There's no better celebration of any season than the decorated tree adorned with the rich symbolism of nature—my ritual to inform and inspire you in the journey called life.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

a long winter's night

"I don't know what I may seem to the world, but as to myself. I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me."

SQUIRRELING AWAY | We all know what squirrels do when getting ready for winter in gathering nuts, but this squirrel is saving a for abundance—the fertile pinecone. This sets the tone for the whole idea behind the tree.
FINDING THE EXQUISITE in my quest to adorn a tree that inspires me, and in the process, others, is a sometimes a formidable process of searching and seeking. As an art director, this is my modus operandi—my particular way or method of doing things.

COLLECTOR'S PALETTE | Once I decide on a theme for a tree, I hunt and sort through years of my collection to find the perfect combination of color and texture—sometimes buying a few new ornaments. While decorating the tree, I edit further as I carefully place each ornament in relation to the others around it.
THIS TREE brings together many pieces of many years of collecting, as I dug deep into my storage space this year to find the perfect palette of baubles to achieve the effect of a long winter's night, after I found a wintry flocked tree that spoke to me.

STAR SIGNS | The constellations in the night sky inspired Martin Luther to place the first lights on a tree in the way of small candles as legend would have it. A candlelit tree is like no other, but safety and convenience rule the day.
THE CHRISTMAS TREE has always been a ritual to conjure the following spring, just in case there has been an upheaval in the natural order of things, as it has this year. By Christmas day, we're several days past Winter Solstice and the nights are already becoming shorter and the days longer.

WINTRY MIX | Glass beaded Czechoslovakian stars, glass icicles and milky glass orbs combine to form a cool textural mix.
WINTER MAY BE the most unnerving season of them all because everything seems to seemingly die all around us. But the light of the universe keeps luring and coaxing life to burst forth again every year as spring arrives. This is why we celebrate Christmas the way we do. Whether it's the Christ Child, or just the human spirit, it matters not.

WINTER INTO SPRING | Starry winter nights become shorter as the spring encroaches with longer days.
IT'S QUITE MIRACULOUS how this happens, but we, still as mortal beings, feel the need to find a ritual that somehow seems a necessary process to usher things forward, even though we know we are not always the better for it in the short term. It's necessary to push through the bad, and to rediscover the good in the long term.

FUN FOREST | The proliferation of newer iterations of vintage-style bottlebrush trees in the past few years has been a welcome sight. Playfully-gathered on a cake stand, they create quite a presence.
THAT'S WHAT the Christmas holiday means to me and why The Decorated Tree has become an exquisite ritual for me—one that can "excite intense delight or admiration," as explained in The Oxford English Dictionary. My winter tree is always a meditation and an actual physical altar that represents the will to keep hope alive.

collecting, photography and styling by Darryl Moland
 SPECIAL NOTE | This real silver tip tree has been flocked with an environmentally safe flocking material made from corn starch, boron, and wood pulp and is safe enough to compost after the holidays are over. (From Pike Nurseries in Atlanta).

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