Orcas Island artist Laura Yeats has developed a unique relationship with a particular species of the island’s ubiquitous flora: the madrona tree. She uses the madrona’s gnarled, spout-like knots—which form as the tree self-prunes and heals itself—to create her imaginative bud vessels. “They started out as solid, sculptural pieces,” Yeats says, “but Nisha Klein [owner of Capitol Hill shop Niche Outside] asked me to transform them into functional vases.”
Over a period of about six weeks, Yeats creates the vases, using tools that include chain saws and band saws top reserve the shape of the knot and bore out the center, inserting a concealed, custom glass tube to hold water and stems. Yeats’ pieces give new life to the madrona tree, as she uses only knots from limbs that have already died.
“To me, turning these fallen trees into art or something useful like a vessel is giving this tree a second life as another object of beauty to enjoy.” Capitol Hill, Niche Outside, 1424 11th Ave.; 206.939.7913; nicheoutside.com. Also available at laurayeats.com