Reliquary I, II, III
I was particularly drawn to ITOC presentations about boreal trees. A reference cited led me to Suzanne Simard’s book, Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest; this work stunned me with its revelations of the hidden, complicated interactions and interdependencies among trees, fungi, and humans. Time spent with Dr. Kenneth Severin at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, using the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) had an even more profound effect. Seeing birch leaves under such levels of magnification caused me to realize how limited our ‘vision’ is and, therefore, our sense of ‘reality.’ Both Simard’s work and the SEM let me ‘see’ what is normally hidden—to focus on abstract or elemental patterns. The Alaska paper birch has been fundamental to my sense of the interior Boreal forest and, often, over the years, it has driven my work. Drawing inspiration from it, I have used its outer bark in all phases, ages, and conditions as my primary medium to sculpt and create images, always trying to let the bark speak with its own voice. My ITOC pieces continue this exploration and reflect my fascination with underlying abstractions with an additional focus on the effects of fire on birch bark.
Connie Stricks studied Art History with additional courses in metalsmithing and book arts. She has worked with paper in various ways for over 20 years and has been making book structures since being introduced to them by Margo Klass in 2009. She has given workshops at The Folk School and Northwoods Book Arts Guild in Fairbanks, and the Newport Paper and Book Arts Festival in OR. Her work has been in group and 2-person shows within Alaska and outside the state.