea Ranch. The combination of a new isolated location, the solitude, and the astonishingly beautiful landscape allowed me to explore and revel in the unfamiliar. I’ve learned so much about redwood trees, but began to focus my curiosity on how the 1000-year old redwood stumps age and change from their original grand form. The stumps are slowly decaying as their offspring tower around them. They are taking on new forms and purpose — not unlike an aging woman. They’re still giving — topped with huckleberry shrubs, covered in moss, and shedding their thick bark now blackened with protective tannins. This is where I found the shapes for my pieces — the exposed flesh, the grain under the bark, and the contours of erosion. Because huckleberry season is in August and September, I was able to make a huckleberry dye for my natural hemp. The results ranged from soft rose hues to violet and deep indigo. Many of the pieces in the series have a small piece of huckleberry dyed hemp. To me this represents a gift from an ancient ancestor — the mother tree showing us how to embrace change, and forcing me to confront my own fear of aging.