Back in Simi Valley, that beautiful oak tree has been waiting patiently for some attention, so I went to the Town Center and began the long process of hanging the bottles onto the branches. Thankfully Megan and Whitney had finished preparing them, so all of them had a little gravel and ash in them.Â
I finally decided on a name for the piece – we’re going to call it “The Alchemy Tree”.
In order to hang the bottles roughly on the level I strung a line at eight feet. All the bottles will be suspended on string to hang at this level. I tied together clusters of the four or five bottles, then adjusted their height by raising them with more string.
I got about fifty or sixty hung today in about an hour, so I reckon that with the help of some of our students the project should be installed by the beginning of next week. It was good to see Leticia again, she laughs a lot. Â
It’s going to look great, especially when the sunlight hits it. I’ve been thinking about what it’s about while preparing and suspending the bottles. The elements are pure, except for the water. Clean pebbles from the gravel beds, ashes from a furnace in Ojai, fresh air, plastic bottle. Perhaps we walk below the elemental layer in the oak tree because we haven’t learned to husband the earth?
Four elements represent the material world. The world above in the piece is the place of branches, where the wind blows and new growth happens. Below the bottles the roots absorb the earth thanks to the water, which carries the nutrients the tree needs for growth from the lower world of the roots up into the buds in the upper world.Â
We walk in the place of water, fire (life) and earth. We aspire to the region of the air. Â
The piece is already getting lots of attention. I was repeatedly asked what I was doing, which gave me opportunities to explain the nature of the piece.