When I feel depleted by the chaos in the world, or just my own weariness, I know I need to connect with the work of other artists, writers, and thinkers. I see their art as meridians that connect the darkness of my own psyche with an outward vision of something mysterious, fresh, and true. Anne Eder is an interdisciplinary artist who does just that. Anne created two mythological forest creatures, Qwkglaks, for Old Frog Pond Farm's annual harvest sculpture exhibit last fall. They speak to us directly of the mystery of rain, moss, forest, and deep ecology.
They sit, one poised, like a King on a rotting trunk, the other under the canopy of an upturned root system. The latter, more difficult to find, sits a little way off the main trail, but once spotted, can leave no doubt that some kind of primordial wisdom is being expressed. A young girl with her parents, so taken with this one, stepped off the trail into the bog, her boots sinking, staying behind in the mud as she trod over to it in bare feet. Her parents shyly asked when they returned to the house if they could use the outdoor hose to clean her up before they got into their car. Children are connected to their instincts and are closer to this source of origin.
Baudelaire wrote: “Genius is nothing more nor less than childhood recovered at will.” I consider Anne such a genius. When I look at these magical creatures, they are familiar, and I am enamored, appreciative, of their existence. I smile. I feel better just seeing them. I imagine that Anne’s sculptures get up and move when no one is around. They slink around the woods, crossing the swamp and muttering magical incantations among the trees. Not disturbing a growing plant or settled stone, they step lightly and carefully. Around the King’s log, the skunk cabbage is now in its fullest expression with bright green elephant ears, yet not one leaf has been trampled.
Even if you don’t believe in my magical thinking, we all believe in transformation. How else to understand the pointy purplish claws of the skunk cabbage poking through the ground a few months ago becoming a sprawling thick carpet of green waves? Or a bare tree, suddenly sending green shoots from within dry, seemingly solid bark? Nature continuously transforms itself. Spring leaves, so light-filled, are photosynthesizing like mad to flood the tree with sugars. I look at Anne’s creatures and feel that a similar process is happening: she has orchestrated the coming together of forest materials to become wild creatures who nourish us — ageless creations, a union of art and nature, both healing and uncannily witty.
Anne documented the changes of the creatures over the fall and winter. They dozed under deep snow and woke as the first skunk cabbage poked up. The King lost his scepter and his nose! However, last week, Anne came back and restored the royal Qwkglak with fresh moss and flowers, and a new scepter, a giant, unfurled fern.
The other ‘Guardian’, she decided to leave to decompose further, to return to the forest from whence it came. Only the ceramic pieces, a few rib bones, and nails will not decay. In the fall, Anne will return again to enhance the King. She will be leaving artifacts for visitors to pay homage to this creature, and even to create a retinue of creatures of their own. We’re honored to have Anne Eider’s work at the farm where we aspire to encourage creativity at the confluence of Agriculture, Art, and Community. Healthy food feeds the body, nature and art feed the spirit, and in sharing both, we support each other. Take a look at Anne Eder's website and mark Sunday, September 10 for the opening day of our annual outdoor sculpture exhibition.