Jacksonville artist Sarah Crooks Flaire of evervess art studio was recently selected to make ornaments for the National Parks Service to display as part of America Celebrates: Ornaments from Across the USA. The display at President’s Park at the White House features holiday trees decorated with ornaments designed by local artists from each U.S. State and territory as well as the District of Columbia. The ornaments reflect National Parks Service parks and programs, and the artist has taken her inspiration from the Timucuan Ecological and Historical Preserve at the mouth of the St. Johns River.
We asked her a few questions about the project, and she was kind enough to answer them!
Why were you chosen to make the ornaments for the Florida holiday tree at the Pathway of Peace for the National Parks Service?
I am an environmental artist and a certified Florida Master Naturalist, so
creating ornaments to celebrate the National Parks must have seemed like a natural fit. I make images and experiences that connect us to the natural world, while appealing to all ages, I express a deep sense of spiritual ecology.
Can you please describe your process in physically making the
ornaments? How did you choose what materials to use?
The ornaments celebrate the flora and fauna of the estuary of the Timucuan Preserve and highlight the importance of oysters. I use recycled cd’s to represent a waterline and miniature worlds above and below that surface.
I also incorporated recycled Styrofoam that the St. Johns River washed ashore which I collected at the Ft. Caroline National Monument. It amazingly looks like limestone formations on a miniature scale, which of course is the foundation of our landscape and made of oysters. I have depicted a Timucuan gorget, oysters, a manatee, woodstork, endangered gopher tortoise and white ibis in cold clay which was formed over an armature and then painted with acrylic.
Other materials include recycled water bottle labels, aluminum cans (the butterflies are silkscreened over beverage cans) and odds and ends of altered fabric, pipe cleaners, wool and sequins and baubles I inherited from my grandmother. The Park service supplied us with the Plexiglas spheres so each little scene had to fit into a 5.4′ globe.
Are you creating any other ornaments for purchase?
I am making them in a limited edition which are available for sale on my website at http://www.sarahcrooksflaire.com/floridaornaments/. There is also a little movie there about the process. On my home page is a movie about a recent project I did concerning oysters and clean water, In the Mouth, The Oyster and I which culminates in a spectacle street performance. That explains more about my love of oysters…
For more information about Sarah Crooks Flaire and her other projects, please visit her website at http://www.sarahcrooksflaire.com.
As one of America’s oldest holiday traditions, the National Christmas Tree Lighting began on Christmas Eve in 1923, when President Calvin Coolidge lit a Christmas tree in front of 3,000 spectators on the Ellipse in President’s Park. Since 1923, each succeeding president has carried on the tradition. In addition to the America Celebrates display, President’s Park hosts a variety of family-oriented holiday attractions, including nightly holiday performances, and model train display.
For more information, please visit http://www.thenationaltree.org and follow the National Christmas Tree on Twitter at @TheNationalTree. Join the conversation online using the hashtag #NCTL2015