Finding Ready Made Art and Inspiration

The other day, we were coming home from a meeting and passed by the park across from the Laboratory. We were dismayed to see that one of the massive old trees had been cut down, having been deeply damaged by the very harsh winter. We stood looking at the stump and then suddenly our eye focused on the geometric wedges scattered around it: shards left from the chainsaw’s work, in an array of sizes. They were beautiful.

We had to squeeze through a slim gap in the wire fence that enclosed the field to allow flowers and grass to grow. We went to examine the shards and found that they revealed the trees rings in lovely color, and descended down in size to make a sort of set. We gathered them into a cloth shopping bag we carry for emergency finds and took them home.

Sally Schneider

Sally Schneider

…We arranged our find on the patio table and felt like we’d found a ready-made sculpture with a curiously-modern feel.  It now resides indoors where we enjoy it daily, a reminder of the trees (which we love and gain strength from daily) and of how there is often strange beauty to be found in the midst of loss.

Sally Schneider

Sally Schneider

It also showed us the results of our own Improvised Life practice, which naturally seems to sharpen our vision to possibilities around us, to see what might be hidden in plain sight.

Our space is filled with such finds, both aesthetic and utilitarian…

A torn branch from Hurricane Sandy is another tree sculpture we enjoy daily in part for the memory of how we got it home…

Sally Schneider

Sally Schneider

…A slice of tree trunk hauled home on a dolly became a kitchen stool...

fallen tree stump diy

…and an objet on the kitchen counter

oak tree slice

Rocks are sculptural door stop and toilet paper holder

Ellen Silverman

Ellen Silverman

We’ve collected images of other people’s finds:

big rock as display case


rusty spike paperweight via 'the selby'

Todd Selby

photo: don freeman

Don Freeman


All we have to do is look.


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