Gallery - Birds and Bees and other Creatures

The Salmon Forest

The Salmon Forest

2019  SOLD

30x30" quilted fabric wall hanging

This piece tells the amazing story of how heavy Nitrogen found in migrating salmon ends up in the rings of trees.

When the salmon run up the rivers to spawn, they are either captured by wildlife or die after laying their eggs. Wildlife like bears drag their corpses into the woods, where the remains decompose, becoming an important source of Nitrogen for the trees.The trees hold the banks and keep the river water fresh.

A special heavy Nitrogen isotope, 15N, can be directly traced from the salmon to the tree rings. In testing, it is then possible to determine the relative populations of migrating salmon from year to year, for the entire life span of the tree. This research helps us understand the influence of various human populations, from First Nations to more recent settlements, and to rethink how we harvest both the salmon and the trees.

In this piece, the dead and live salmon form the symbol of yinyang, which means balance of life and death. Bear prints represent the work of the animals who pull the salmon into the woods. Hemlock cones represent the trees, and a row of salmon eggs garnish the riverbed. At the top is the heavy Nitrogen isotope, taking centre stage.

For more information about this research, click HERE.