The Forest Project is the result of hundreds of artists working together for the common goal of commemorating an urban forest lost to development. Dawn Flores first documented the harvesting of 60-acres behind her house in 2011, and spent three years collaborating with quiltmakers, woodturners and other artists before the forest was completely clear-cut, in 2018. Volunteers rescued 2,000 plants, collected millions of seeds and salvaged parts of an 1865 farmhouse before it was demolished. Salvaged plants were planted in gardens and at neighborhood schools. Homeschoolers joined in walking in the woods. Poems were written by children and adults, about copperheads and bald-faced hornets.
Photographs taken in the woods before it was cut, were made into patterns, printed on fabric and sewn into quilts. Trees cut from the forest were turned into bowls, hollow forms and other art objects. Seeds were preserved in old bottles found along creek beds, the new lids were covered in gold leaf to designate them as treasures. Leaves were collected and eco printed onto silk. Prints were pulled from the harvested trees. Twisted limbs of a sycamore tree were embalmed with beeswax and laid to rest on a Civil War era embalming table, rescued from the attic of the house that once stood on the property. All these things were made, then laid on the clear-cut earth and photographed. Each piece was offered as a thank you to the earth, acknowledging what was passing and giving thanks for what will live on.
In addition, an artist residency was completed at Collegiate Lower School, bringing The Forest Project to 600 students. The interdependency of nature was celebrated in a sister-project collaboration with Electric Nomad Studio—for the theatrical dance production, Eternal Forest.
To date, work from The Forest Project includes—eight volumes of photographs, sixteen quilts, five monotypes, fifty turned wood pieces, one handmade made piece of lacework, seven eco printed scarves, several salvaged wood pieces, one installation piece, one floorcloth and one movie titled, Wild City Forest. Through the making of this work, members of The Forest Project mourned for, marveled at and communed with nature—and with each other.
And there is more to come.