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I created this artist book as a quiet exploration of the state trees of the United States. 44 pages, 6.25 x 9.25 x 1.5″, 2 variable copies made.

Fifty Trees book by Emily Longbrake, 2018

Materials & tools:

  • Inkjet-printable synthetic vellum
  • Water-based monoprint pigments and media
  • Pen-and-ink drawings on bond paper
  • Digitization of drawings with Adobe Illustrator
  • Scanning of monoprints with an HP LaserJet Pro 200 color MFP
  • Page imposition with Adobe InDesign
  • Laser printing on top of monoprints with an HP LaserJet Pro 200 color MFP
  • Hand-binding with cotton thread using single sheet coptic stitch

Quotations about tree species:

Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.
Berg, Peter editor. Reinhabiting a Separate Country: A Bioregional Anthology of Northern California. San Francisco: Planet Drum Foundation, 1978. Attributed to John Muir.

The pine tree seems to listen, the fir tree to wait: and both without impatience:  they give no thought to the little people beneath them devoured by their impatience and their curiosity.
Nietzsche, Friedrich. Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits. 1878.

In snowbound, voiceless mountain depths, to herald spring, pine trees sound in tune.
String of Beads: Complete Poems of Princess Shikishi. 1200

Around in silent grandeur stood the stately children of the wood.
Maple and elm and towering pine mantled in folds of dark woodbine.
Dorr, Julia C. R. “At the Gate,” Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations. New York, London: Funk & Wagnalls company, 1922.

Night hovers all day in the boughs of the fir tree.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Essays: Second Series, 1844

An oak is no respecter of persons.
Leopold, Aldo. A Sand County Almanac. London; New York: Oxford University Press, 1949.

And the poorest twig on the elm-tree was ridged inch deep with pearl.
Lowell, James Russell. “Love,” The Poetical Works of James Russell Lowell. Boston, J.R. Osgood, 1871.

Dark spruce forest frowned on either side the frozen waterway. The trees had been stripped by a recent wind of their white covering of frost, and they seemed to lean towards each other, black and ominous, in the fading light. A vast silence reigned over the land.
London, Jack. White Fang. New York :Tom Doherty Associates, 1989.

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.
Muir, John. John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir; edited by Linnie Marsh Wolfe (1938, reprinted by University of Wisconsin Press, 1979). Quote from July 1890, page 313.

And in the afternoon they entered a land – but such a land! A land hung in mourning, darkened by gigantic cypresses, submerged; a land of reptiles, silence, shadow, decay.
Cable, George Washington. The Grandissimes: A Story of Creole Life. Scribener’s Monthly, Vol. 29, 1880.

The maple tree that night without wind or rain let go its leaves because its time had come.
McCarthy, Eugene. “The Maple Tree.” Cool Reflections. Owings Mills, Maryland, 1997.

The stripped and shapely maple grieves the ghosts of her departed leaves. The ground is hard, as hard as stone. The year is old. The birds have flown.
Updike, John. “November,” A Child’s Calendar: Poems. Live Oak Media, 2004.

Heed not the night; a summer lodge amid the wild is mine— ’Tis shadowed by the tulip-tree, ’tis mantled by the vine.
Bryant, William Cullen. “The Strange Lady,” Poems. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1840.

The seed was sown—it budded—it blossomed—attained maturity;
It spread out—and budded again and joined line to line—
Like the candle-nut strung on one stem;
‘Tis lighted—it burns aglow and sheds its light around o’er the land.
Translation of the “Tako” [song] by S. Savage. Dr. Wyatt Gill’s papers. Journal of the Polynesian Society, Vol. 21, No. 2. New Plymouth, New Zealand: 1912.

O had the monster seen those lily hands tremble like aspen leaves upon a lute.
Shakespeare, William. Titus Andronicus. 1564-1616

The birch trees loom ahead like a brotherhood of ghosts.
Sandell, Lisa Ann. Song of the Sparrow, 2007. New York: Scholastic Press, 2001.

Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above
Don’t fence me in
Let me ride through the wide open country that I love
Don’t fence me in
Let me be by myself in the evenin’ breeze
And listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees
Send me off forever but I ask you please
Don’t fence me in
Porter, Cole. “Don’t Fence Me In.” New York: Harms, 1945.

Did the palo verde blush yellow all at once?
Armantrout, Rae. “Unbidden,” Middletown, Wesleyan University Press, 2010.


State trees:

StateTreeScientific NameDate Adopted
AlabamaLongleaf PinePinus palustris1949
AlaskaSitka SprucePicea sitchensis1962
ArizonaBlue Palo VerdeParkinsonia florida1954
ArkansasLoblolly PinePinus taeda1939
CaliforniaCoast Redwood / Giant SequoiaSequoia sempervirens / Sequoiadendron giganteum1937
ColoradoColorado Blue SprucePicea pungens1939
ConnecticutWhite Oak “See Also: Charter OakQuercus alba1947
DelawareAmerican HollyIlex opaca1939
FloridaSabal PalmSabal palmetto1953
GeorgiaSouthern Live OakQuercus virginiana1937
HawaiiCandlenut TreeAleurites moluccanus1959
IdahoWestern White PinePinus monticola1935
IllinoisWhite OakQuercus alba1973
IndianaTulip TreeLiriodendron tulipifera1931
IowaBur OakQuercus macrocarpa1961
KansasEastern CottonwoodPopulus deltoides1937
KentuckyTulip-treeLiriodendron tulipifera1956
LouisianaBald CypressTaxodium distichum1963
MaineEastern White PinePinus strobus1945
MarylandWhite OakQuercus alba1941
MassachusettsAmerican ElmUlmus americana1941
MichiganEastern White PinePinus strobus1955
MinnesotaRed PinePinus resinosa1953
MississippiSouthern MagnoliaMagnolia grandiflora1952
MissouriFlowering DogwoodCornus florida1955
MontanaPonderosa PinePinus ponderosa1949
NebraskaEastern CottonwoodPopulus deltoides1972
NevadaBristlecone PinePinus longaeva1987
New HampshireAmerican White BirchBetula papyrifera1947
New JerseyNorthern Red OakQuercus rubra1950
New MexicoPiñon PinePinus edulis1949
New YorkSugar MapleAcer saccharum1956
North CarolinaLongleaf PinePinus palustris1963
North DakotaAmerican ElmUlmus americana2007
OhioOhio BuckeyeAesculus glabra1953
OklahomaEastern RedbudCercis canadensis1937
OregonDouglas-firPseudotsuga menziesii1939
PennsylvaniaEastern HemlockTsuga canadensis1931
Rhode IslandRed MapleAcer rubrum1964
South CarolinaSabal PalmSabal palmetto1939
South DakotaBlack Hills SprucePicea glauca1947
TennesseeTulip-treeLiriodendron tulipifera1947
TexasPecanCarya illinoinensis1919
UtahQuaking AspenPopulus tremuloides2014
VermontSugar MapleAcer saccharum1949
VirginiaFlowering dogwoodCornus florida1956
WashingtonWestern HemlockTsuga heterophylla1947
West VirginiaSugar MapleAcer saccharum1949
WisconsinSugar MapleAcer saccharum1949
WyomingPlains CottonwoodPopulus deltoides1947
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