"I've been making my living as an artist since 1975," said Ruffner. "I learned to blow glass in Atlanta, and moved here in '85 after coming out to teach at Pilchuck."
That's Pilchuck Glass School, founded by Dale Chihuly. IN 1991, Ruffner was involved in a car wreck that nearly cost her her life. She was in a coma, and doctors said she would never walk again.
They were wrong. When I asked what keeps her going?
"Beauty. I love beauty, and if I have the gift to create beauty, it's my responsibility."
Ruffner says her exhibit is all about hope, a desolate world of stumps that - upon further inspection - is bursting with life.
Here's how it works.
The wood grain pattern painted on each stump is unique, the tablet reads it just like a barcode - and places a 3D virtual plant on top.
Pretty cool, right?
She drew the concept art for the plants, islands, glass stumps and leaves. Then, local artisans brought them to life. Ruffner says 'Reforestation of the Imagination' is a display of art and technology, working together to show bleakness can spawn beauty if you have hope.
"If you don’t have hope what do you have?" she said. "And it's way more fun than despair."