"Coppice Regrowth" by Holly Hazelton
Holly Hazelton is a visual artist who grew up knowing and connecting with the trees and landscape of Iowa. In August of 2020, a storm known as a derecho swept across the Midwest and destroyed 70% of the beloved and iconic tree canopy in her hometown of Cedar Rapids, spurring her investigation into the role trees played in her formative and current experiences of landscape and place. Through the lenses of loss, ecological grief, and memory, her current work explores her changed relationship to the blasted landscape and the empty spaces the trees leave behind.
Hazelton holds a BFA in Integrated Studio Arts from Iowa State University and an MFA in Painting + Drawing from the University of Washington in Seattle. Currently based in her hometown of Cedar Rapids, she continues to explore her evolving relationship to changed Iowa landscape a year after the storm.z
After natural disasters, there is so much physical debris. I wanted to incorporate the debris of the Iowa 2020 derecho in my work in a tangible way, so I made ink from native Iowa trees lost in the storm. Through the process of foraging for, creating, and painting with the ink, I was able to craft a story with the trees of their own resilience through their materiality.
For there to be change, there has to be hope; Coppice Regrowth is a symbol of that. Trees have the ability for new growth long after they are damaged or cut down if the roots are healthy, sending out hundreds of shoots from seemingly lifeless stumps. New life emerging from destruction. Taking note of the trees, just as much as we mourn loss after negative climate events, we must actively seek moments of hope within the landscape as we continue to navigate and advocate for our rapidly changing environment.