Spent the last two weeks camping in BC as I was a presenter at The Creston Valley Bird Festival. 105 pieces of The Nest Project were exhibited at Kunze Gallery. A nest building workshop was held at the gallery and a slide presentation given at the Creston Valley Visitors Centre giving attendees an inside look at the creation of The Nest Project. A few images from the workshop. I am the one with the crochet hat, I gave a few basic instructions and the talented ladies jumped in with great zest creating wonderful nests of varied media. A great way to recycle and upcycle items and scraps into beautiful creations.
“Beauty belies the sky dealt violence” Memorial pole for those whose lives succumb to balloons.
This pole took quite some time to complete as it was created by taping together cardboard tubes, collaging over the tubes, then painting the whole works. Collage imagery was designed from my photography using photoshop elements and adhered to the pole along with an etching of a bird. As you may see there is an owl trapped under plastic netting at the base of the pole while stings of balloons choke the neck of the pole.
Plastics, heralded as great new invention years ago have become a detrimental monster that is sinking us in pollution that does not break down. Our seas, rivers and soils are impregnated by this monster of our own making.
We are not helpless and can do something about it. We can reduce our reliance on plastics and go back to using unbleached cotton and linen. We can stop polluting our sky with balloons that kill birds, animals and even baby whales.
Have you heard about environmentally friendly balloons? Well don’t believe it, I looked on line and the company states that they break down as fast as an oak leaf. Guess what, I researched how fast that is. Up to two years, yes two years or more for an oak leaf to break down, two years for that bit of balloon to be mistaken for food and eaten by a bird which then suffocates due our ignorance of letting balloon blow. Take a look at the website Balloons Blow.org they have been doing research on the biodegradability of balloons in the environment. https://balloonsblow.org/biodegradability-backyard-test/
Not only the balloons are a hazard, so is the string attached to them. This plastic string gets tangled in trees and the birds get tangled in the plasticized string which they cannot cut through with their beaks to save themselves. Even deer have been found dead with balloon string wrapped around antlers which got caught in tree branches imprisoning the animal. So sad that which we cause out of ignorance. So please, I urge everyone to reduce their reliance on plastics, and please don’t buy balloons to celebrate with. Celebrate by enjoying nature and blowing bubbles instead.
Three years ago I decided to start posting the “Nest Project” on line, well it didn’t happen as I got sidetracked and did not put in the needed effort to compile words with the images. Being seduced by the lure of the tactile I find it much harder to place thoughts and words to the creative nature of the mixed media works than it is to build them. This project was intended to stop after three years, but it seems to have become a continual ongoing experience that alters and changes yet continues to inspire. Now here I am amidst adventuring six plus years into mixed media and textile works that have been inspired due to the three plus years of creating hand-built birds nests that ironically no bird will ever nest in. “Who will hear the last bird sing?” is an ecological project that has held one constant rule, that all media used must be found, recycled, or up-cycled from reuse, thrift stores and garage sales.
So once again I shall begin.
Photographing the nests is in itself another extension of the creative process as set up and lighting need be considered. Thinking about and deciding how to effectively showcase these varied works is not taken lightly, many hours of preparation have gone into the images that will be posted.
The nest on the left built by a Tree Swallow was photographed in a mini-museum at the tourist info booth in Fort Faser BC. The work glove is part of the “Nest Project” created from the thought of who will hold the last bird if we don’t start taking care of the natural environment now. Red embroidery based on a photograph taken of a bird in flight is stitched onto a work glove. Red is used as a symbol of life and life giving.
There are multiple layers of thought that go into the process of creating as there are of viewers interpretation of the work. For example, dependant on ones outlook the glove can represent the idea of industry that destroys natural environments by growing megamono-culture foods dependant on pesticides and herbicides that robs birds of safe nesting sites, security and food… or it can represent what we as a community can do to help birds in their plight by planting native plant gardens. By growing native to your area plants in the city and along roadsides native species of bugs, bees and pollinators as well as birds may be helped to survive.
I am in the process of photographing and compiling three plus years of work that will be posted on this site. The first official exhibition of the work was held at The Art Gallery of St Albert, Alberta in March/April of 2014.