• Mae

The Taiga: The Queen

Updated: Mar 19, 2019


“Made of bones of the branches

The boughs and the brow-beating light”



"Her Domain" ©Mae Horak


The Queen of the forest is the Taiga’s monarch, the all-powerful ruler of the dark forest. Her very body is the branches of the trees she watches over. She is a powerful creature.


To start creating the forest Queen, I worked with a very structured corset, made with hand-dyed green silk and dyed cheesecloth details with lots of tiny beaded details. I was attempting to create a natural, moss-like texture on this piece. For the skirt, I ended up actually using real moss as a detail at the top. The Queen’s fingers are real tree branches, as are the sticks that sprout from the center of her hair. Zach and I went for a few hikes to scout the location of this shoot and collect the sticks that became the Queens extended fingers and Headpiece!


Working on the Wig/Headdress Piece

Some of my favorite pieces of the series so far, featuring Zach

I asked Kimmy Lola Cunningham, an amazing Boston model, stylist and artist whose work I love to become the Forest Queen, and took her measurements a few months back, expecting that we would not be able to shoot until the spring. But we’ve had an uncharacteristically warm early winter, and the snowfall from late autumn has long since melted. So we planned a shoot for a relatively warm Saturday. Kimmy, Gail, Zach and I set out into the forest, carefully moving branches aside so the branches of the headdress would not catch on the “real” trees. As always I can not express enough how incredible all of these people are, to wake up early, hike into the woods carrying suitcases of costumes and photo equipment to create these images.



"Boughs and Branches" ©Mae Horak


I love how she blends in with the trees, and how the bright green pops out of the dying brown winter woods. I hope to re-create this character in the spring and alter the color palette to better match the season.


Exciting news for anyone who is following the Taiga series! There will be a gallery show where the Entirety of the Taiga series can be viewed in person in Boston on July 13th! More information will be available as we approach the summer!




"The Queen" ©Mae Horak





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