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At Home With: Ian Johnson

Warehouse manager, firefighter in training at J. Sargeant Reynolds

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One of my roommates, Cy Bearer — who I've been living with for about five years now — his father passed away a little over a year ago. Shortly before that, my other roommate Jason [Snyder] introduced me to Andy Goldsworthy. He's an [installation] artist, and a lot of the things that he does are out in nature. He makes things without tools out of natural materials that will be washed away or taken away by the tide, ice sculptures and stone walls, stuff like that.

Jason played a DVD of Goldsworthy's work for me, and I thought it would be something that Cy's dad would like. His dad has always been fond of the outdoors, and he would make little homes for critters out in the woods. His dad really liked the DVD. Unfortunately, a few months after that, he passed away.

Jason and I thought it would be a good idea to build the nest in his memory. We call it George's Nest. When we moved in, there was a privacy fence in the backyard that was overgrown with bushes that we cut down. Most of what we used on the inner layer was grapevine, because it curled so nicely, and the rest of the trees that we chopped up were mulberry. They've got really straight sticks so they hold together nicely. We tried to do the colors so that they went from light to dark from the outside to the inside.

We've just left it up and as the seasons have changed, it's gotten a little more covered up and muffled, and I'm sure there's a few things living in it. As things fall out of the tree, we just add to it. The neighbors like it. We figured one day, when Cy was ready, we could put it in a bonfire, sing songs, have drinks, share memories, stuff like that. HS



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