Sunday, August 05, 2007

white pine floor

The white pine is the state tree of Michigan. We chose plain white pine boards for the floor of the atelier, our studio, formerly a chicken coop. Before I left for Ireland, Don and Peter worked on it, using old fashioned cut nails to install the boards. While I was in Ireland these past two weeks, Don finished installing the boards, sanded for four hours, then rolled the spar - the varnish used for wooden boats. We wanted the boards to be unstained so they would gradually age into the golden glow that pine turns over time.

The white pine has a lot of symbolism in the US, and in Michigan. The Haudenosaunee Indians (pejoratively called Iroquois, meaning "black snakes" in French, which they translated from what a rival Huron tribe called them) considered it their symbol of peace because of the union of the five tribes under their peace treaty. White pine needles grow in clusters of five. The five tribes Cayuga, Mohawk, Oneida, Onodaga, and Seneca were united after centuries of war, into one Indian nation. (These tribes are from the eastern US, and there may be information about the white pine symbol in Michigan, but I didn't find it.)

This union of Indian tribes is considered to be the longest running constitutional government still existing, and was partially the model used for the US government.

Now that the floor is done, we are going to create a ceremony for blessing l'atelier, using the Native American stories of peacemaking as a guide. Then we will move the furnishings in.

I found much of this interesting information about the Haudenosaunee and the white pine at this nice site.


Mrs. M. said...

This is gorgeous! Don and Peter did a great job--can't wait to see it in person! :)

Ruth said...

Glad you like it, Mrs. M., because I agree it's splendid. Are you planning a visit to Katy this fall?? :)

Mrs. M. said...

Other than bringing her to school in 2 weeks, we are coming for parents' weekend the first weekend of Nov. Let us know if you are able to come over...?...or if our only opportunity is to go to you.

Emma is coming up the middle of October to Holland, and Laura for Siblings' Weekend in February.

Ruth said...

Good! Please keep us posted on the dates as they come up!

Ginnie said...

Oh, Ruth! This is so awesome...especially in the context of the Native American history. When do you plan to have the ceremony???

Ruth said...

Ginnie/Boots, I don't know when we'll do it. Have to think it through, decide what it will be. It will be simple, above all. Maybe just a couple of white pine branches and a lit candle, a few words of peace. Ask all the good guardians to bless it and us.

Rauf said...

Being in some places makes you FEEL purified Ruth, This seems to be one such place. i don't waste time in meditation or yoga, i have many other ways of wasting my time, i love wasting time doing nothing. and i would love to waste my time doing nothing in l'Atlier, just sit on the floor.

You'll not agree with me Ruth, i don't believe in fengchooi Chooifeng or vaastu pashtoo shaastra, but l'Atlier is vibrating with energy.

Rauf said...

Splendid Job Don and Peter !

Ruth said...

rauf, I'm glad you feel it there, thousands of miles away. I don't know about feng sui either, but I agree with some of what they say, like don't have the corner of a desk pointing at the door. That makes sense to me. Hahaha. But yes, you don't need to do anything in this room, but breathe.

deslilas said...

There's something "scandinavian" in your photos. People, buildings are different. But there is a natural feeling which makes me think about the house of my daughter in the south of Sweden or some memories of visits we paid to relatives of my wife in Finland.

Ruth said...

I'm glad you said that, Deslilas. Maybe I'm finally connecting with some ethnic roots, even though it was subconscious. My grandmother was born in Chicago, but her parents were from Sweden (I believe). And I've loved the illustrations of Carl Larsson since I was young. A friend told me recently that he thought this studio looked Swedish too. Now I see the resemblance to one of my favorite Larsson illustrations:

Top photo here:

sex said...