Wishing TreesFor decades my work has been inspired by my travels. As close as outside the door into the garden to voyages to parts of the mediterranean; Egypt, Italy, Greece.
The wishing trees of Turkey prompted the paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture of the last five years. While wandering through Turkey in the last twenty years I often came upon sacred sites near mosques as well as roadside caves and small designated sites on trails where trees became bearers of wishes simply by being hung with strips of cloth torn from personal clothing.
The idea of an exvoto, a message carrier, a wish transmitter has been present in many cultures for centuries. Exvotos were used in ancient Greece and Italy. Pressed metal exvotos are still placed in chapels in Italy.
To see trees laden with pieces of cloth, talismans torn from the body in hope of a healing, of a grant giving, a forgiveness is to see layers of these wishes given to time to play with since the pieces of cloth are removed, transformed, disintegrate only be natural forces. I have seen tree branches so heavily laden they needed bracing as well as trees newly designated with only a few pieces of cloth attached.
It is hard to divorce the strip of cloth from the idea of a strip of skin and not sense the most potent meaning in the act of attachment to these trees. In summer the trees seem to bloom with the colorful cloth among the leaves. In winter the trees assume an altogether ethereal quality.
Most cultures seem to have had the need, the medium through which to hope, give thanks, seek help. The Turkish wishing tree provides a simple, eloquent means.