Saksala Art Centre, Finland

November 6, 2011

Artist in Residence, Saksala Art Centre Finland, July 2011

I created a simple studio for children which contained a cotton muslin tent, felted nests, a garland of dried flowers, a large seed sculpture, nature prints and folded books. The purpose of the studio was to offer children a place to connect with both themselves and their relationship to nature. The studio reflected my time at Saksala working with water, sheep’s wool, wild flowers, and sculpted paper. Collecting materials, and arranging a quiet space for children to bring nature into their art, are important themes in my work. Creating an indoor environment for children to dwell within while they paint, draw, and sketch their own reflections is my offering to Saksala. I have learned the importance of sitting quietly with children as they work through their own ideas. The process of making the studio has involved floating fabric in a lake, picking flowers to dry, sewing with sheep’s hair, sculpting paper, and working with the lines and surfaces of wild plants.

Examples of creative intervention within the Hastings Street Folk Garden, a Green Streets’ Roundabout, and Strathcona Community Garden in Vancouver. All inspired by volunteers making their mark upon an urban landscape.

Pedestrians and cyclists particularly notice the personal expression gardeners contribute. The spontaneous nature of creatively improvising within roundabouts and public spaces is both a personal and public statement. It an empowering example of being able to contribute to the expressive nature within your neighbourhood. It is also an anecdote to overly contemplated designed gardens which allow little space for collective imagination.

One Green Streets volunteer describes their use for a recycled planter.

“In my office tower a few years ago, building maintenance was in the process of putting a toilet from one of our washrooms into the landfill. I intercepted and gave this toilet a street-side front row seat. Now everyone marvels at the new planter. A few shake their heads. Just for fun for a few weeks every spring, I place a pair of legs with pants and shoes upside down in the toilet, and on Christmas Eve, Santa’s legs”.