As a child, I spent hours in the woods, constructing huts, shelters – bent-over saplings covered with brush and leaves. In the small stream behind my house, I piled earth, rocks and leaves, redirecting the flow, and watching. I watched the first skunk cabbage shoots emerge from the frosty mud; took note of their unique flowers, their secret interiors and strange dappled skin. I climbed trees, built platforms, called them dwelling places. The gestures of trees, the smoothness of beech and peeling bark of birch have become embedded in my psyche, as has the feeling of shelter in nature.
Sharon Townshend graduated from Syracuse University with a BFA in Painting, and Wesleyan University with a MAT, ceramics focus. She spends time in the woods of Maine and Montana, and was recently artist in residence at the Guldagergaard International Ceramics Research Center in Denmark. There, her work was a contemplation of home, shelter and roots, in response to the overwhelming number of refugees pouring into Denmark and Germany. What would it be like to pull up your roots, and walk to another country, homeless?