In the North East corner of our land ‘Hillcrest’ at Capertee stands a Eucalyptus Sclerophylla (Blakely). This magnificent Eucalyptus is over twenty metres in height and has a trunk of a metre in diameter. She could easily be over 200 years old.
Some 25 years ago my son painted the trunk of the tree in a rainbow of colours and heart shapes and placed large branches at her feet to spell out the word ‘love’. Our family has since nicknamed this tree The Love Tree. She has been an enduring symbol of love, strength and frailty in our lives and offers us a place of sanctuary and deep connection with country.
Standing majestically in a clearing at the end of a ridge line, The Love Tree is surrounded at a respectful distance, by a circle of young grey saplings. She has taken a monumental stand on the land witnessing the life, death, joys and struggles of our time at Hillcrest. And with her gaze across the Capertee Valley, she no doubt holds close many stories of the land from the early 1800’s.
On her mighty frame The Love Tree has fine delicately pointed lemon scented leaves and the tiniest of seeds that blossom each year. She is a haven for possums and birdlife. Her trunk shows the markings of goannas visiting to search for eggs. At her feet are enormous fallen limbs and years of rich black undisturbed earth. She is symbolically weathered, gnarled and graceful and we are eternally grateful to have her in our lives.
For the Flora Sensa exhibition I found I was humbled by her strength and majesty and I turned to her details and her place on the hill for inspiration in my artworks. I have eco dyed fabric from leaves and bark on the property and worked into these surfaces. Each piece is layered and reworked to reflect the depth of her story. I have drawn inspiration from her lines both bold and delicate, her shapes, her markings and the colours of her environment.