Monday, October 13, 2008

From the Natural World to Your Home

January 5, 2004

In the natural world there exists a step by step series of interactions that occur in order to clothe the landscape we find around us. This process is known as succession. On to bare rocks and minerals the first plant life to arrive will be minuscule algae and lichens. Very slowly, over the eons, they foster the building of soil. As the soil increases, so do the numbers and diversity of lifeforms. Swaying grasses and verdant mosses promote flowering perennials, which encourages the proliferation of shrubs and finally, the canopy of trees. Even there, different species of trees arrive at different times. The pine forests of New England give way to mature hardwood forests, whose spectacle of fall colours enchant us all, just as the familiar alder of the northwest coast precedes the majestic cedar, known by First Nations as the tree of life.

Various conditions affect which plants will establish and survive. Fires bring both destruction and rejuvenation. Pine cones that have been dormant for many years respond to the searing heat by germinating and blanketing the forests with their sun tolerant seedlings. Like an army of small bottle brushes, they cover the soil, protecting and nurturing it. Complexity is added as each new plant modifies and changes the environment, creating conditions ripe for more particular species. Layer upon layer of plants develop and intermingle in an ever changing dance of life.

Clothing your home or yourself can be seen in a similar light. Beginning with the necessities and adding or removing layers as the situation or conditions warrant. A table can be a functional bare surface with only the necessary dishes and cutlery for a simple, introspective meal, or it can be made elaborate with the layering of fabric, texture and colour. Placemats upon tablecloths, prints upon wovens, saturated solids with innovative combinations of colour, centerpieces and candles, napkins and runners, provide friends and family engaging in festive occasions with a feast for the eye as well as the stomach.

April Cornell finds inspiration from the world around her, from nature and from the circumstances that have shaped her. Her muse is just outside her door, from the flamboyant cardinals flocking to her feeder to the elusive fairy slippers nestling in the forests. Just as ecological processes are dynamic, yet rooted in fundamental progressions and ever poised to engage in new plant combinations, so too flow the ideas of April Cornell; vibrant, expressive of the natural world and always graced with intriguing and novel dimensions.

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