I was raised in a house on the banks of the Shiawassee River. (The area is now the Curwood Castle Park and home of the Shiawassee Art Center.)
The sound of the river is one of my earliest memories and a sound that still brings peace to my soul.
The Shiawassee River has important ecoregional significance. It has been identified as the best remaining example of a warm-water river system within the western Lake Huron basin. From the headwater wetlands in Oakland County, with its prairie fens, wet meadows and swamps that support a diverse assemblage of rare plants and animals, to the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, which is a globally significant stopover habitat for migrating waterfowl and shorebirds, the Shiawassee River is important to restore, maintain and appreciate. Locally as well as globally.
Cities and towns were built along the Shiawassee and each one is full of history because the river was their original highway. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. said, "Rivers define the context that gives us our sense of community. They link us to our history, to our past and to the landscapes, which are the source, ultimately, of our values and virtues and characters as people. And they are also just magical places."
There is so much talk now about the environment. There is much to do. This woodblock series of prints will, I hope, draw attention to the importance of our rivers.
This series came about because of a fire. Actually, two fires. Two fires that devastated downtown Owosso. One resulted in the loss of the Lebowsky Center - home of the Owosso Community Players and the other a fire that resulted in the loss of a young man's life. Neither fire has been solved.
I had long planned to do a series on the architecture of the building of Owosso and with these two fires it just seemed time to do it. I already had a catalog of photos I had taken of the upper portions of many of the buildings in town. Some showed features now gone. After the second fire, I spent a few weeks getting the rest of the photos I wanted.
I have 7 prints finished from what will eventually be 20.