So for Mother’s Day last year, I gave my mom a present: a family tree for her basement. I finally finished it recently.
It’s made from just a thin board that we cut with a jigsaw. I drew out the tree template and then scanned it to my computer and projected onto the board. We traced it, cut it out, and realized we were missing a limb, so we had to improvise a bit. But that just made the tree a little more imperfect and life like.
The leaves are of my parents and grandparents, going back to my great-great-great grandparents, so a total of five generations are represented. I tracked down a lot of photos, though I couldn’t find all of them. I put on birthdays, marriage dates, and death dates, with the respective location for each event. Gathering the information and creating the leaves took up quite a bit of my time.
The leaves are simply photos that I printed and then cut, and they are attached to the board with double sided tape. They can be reprinted if anything happens to them–or if errors are found. Someone on that tree is born in the wrong century.
One of the things I loved about this project was that when I saw all those pictures together, I realized that people just look like people. Most of us aren’t really gorgeous and beautiful and we have big noses or pointy chins or weird cheekbones. And it’s okay.