The Ice Age National Scenic Trail is a work-in-progress spanning about 1,200 miles across Wisconsin. It marks the boundary of the most recent glacier that retreated more than 10,000 years ago. Its forces created a phenomenal series of land forms and sculpted familiar vistas across the state.
It's a delight living within 15 minutes of about half a dozen segments of the Ice Age Trail (IAT), part of the National Park System. It's been a privilege discovering these gems throughout the years. The Ice Age Trail has been a major inspiration for my work- through rain, sleet, snow, and subtle seasonal changes. The art that that is inspired and sometimes created here is my celebration of the IAT, the 100th birthday of our National Parks, and the lands that belong to us all.
My artwork is generally abstract, movement, and process-oriented. It's a reaction to place and moment, influenced by intentional walking in nature. "Intentional walking" means being fully present in the moment- just breathing the wholeness of nature. When my mind starts to wander, which it often does, I bring it back with breath. In this way, I experience things I wouldn't normally notice. Animal interactions are common and I observe plants, colors, and day-to-day changes I mightn't otherwise. I sometimes mark my path with little offerings made from objects I find along the way, taking care never to harm protected and delicate lands.
I look forward to sharing the work this trail inspires. A place to observe awaits...
The "Cross Plains National Scientific Reserve" segment of the Ice Age Trail,
home to future interpretive center, offers tremendous views to Blue Mounds.
Artist and naturalist Michelle Louis has a vigorous curiosity about the natural world. She walks with intention in wild places at least 1,200 miles yearly, much of it on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. She makes art documenting her experience along the way and in her studio.