“Alamo Canyon Panorama” is a tribute to my favorite section of the Arizona Trail. When I caught my first glimpse into the canyon, I was awestruck by the grandeur of the landscape stretching before me. The panoramas of the high desert are expansive and dramatic, and I wanted to celebrate the vastness of the high desert landscape by creating a large-scale wool felting of Alamo Canyon in the Tonto National Forest, Passage 17 of the Arizona National Scenic Trail. Spanning more than five feet long, this felting, the largest I’d created at the time, was a multi-month undertaking.
From the rhyolite hoodoos to the scrub grasses, from the trail in the foreground to the distant hills, and from the well-worn drainage channels to the highlights and shadows on the canyon walls, there are so many details I enjoyed bringing out in this piece. I think my favorite details are a few minuscule saguaro cacti—maybe 1/4” high in my felting—that stand atop the cliffs on the canyon. Each of these cacti is probably 40’ tall, and using reference photos to add them to the felting makes the immensity of the high desert more perceptible.
So much of our backcountry has a deep history that is sometimes forgotten, or even deliberately ignored. These rugged places aren’t unpopulated wildlands—though they generally feature flourishing ecosystems and minimal scars from human use—they are part of the historic lands of Native peoples. The Tonto National Forest is no exception. Within the land set aside for preservation more than 100 years ago lie sacred Apache lands, lands that have recently been threatened by the discovery of a copper vein and the inevitable land exchange that resulted.
To care for the Earth is to care for the people who inhabit it, and vice versa.
Available in 2023