Wildlands Blog: by Joanne Price, founder and owner of Starpointe Studio
Note: Joanne is a member of the Pine Mountain Collective, the group of artists that are engaged in our conservation efforts. This spring she created a special art piece for KNLT’s mid-year appeal. We invited Joanne to share perspective on her connection to nature, her thoughts on KNLT and her process for creating the KNLT warbler piece.
In my work I celebrate nature and wildness – I advocate for and practice re-wilding. My husband, Dan Price (Nasa/JPL Solar System Ambassador & “Bluegrass Skies,” Frankfort State Journal columnist) and I have worked to re-wild our patch of Bluegrass land to provide an oasis for birds and insects and to have the joy of nature at our doorstep. The calmness and peace that butterflies, birds and nature provide makes me smile just thinking about it as I write this. I especially enjoy our ancient trees, wild flower patches, dark skies, firefly summers, and our baby forest that have all helped us reconnect with nature in such a real, direct way. When nature is your reality and your home, every offense to nature feels personal.
I visit the Appalachian Mountains every summer – in multiple states, parks and elevations. KNLT’s work is inspiring and brings together diverse people who make Pine Mountain and Appalachia such a special place. Honestly, it’s hard for me to wrap my head around the significance of KNLT’s work. KNLT continues to bridge political, environmental, commercial, and residential interests to conserve and protect Kentucky’s wildlands and sustain good stewardship with a long-term plan.
As a member of the Pine Mountain Collective I’m continually awed by KNLT’s work. My participation in their gathering at the Pine Mountain Settlement School in 2019 was a rare opportunity for me to experience, first hand, Appalachian culture and values in the heart of Appalachia. The Pine Mountain wildlands are home to so many things I love: mountains, mountain life and culture, hemlocks, clear rivers and creeks, black bears, and a diverse population of birds are just the tip of the iceberg.
The print I created for KNLT’s annual appeal observes the conservation stories that are tied to Pine Mountain. The image was engraved into a boxwood end grain round block, the subject of which follows a long tradition of illustrating nature. This process, called wood engraving, was popularized by English naturalist Thomas Bewick in the late 1700s. I have employed the process to illustrate the beautiful black-throated blue warbler, which spends its summers in dense undergrowth throughout the Appalachian Mountains. These warblers migrate at night, as a majority of migratory birds do, making dark skies just as important as habitat & food sources. Eastern Hemlock trees are considered a keystone species, regulating water in mountain ecosystems, supporting more than 100 species with food and habitat. Eastern Hemlocks are the Redwoods of the east and, unfortunately, are threatened by the invasive aphid-like insect, hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA). I keep a close eye on our own Eastern Hemlocks – thanks to KNLT’s educational efforts, I have gained a deeper respect for their ecological role.
Joanne has printed a limit number of these lovely Black-throated Blue Warbler prints and is donating 50% of sales to KNLT. Visit Starpointe Studio online to get one.
Joanne Price is the founder and owner of Starpointe Studio in rural Bagdad, KY, specializing in original prints, wood engraving, and book arts. She has illustrated books for Kentucky authors like Wendell Berry, Sena Jeter Naslund, Frank X Walker, Silas House, Nana Lampton, Maurice Manning, and more in collaboration with publishers like Larkspur Press & October Press.
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