Glens Falls -- Terese Trapper is proving that it is still possible to be touched and moved by natural art.
Her "Woodland Divas" displayed at the 38th Annual LARAC Festival on Saturday, were creating audible gasps of awe out
of the mouths of attendees as they happen upon her booth.
Her constructions center around an idylic baby's face or the face of a woman (man) who appears blissfully serene.
Trapper sculpted the faces from clay and then used the molds to create paper mache heads encircled with bits of elements found
in nature, like seed pods, bark or mushrooms to make hair and give the handiwork whimsical personalities that seem to resonate
with passers-by and artist alike.
Trapper, who has been selling her pieces for about a year, said she has experienced a range of reactions to her work.
Any reaction from people is okay with Trapper.
"They're special," said Trapper. "If they don't buy it, I'm happy, too. I'm glad not everyone likes it."
That the piece communicates to the buyer is something Trapper is willing to wait for.
"I want it to touch you like it touches me," she said, describing her work. "They give me joy. It's like
our kids. You can't have favorites but some strike you a little bit better then others."
Some of this joy came to Trapper through excursions walking around and appreciating the beauty of nature while growing
up, she said.
Instead of visiting a store, it was walking through the woods that Trapper went when she was searching for art supplies.
"I've always seen faces in the woods," said Trapper. "Ideas spark and away I went."
Trapper said it is not unusual for her to drag it with her for miles when she has found something inspiring. Once
when she was in Michigan, she said she found a bunch of fallen tree branches intricately intertwined with pine cones and filled
her car with them, which left no room for her suitcases of clothes. Instead of ditching the debris, she chose to ship
the suitcases home on the bus.
Trapper said she gathers her goods from the ground on public land or asks the landowners for pernission before taking
anything away. Festival shopper Leah Mason, a Fort Ann resident, said her father often receives requests from people
wanting to use his land.
"They really appreciated people asking," said Mason. "I know people don't usually say 'no.'"
One person saying "yes" to Trapper's art was Linda Kennedy, who picked up one of the pieces for her sister. Kennedy
said she has been coming to LARAC every year because she likes the individuality of the items available.
"You don't buy something like this everyday," said Kennedy. "They're unique, nothing you can find at the mall."