Finding Beauty in Tragedy — Tree Art Inspired by the Derecho

Jamie and Kyle Morrissey will tell you they “aren’t artists.” But the prints piling in their dining room and garage full of tree cookies would suggest otherwise. 

Since the August 10th derecho, the Morrisseys have been making art from fallen trees: ink prints pressed onto high-quality archival paper. Looking at them, you might think the process is simple, but these intricate pieces of art are actually quite complex to make.

It starts with a tree cookie from a limb or stump, which is first sanded to remove imperfections, burnt to bring out the rings, then coated with wax to preserve it. From there, ink is applied and pressed into paper, pulling the print away to reveal the tree’s intricate rings.

Self-described “tree hippies” Jamie and Kyle Morrissey have always understood the value of nature. They’ve toured many of the National Parks with their children, and have made sure to admire — and sometimes hug — the trees along the way. It was on one of these trips that they’d first encountered art like the prints they’re producing now. 

Like many in Cedar Rapids, they were absolutely heartbroken by the devastation of the derecho. But instead of despair, they looked for beauty in the rubble. Inspired by the art they’d seen in their travels, they researched how they might reproduce a print like it, but this time with the trees from their own beloved city.

“Every tree has a story,” Jamie Morrissey said. “We saw the beauty of these trees and we couldn’t just let them go to the grinder. We want to give them a little life after they’re gone. We wanted to find a way to make something beautiful from this tragedy.”

The Morrisseys are working with the Nature Center to make prints from trees on our property. Stay tuned for more information on how to purchase a print. If you would like to be notified by email when the prints become available to order, please fill out this form. Proceeds will support the Nature Center’s storm recovery and ongoing land restoration. 

Want a tree print from your own trees? Contact Jamie Morrissey for a quote: jmmorrissey@mac.com

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