Joseph Anderson

Orchard Oculus

Orchard Oculus: The Life of Apple Trees Through the Opening Eye of Awareness

The entire set was on display *one day only* at Carkeek Park’s Piper Orchard on July 23, 2016 as an unofficial part of the opening of the Heaven and Earth Outdoor Art Exhibition. It is a mixed-media conceptual exploration of the life of apple trees and their relationships with humans, rendered in a playful folk-art style. I was very happy to display it in the orchard, as it was this location (not far from my home) that inspired the project in the first place. Here are some photos from that day.

The twenty-five pieces of Orchard Oculus explore these themes:

  • Connection – showing apples in relation to humans through the chakras: crown, third eye, throat, heart, and belly.
  • Tools – showing the ways humans interact with and care for apple trees: spade, ladder, grafting knives, pruning shears, and spray bottles.
  • Lifecycle – showing apples in the stages of their lives: seed, seedling, flower, fruit, and pollen.
  • Symbiosis – showing the ways apple interact with (non-human) beings: bees, birds, lichen, fungi, and creek.
  • Interplay – (specific to Piper Orchard in Carkeek Park) representing the relationships between the orchard and the park, the city, the state, the region, and the world.

The pieces are painted with acrylic paint on clear 8″x12″ panels, and are suspended from apple-twig bundles. Slices of aluminum pie tins (apple pie, yum!) dangle below.

Apple trees have become important in my shamanic work as a connection to my Swedish ancestors as well as the apple trees of Carkeek Park, Whidbey Island, and a growing number of other places in the area.  As tree-beings that have made their gifts very available to human society, apple trees are mediators between the natural and human worlds and hence have great blessings to offer.