Introducing Our #CreateTheMon Digital Gallery: Celebrating Our Wild & Wonderful Mon National Forest!
Mike Jones, Public Lands Coordinator with WV Rivers Coalition, here! This National Public Lands Day, we asked WV artists to head into the Monongahela National Forest and then share their creations with us.
We’re excited to introduce our #CreateTheMon digital gallery. Ten talented artists have joined us in this celebration, sharing their creations on social media with #CreateTheMon, @wvrivers, and @wvpubliclands. A handful of those artists shared their work to be featured below.
To kick things off, I’d like to share a moment from a recent hike near Horseshoe. I snapped a photo (just with my iPhone!) of an ancient 220-year-old maple tree, and it feels like I captured the Spirit of the Forest itself. Is it a trick of light or a Forest Fairy? You decide!
Abigail Montgomery submitted the following illustration and dedication.
“Tucked away safely on the side of the highest ridge of the Alleghenies is the home of Dorothy and Fay Bennett.
Grandma Dot served as a welcoming, steady light to her family and community of Circleville. Unwavering in her contagious joy and steadfast in her faith, she stood fiercely amongst the windy hills of Spruce Knob and, there, her love will continue to endure as she rests peacefully overlooking the rest of the Mountain State ~ truly Almost Heaven. Always patient, always kind, and always with a smile. We’ll be drinking margarets together again.” (@_abimontg on Instagram.)
Nevada Tribble spent some time at the Shavers Fork making paper and doing cyanotypes in the river.
Nevada stated that “This river is an endless source of inspiration for me.” (@nevada.wv on Instagram.)
Kadra Casseday submitted the following painting
“Spruce Mountain South: Father and son camping trip to transition seasons” (@studio.at.212 on Instagram.)
Tucker Riggleman submitted the following poems.
“Lesser Faiths” (@focus_your_iris on Instagram.)
“baptism”(@focus_your_iris on Instagram.)
“live / work / love” originally appeared in The Nervous Breakdown. (@focus_your_iris on Instagram.)
Kiki Alba submitted the following pieces.
Wet plate collodion (tintype) of cottongrass in a bog in autumn: a place and time that’s really special to me. Monongahela Nat’l Forest; Tucker County, WV (@wonderwagon.wv on Instagram.)
Cyanotype on fabric: examples of flora from the woods around my house (fern; lycopodium; rhododendron; columbine). Monongahela Nat’l Forest; Tucker County, WV (@wonderwagon.wv on Instagram.)
Cyanotype of columbine growing near my house; Monongahela Nat’l Forest; Tucker County, WV (@wonderwagon.wv on Instagram.)
Study on moss (a weaving) – mixed fibers and wood (@wonderwagon.wv on Instagram.)
Wet plate collodion (tintype) from an ongoing series entitled “Watershed Portraits”: Shavers Fork at Bemis (@wonderwagon.wv on Instagram.)
Wet plate collodion (tintype) from the “Watershed Portraits” series: Shavers Fork at Channels Run (@wonderwagon.wv on Instagram.)
Kyle Dan’l Mills submitted the following piece titled, “Long Live the Cheat.”
Three Forks of Cheat When I listen to the old-time fiddle tune Three Forks of Cheat, I picture the namesake river. The notes rise and fall quickly— twinning an important trait of the water. Fingers move on a fiddleneck the same way the river dances— pulled into the future at all the right moments. On its banks, I’ve had blessed moments. The Shavers Fork is my Past Fork of the Cheat— where my mind goes to remember my fondest mountain dances. When moon and fire reflected off the surface of the river, and downstream a black bear crossed the water. We watched it move until its own blackness met the night quickly. Rivulets and brooks tumble off the mountains quickly, and gather together in the pools for still moments. Trout must also pray upwards, eyes always on surface of the water, hidden in the shadowy Black Fork of the Cheat. They are content to keep against the current, watching upriver. Swimming up rapids and falls, trout master their own dances. Joyfully, I also know about the whitewater dances. When my canoe must allemande and weave and do-si-do and circle ‘round quickly through the Dry Fork canyon of the river. Summer sun and welcoming souls connect to raise the standard of the moments, and all-together makes the happiness we always seek on the Present Fork of Cheat— which we wear on us, dripping down our faces, like a great and holy water. To examine life is to study water, and viewed from a swimming hole, all the living dances— like the Glady Fork of the Cheat. Instead of getting to the end of its tune quickly, it flows forth slowly in splendid moments— until it can grow into a river. I cannot know my Future Fork of the river, I only hope it can be had on this water. On Earth we are given few moments and I want to spend it in and where rainfall dances, because it will all be over heartbreakingly quickly. Gladly, I’d spend what I have left on the Laurel Fork of the Cheat Past, present, and future; flowing simultaneously in the Cheat, that mighty river Go to it quickly, see your reflection in the water. See how your essence dances, and steal away these moments.
Thank you to all the artists who participated to help us #CreateTheMon and to all of our supporters for being a part of this movement to protect and appreciate our public lands.
Together, we can ensure that future generations can revel in the wonder and majesty that is the Monongahela National Forest.
Stay Wild & Wonderful,
Public Lands Coordinator