The school year is winding down and I’ve been acutely aware of the passing of time as I have two commissions to finish and deliver before the final bell rings. So most days this week, you could find me sitting on the floor of my studio with a toothbrush, two bottles of patina, a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and this tree. Regular readers of the blog might recall that I spent a lot of time in April sitting on the floor attaching branches and then, in early May, sitting on the floor wrapping the tree in copper wire; this tree has involved a lot of hours of sitting on the floor! The patina I was applying with the toothbrush darkens the metal but I wanted to keep some of the glittery copper peaking through; that’s where the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser came in. After applying the patina, I would scrub some of it off—basically patina on, patina off— until it was simultaneously dark and glittery. Attached to some of the branches are clusters of red glass cherries which were part of a drawing I used as inspiration for this tree. Perched on a branch is a little bird and, if you look carefully, you can see inside her chest is a red glass heart. Within the next few weeks, I will deliver this piece to James Monroe Elementary School in Edison, NJ where it will stand in the courtyard as a tribute to a beautiful girl who lived her short life with courage and joy. Her spirit lives on in the foundation that bears her name, the Marisa Tufaro Foundation.