Each project begins by carving frozen river water into the form of a book. Some books are large and weigh as much as 250 pounds; others are the size of a pocket book. Each is embedded with an “ecological language” or “riparian text” consisting of local native seeds. The book is then placed back into the stream.
Closed books have seed patterns on the covers, while open books have rows of seeds forming sentences and paragraphs. These seeds are released as the ice melts in the current. Where the seeds choose to plant themselves is serendipitous, replicating the way seeds get planted in nature.
A young girl “reads” ice-book text comprised of Fremont cottonwood seed (Populus fremontii) beside the Rio Grande in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
There have been ice book projects locally in Washington state at the Nisqually and Skookumchuck Rivers. Here’s an ice book containing snow berries. It was released into the Nisqually River in 2008.