Trees of Significance

Catherine Stern

About Catherine Stern

From the time I was very young, I’ve been fascinated by textiles. I love the feeling of raw fiber flowing through my fingers when I spin, I love immersing fiber and fabrics in dye, and I especially love working with silk which absorbs color in jewel tones. For me, the delicacy and strength of silk gives a dream-like yet quality to the stories, that speak to me and seem to resonate with others. I was born in upstate New York to Brooklyn-raised parents and grew up in Palo Alto, California. Majoring in art at San Francisco State University with an emphasis in textile art.

About Trees of Significance

In 2020 Covid forced us to come to a stand still. Home, isolated from each other, the earth had a chance to take a breath. Birds felt safe to show themselves and filled the air with sounds of their wings and songs. Like trees we witnessed the unfolding crisis. Like trees, cultivated or not, we grew, we fruited, we changed, time and life continued.During a Shmita year nature uncultivated continues to grow. Beginning at Roshasha, greens give way, exposing reds, yellows and oranges. Simultaneously time we too, respond to the changing light and reluctantly turn inward.These trees of significance, Almond, Oak, Fig, Palm, Apple, Pomegranate, Olive, Cedar, and grape are painted with gold acrylic paint on hand-dyed silk organza. Throughout the day, they shimmer when angled sun kisses them, they glow in lamp light. Look up at them, imagine what a 4,000 yr. of Cedar of Lebanon, ‘The King of Trees’ has witnessed, from pushing up through the needles of its elders, the rustling breezes, insects, animal life, to footsteps and human turmoil. These ancient Kings are threatened by climate change. Think too, of the early blossoms of the almond: the bounty of untended figs; the sweetness of dates; the pomegranate with its 613 seeds reminding us of Mitzvot; the apple. They reach from their roots spread deep and wide in the earth, up into the sky. They grow, they fruit, they rest and grow again; turning light into life. If we can quiet ourselves and listen, perhaps we can find the way to save what is most important, this earth we live on and all that thrives upon and within her. Don’t think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It’s quiet, but the roots are down there riotous. – Rumi