Blazing Trails through Art

Peak One Art Studio — a collective of wood burned art, stories + design — exists to create blazes of beauty for the trails that have shaped us.

The concept of the ‘blaze’ in Peak One Art Studio’s mission statement came to life through a snail mail letter hand-crafted atop Lookout Mountain, Georgia following the summer of 2018. The slow pace of words that traveled cross country to a Denver doorstep arrived at a high time for slow reflection following the hustle of summer soccer camps, and life. It was a reflective letter about lessons learned, hiking, and the way forward. It was a letter from a friend who’s eager to see love in every little bit of life.

It spoke of a hiking trip on the Long Trail in Vermont. The trail is widely known as “the footpath in the wilderness” with its 272-mile footpath, 166 miles of side trails, and 70 backcountry campsites. The Long Trail is marked by two-by-six-inch white blazes, while the majority of its side trails are blazed in blue.

Long Trail, Vermont

The letter mentioned a guy named Mr. Don Hill, whose memory is kept alive at a resting point along the trail near Spruce Peak. After his passing, his son wrote of him and posted it on the trail saying, “This man loved these woods and wanted to share them with others. He was a great man and did this for over 50 years.”

Don spent much of his life ‘repainting blazes’ on the trail. The walking, painting and upkeep of the trail was this man’s way of making the journey for others possible, better and clearer. It was a rather unknown and ordinary contribution to the world, albeit many a hiker would argue, an important one.

The concept of “painting blazes” in life was striking; the words explaining Mr. Hill’s work came alive on the crinkly paper as his story was respectfully honored. Mr. Hill’s legacy of kindness and care lives on after his death in a small pocket of Vermont along a meandering trail. He is known in the hiking community, while fairly unknown in many other spheres.

Many of us will inhabit quite small spheres of influence in this life. We will paint blazes and leave legacies in the pockets of earth where we dwell, and those pockets will grow more beautiful as more ordinary folks tend to them.

The goal of Peak One Art Studio is to contribute to some small pockets and communities where beautiful images can be blazed onto wood to tell important stories. It is one niche of enjoyable work to be done in this world, and the Studio is excited to take part in creating art that holds deep, life-giving meaning.

May we all move joyfully along, contented to paint the blazes still needed on all the trails ahead.

Andrea + Jack on the Long Trail, September 2018

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