On an ITOC trip to Bonanza Creek Experimental Forest in June 2021, boreal forest ecologist Roger Ruess talked about snowshoe hare browsing on white spruce and how that could affect the shape of the forest itself. The laymen’s assumption is that beetle infestation, large animal browsing (moose), and human harvest have the most impact on the forest. But smaller animals may have an impact as well. Hare browse on younger seedlings exposed above the winter snowpack, slowing the growth of those trees. The story in my mind is of the anthropomorphized hare, functioning like mini-arborists, cultivating the forest to suit their needs. This set of jars celebrates the power of the small, unassuming hare and their role in the forest.
My work is often silly and lighthearted, but my intention is to draw attention to those smaller animals that often get overlooked in the larger narrative of the forest. We may not see them often or find them as majestic, but they still play an important role in the environment.
Teresa Shannon is a ceramic artist living in Fairbanks, AK. Her work includes sculptural and utilitarian pottery inspired by small animals and dinosaurs. Nostalgic and lighthearted, Teresa’s work commemorates quiet moments at home and in nature. Her work has been exhibited across Alaska and throughout the country. She earned an MFA from Wichita State University and a BFA from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and has led workshops and taught ceramics at various locations around the country. She currently teaches pottery and ceramic materials classes at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.