No. 17. Earth Day at 50: The Year of the Tree

Year of the Tree
Year of the Tree

Excerpt From Lisa Sheid’s article “Earth Day at 50: The Year of the Tree,” April 24 Reading Eagle

A forest for the future

In Tilden Township, artists Martha and Jay Ressler planted more than 700
trees on their 2-acre property.
“When we heard that just 2 acres of trees is considered a forest and that each
county in Pennsylvania has a forester who can help homeowners start one, we
wanted to plant our own,” Martha Ressler said.
Martha is a fiber artist, and Jay a photographer. They are both nature lovers.
Berks County forester Rick Hartleib came and advised them on which trees
would be best to plant, where to buy the seedlings and how to care for them.
The Resslers began planning months ago. With the help of three friends,
Cindy Walls, Libby Cerrulo and Glenn Sweigert, they completed the planting
on April 6.
They chose mostly hardwoods: oaks, red maple, hornbeam, locust,
persimmon, birch, sweetgum and others, but also 75 Eastern red cedars, said
Jay Ressler. The red cedars thrive in the area at the base of Blue Mountain,
where they have made their property a haven for birds and pollinators
“We also chose a number of short trees like dogwood and crabapple and
shrubs, because we didn’t want tall trees to obscure my sister’s view of Blue
Mountain,” Jay said. “She lives next door.”
Each tree is protected by a tube called a tree shelter, which keeps deer from
destroying the seedlings, and to keep them from drying out. A hardwood stake
is attached to the tree shelter to keep it upright, the Resslers said.
In this case, stakes were cut by a local saw mill from dead ash trees
Jay cut down along the edges of the property as part of preparing the land.
“Ash is not as durable as black locust, which is generally recommended, but
these stakes came at a price we could afford,” Jay said. “A bird net completes
the assemblage to prevent birds from flying down the tube.”
Martha said the tree planting was a lot of work.
“There is no question that this was a lot of work, but we feel this was an
important contribution, and will enjoy it in coming years,” she said. “Our
property is scheduled to be part of the Hamburg Garden Tour on June 13, so
the public can come take a look.”

PDF of Full article HERE (Scroll to page 4)

Jay M. Ressler

Jay Ressler Composite Photography, Encaustic Art, and Oil Painting He is an outstanding location photographer and painter, with an eye that can capture the soul of a Havana back street as beautifully as the sip of a hungry hummingbird, often with compelling black and white images. Jay Ressler is best known for artistic expression that lives in layers between opposites. “I like to explore boundaries,” he explains. “Boundaries between consciousness and the unconscious, between reality and imagination, between certainty and skepticism.” He does this by compositing his own photography in multiple layers to produce stunningly original, interleaved images. Using Photoshop, other image manipulation software and a variety of digital effects, he paints one photographic layer on top of another. He takes advantage of textures he's captured along with an array of processes for manipulating light, contrast, and color to tell the story. “Distorting and reinterpreting the literal 'machine moments' captured by the camera is as old as the art of photography,” he insists. Jay occasionally extends his multi-layered approach to encaustic mixed media creations. Based on ancient techniques, the process begins with cooking his own recipes of beeswax and damar resin and applying this medium between the layers of photographic images, along with various pigmented compounds and materials to add color, texture and expression. Either way, the results are riveting. The viewer is drawn into an unfolding, dreamlike scene that might be heart-warming, haunting, gritty, poignant or magical. Sometimes, within the various layers, all of the above. The award-winning photographer/artist has many dimensions himself. He studied advanced digital photography at Pittsburgh Filmmakers and advanced encaustic techniques with leading instructors in the field. He worked as an underground coal miner, steelworker, machinist, labor and civil rights activist, copywriter and commercial printer. He has a BS in Psychology from Albright College.

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