PINEDALE — If a tree falls in the woods, its trunk is turned into art. At least that’s the case for a 138-year-old pine tree that collapsed in the Bridger-Teton National Forest near Pinedale. Friends of the Bridger-Teton, along with the U.S. Forest Service Pinedale Ranger District, turned the old trunk into wooden “cookies” using chainsaws. The slabs of wood were then provided to 18 area artists who took the assignment and ran with it.
Participating artists hail from communities surrounding the Bridger-Teton National Forest (BTNF), including Pinedale’s own Karla Bird and Rebecca Dary.
Dary created “Bull’s Eye of the Storm” on her wood cookie using acrylic paint. The project was created in memory of Melvin Ernest “Ernie” Walker, Jr. and countless woodland firefighters who have dedicated their lives to the national lands and the wildlife that inhabit them. Ernie served a long career in wildland fire, much of which he spent as a Smokejumper out of West Yellowstone.
Half of the profits from the sale of Dary’s “Bull’s Eye of the Storm” will benefit the Friends of the Bridger-Teton while the other 50 percent will be donated to the West Yellowstone Smokejumpers Welfare Fund.
Bird’s piece is titled “Beary Picking” and incorporates a black bear skull, wire and beads and acrylic paint on the pine wood cookie. One September, while Bird and her husband were mule deer hunting in the Wyoming Range, they stumbled across the bear skull. Her work channels the yellow aspen leaves and littleleaf huckleberry, with golden foliage and bright red berries comprising the backdrop for the skull.
Their finished pieces and many others were hung on the Pinedale Library’s Gallery Wall, Monday, Feb. 5, and are ready for viewing between now and Feb. 29.
The National Forest Creations Art Show and Auction Party is scheduled from 5-8 p.m., on Thursday, Feb. 29, at the Sublette County Library in Pinedale.
The public is encouraged to attend and bid on pieces during a silent auction. Proceeds will benefit participating artists and the Friends of the Bridger Teton (FBT).
“One of FBT’s goals is to bring the six districts of the BTNF, two of which are in Sublette County, together to support the people, wildlife, communities and the forest we all love. This potential annual event is our first attempt to support local artists/creators and repurpose an honored natural resource. We hope that this event/auction is a success, thereby bringing the opportunities of future art collaborations on the forest to life!”
People can bid in-person during the event at the Pinedale Library’s Lovatt Room, 155 S. Tyler Ave., or online at the auction party, via https://www.btfriends.org/events/national-forest-creations-show-silent-auction?fbclid=IwAR1EvAtWUtzFPL9qoc1EUHgcw47nC0vH0c-T3Cq9cUr4QoD2q8pUEBiBFdc.
For those who choose to attend in person, food, mocktails and fun will be provided.