Hand turned Big Leaf Maple burl bowl.
Over the past year I have been exploring many new avenues for artistic expression. One of them has been turning wood on a lathe.
I have always been drawn to wood and woodworking but never gave it a go until this year. After receiving my first mini lathe for my birthday, I jumped right in and fell immediately in love with turning.
Turning a Spalted Maple bowl.
It is an incredibly meditative craft. I find my mind focused completely on the piece of wood as it turns. The beauty and unique qualities of each piece are revealed with every new cut my tool makes.
Adding the finish to the Big Leaf Maple bowl while chucked on the lathe.
Turning wood has become the perfect peaceful endeavor for me during these tumultuous and crazy times in our world. When I can’t get out in nature, it allows me to hold a piece of it in my hands, work to enhance its beauty, and clears my mind of the endless stream of unimportant chatter.Each one of my pieces are created with reclaimed wood from fallen trees. You can view more of my work here.
In the midst of all the hate-filled rhetoric and fear going on right now in this country I have found a greater need to spend time out in nature in order to ground myself and find peace.
My goal is to share the beauty of nature with others so that they too might find that same peace and be encouraged get out and commute with nature themselves.
So, here are a few of my favorite Zen moments from my journeys.
All photographs ©Tracy J Thomas, 2016. All rights reserved.
Just a quick post to announce an upcoming gallery exhibition. Two of my iPhone photomontages were selected for the Academy of Art University MFA Photography Alumni exhibition opening May 5th.
I am thrilled to be a part of this exhibition along with some of my favorite former instructors and fellow students. The show will feature work by Marico Fayre, Shannon Ayres, Amanda Dahlgren, Eliot Crowley, Trace Nichols, Weston Fuller, Marc Ullom, Tamara Hubbard, and myself.
AAU Galleries at 625 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA
May 5-29, 2016
At the outer edges of my noisy world exists a little cabin in the woods. A place where my soul can go to rest and reconnect with Nature and all of its beautiful gifts.
Whenever I go there it’s as if my soul does a giant exhale. A spewing out of all the damaging stress to make room for peace and healing.
“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ~ John Muir
“All that live must die, passing through nature to eternity.” ~ William Shakespeare
“Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. … There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” ~ Rachel Carson
**All photographs and videos were taken on my iPhone. ©Tracy J Thomas, 2016. All rights reserved.**
Purchase a copy of “Zen in the Garden: Finding Peace and Healing Through Nature” here.
©Tracy J Thomas, 2016. All rights reserved.
Spring is when I spend a lot of time in the garden kneeling down at eye level with all the flowers that seem to pop up and bloom overnight. I try to take some time daily to search for all the small details that are missed when caught up in our busy world. When you stop and look closely, it’s as if an entire parallel universe exists between the petals and stamen, the soil and grass. Sometimes while lost in a patch of Poppies I imagine a tiny world of faeries that flit about on lacy wings as they tend to the garden. If you look closely, you too might find them.
I shot these photos on my iPhone and edited them on my iPad with the PicFX and Procreate apps.
©Tracy J Thomas, 2016. All rights reserved.
Pick up a copy of Zen in the Garden or send it to someone you lve as a gift: http://amzn.com/B00TN2GQHM
“Ode to Spring” – ©Tracy J Thomas, 2016. All rights reserved.
March is a time for renewal, when the first buds of early Spring begin to push their way towards the surface. The days become a bit longer, less dark and bleak. Flocks of birds begin to fly overhead and make their way north after a long winter layover. Their excited squacks and cackles instill a sense of hope in my soul, but also a feeling of sadness that I never took the time to visit them while they were at rest here in our valley. My soul was tucked away in front of the warm fire, wrapped in reflection, which is where winter often sends me.
I stand in my backyard as a family of Sandhill Cranes ride a thermal right above me. Their giant wings glide in circles as their gutteral call rolls from their beaks in an ecstatic chorus. They circle and glide, resting for the long trip ahead, a momentary pause in their journey as if saying goodbye. A tear escapes my eye as I look up and wish them a safe flight.
The sun sneaks out between big white clouds and leftover raindrops that have settled on the new blooms begin to shimmer. My focus shifts from the vast expanse of the sky above back to the tiny things below me. The longer I stare, the more amazed I become. This micro world of color and light comes alive as if the entire universe exists in this few inches of earth within my vision. Life and death begin and end there. Spring approaches to remind us it is our job to live, to let go of the darkness, emerge from our coccoons and acknowledge the beauty in all that we have been given.
Pick up a copy of “Zen in the Garden” here.