• Laurel Contributor

Wellspring of Creativity

by Donna Rhodes

With a name like Cedar Chan, you can bet this artist finds her fortune in the forest.

Cedar Chan is a woman in motion, though she moves in quiet ways. She wears an invisible bumper sticker, “My other home is the forest.”

The woods are her wellspring of creativity. Forest creatures not only inspire her, they are her. “Cedarness” is reflected in them, though she is quick to say, “I am not making animals human. It’s more about the relationship between humans and animals, which comes naturally.”

Some of her best friends are animals – an enchanting fox, a whiskered field mouse, whimsical garden bunnies, squeaking squirrels, a pair of indigo buntings.

Cedar says, “The woods are where I am nurtured and find my peace. Woods are a different way of listening. A unique language is spoken there. The forest keeps me present.”

How does it keep her present?

“In my right hemisphere is a no-time-no-space place where I can just be in the true present. I don’t have to think about anything when I am there. The problem is I have to come back.”

We laugh.

Everything Cedar does is hand-work of the highest order, from massage therapy (her day job) to fine craftwork (which fills the remainder of her time). She still does needle felting, a process she has practiced for years, but she is currently exploring clay: creating creatures engaged in their elements… trees, mushrooms, flowers, foliage, etc.

When she is creating, the woodland creatures are in control. At the start of a piece, she has no story in mind. The tale evolves as the materials work their magic and direct her hands.

When I interviewed Cedar she had a squirrel head in her hand and clothespin ornaments in progress on the coffee table in front of her.

She said, “I jump all around. Different tables with different projects on them. I enjoy the variety.”

Just like the creatures of the woods she is searching, metaphorically speaking, for perfection: a quintessential acorn or that perfect hidey-hole.

See Cedar and her work at Highlands Own Art Show, October 12. Or contact her for questions/commissions at cedarchan2@gmail.com.

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