The Forest Spiral
The Forest Spiral (formerly known as Written in the Trees) is an open-air meditation temple made from glass suspended in the forest at Beyul Retreat. As a contemplative art environment, it is designed for peace, wonder and renewal.
The Forest Spiral is sited in a natural spiral of lodgepole pines. Reaching 125’ in length and 16’ at its highest point, the art installation creates a 540-square-foot glass enclosure for meditation, ceremony and ritual. Accompanying the piece are a dozen wooden meditation stools and, in the near future, a center altar table. Created in collaboration with Beyul Retreat, the Forest Spiral represents our shared belief in the restorative power of art and nature.
I forage for old trash in abandoned dumping grounds from the mining era, before there were modern landfills. My finds are the hard bits that have endured for more than 100 years: metal, pottery and bottles, which I call “mountain glass.” It’s like sea glass, but tumbled by gravity and dirt, instead of waves and water. I use these materials as the basis for my sculptures and installations, which I hope will provoke conversations about what it means to throw something "away" and to make something that lasts, particularly out of discards.
The Forest Spiral is located at Beyul, a 32-acre retreat center in Meredith, Colorado, that offers programs to reconnect with nature, community, and self. Sited along the public 10th Mountain Trail, which transects Beyul land, the Forest Spiral provides access to art and space for contemplation for residents and visitors of the Upper Frying Pan River Valley. Its unique location along a public trail easement ensures that the forest temple will remain free and open to the community.
The goal of the project is to create a listening room in the woods: a space to attune to one’s innermost thoughts and to the forest. I hope to honor the forest, which lies on Ute Indian ancestral homeland, and inspire visitors to protect it. As a space for healing and contemplation, the concept of "doing no harm" — to the trees, wildlife and habitat — has been at the heart of design decisions. As part of my process, I consulted Colorado Parks & Wildlife, Pitkin County, and a local biologist and wildlife expert, as well as arborist best practices. The first step was to remove old barbed wire (from previous owners) that was girdling some of the trees, making room for new growth and a reciprocal relationship with the forest. Through ceremonies and rituals on site, I hope to continue to build energy at The Forest Spiral, which I think of as the invisible — and essential — architecture of the piece.
I would like to extend my whole heart to everyone who showed up for the Forest Spiral. More than 150 helpers collaborated to bring the project to life, donating money, time and/or expertise. Seeing all the names on this list makes me immensely happy. My goodness, what an affirmation of community.
Amiee White Beazley
Andre + Julie Wille
Christy Sauer Mahon
DJ John Felix
Georgina Rumsey Levey
Karla Hope Miller
Madelyn Soldner Sullivan
Ruth + John Ward
Shannon Day + Aspen High ExEd students
Susan Brady + the Motley Crew
Teresa Booth Brown
Aspen Art Museum
Project 18 Inc.
Red Brick Center for the Arts
SWIFT (Rifle Correctional Center State Wildland Inmate Fire Team)
The Art Base
The Creative Fund by BackerKit