Cedar has been a “tree of life,” providing material for many uses. Humans have approached working with the cedar tree with respect, skill, and knowledge.
This year’s featured exhibit at the Orcas Island Historical Museum is titled “Cedar.” It contextualizes cedar in nature, history and art and includes photos from the museum’s archives, baskets, tools and more. The exhibit includes an interactive cedar processing station that allows visitors to touch, smell, soak and beat bark.
The exhibit will run Friday, May 25, through Saturday, Oct. 26. The community is invited to a free exhibit reception on Thursday, June 13, from 4-6 p.m.
Cedar art by local artists is also featured, specifically the work of Rivkah Sweedler who co-curated the exhibit. She collaborated with Walter Barkas, as they lived in the forests of the Pacific Northwest in cabins they built of fir poles, logs and cedar shakes. They began their collaboration of life and art in 1978. Their goal was to live by their own skills as much as possible using the windfalls of nature, including cedar, and the castoff windfalls of the consumer society. To live in the forest and harvest from the forest without destroying or “civilizing” the forest. Barkas died in 1995. Sweedler continues to live on Orca, sharing through story and art the basic human skill of a handmade life.
Art by Peter Fisher, Colleen Stewart and Tweed Meyer will also be featured.