small logo


tree lined path

Daniels headshot

About the Artist - LORI DANIELS

TREES by Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

If Lori Daniels were put her creative inspirations into words, Joyce Kilmer’s poem, Trees, would tell her story.  Trees are a symbol of rebirth; and Lori’s art communicates with the these living beings. A tree is her muse, her God, her religion.

Imagery of trees, fruit, flowers, and vines are reoccurring themes in decorative Victorian tins. They were popular in American buildings in the late 19th century, mimicking hand carved plaster ceilings in Europe. After the Industrial Revolution, with the rise of other styles such as Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and the Arts and Crafts movement, ceiling tins became less popular. Lori reclaims the tin as salvaged architecture and reassembles it into art.

Lori paints and glazes traditional solid reliefs that feature nature–inspired subject matter. She also reorganizes various tins into collages with raised panels which create more depth. Lori paints and glazes each tile within the composition. No two works are the same because Lori claims she cannot precisely reproduce her own glaze and paint mixtures, like nature itself. The outcome also depends on the condition of the tin, the temperature and humidity at the time of glazing, and the amount of fossil fuel residue from the burning of coal, wood, or oil. An unaltered tin used in a collage could have one layer of 160 year old milk paint on it. Some tins are fresh and new, like springtime buds, because they were never installed. Only one coat of glaze can be applied per day. The process takes time, nothing is immediate. The tins average a total of ten layers of color/glaze.

Lori earned an art degree from Bradley University in 1992 and has been an antique dealer for over thirty years; yet just collecting valuable historical items was not enough for her. She recomposes and adds color and depth to the tins, the resulting work can be described as modern bas relief sculpture. Lori says her finished work reminds her of smaller vintage fired ceramic tiles. Her collages remind the viewer of the process of entropy, nature’s tendency towards chaos: A violent tornado, an eroding valley, or decaying wood. Yet also evident in Lori’s work is an underlying structure, the innate tendency of nature to follow some intrinsic pattern, an unconscious universal esthetic. The tin relief sculptures are not merely decorative relics from the past. They have been reclaimed, renewed, and resurrected by Lori, who thanks the trees for inspiring her.

- from comments by Klara Klapp, Design Consultant, Lustre Gallery