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Monthly Archives: February 2014

Why is Writing so much easier then Talking?

When Pat suggested I talk a little about the inspiration for the work here I said rather glibly that it was from my experience of Watson Lake. They have a few acres devoted to about 72,000 signs from all over the world.

They call it The Sign Post Forest. It is really an impressive site. Especially as it is the work of thousands of people over many years. But the intent there is to recognize where those people where from.

Looking out the studio window the other day admiring all the tracks in the snow I realized the piece I created (with the help of many others) was as much to honour the journey as the destination, to give some kind of visual representation to the transitory and intangible nature of hundreds of peoples journeys.

The starting point was Oil Springs, and although there are books, and journals and artifacts, there really wasn’t anything here to collate all those steps into new worlds.

It was this sense of place that I wanted to evoke with the signs. They will be a visual landmark as well as a historical one. Once the elements start the process of ageing they will meld into this historic site as artifact as well.

poles_esigns_e colours-signs_e



Some of the work done for the Fairbank Oil Field Project will be displayed in Petrolia later this month at Victoria Hall. It will be permanently installed on site once the world becomes a warmer place.

They were inspired by the sign post forest in Watson Lake, Yukon. A few years ago a friend and I drove from Kelowna to Whitehorse for a memorial service for Heinz.

I first met Heinz as a green girl in Whitehorse. I applied for a waitressing job at Dezadeash. His wife Katie said we’ll pick you up on our next supply run. They were two hours outside of town on the Alaska Highway. It was an unpaved pothole ridden road.

The station wagon was loaded with supplies and a full set of spare tires. This was standard fare for Yukon residents at that time. Well, it was a long trip and a good introduction to my new life. We offloaded that car four times before we made it to the lodge. Yes, a two hour drive took most of the day with four separate flat tires to change. The road is now all nicely flattened, straightened, and paved.

The memorial service was simply lawn chairs and picnic tables in the driveway, a very informal affair. It was a chance to be reacquainted with old friends. I got to hold a bronze cast of one of the biggest gold nuggets ever found. It was the size of my fist. Yes, Heinz had a gold claim with a number of others in Squaw Creek. One of the highlights of that summer was meeting the people as they would spend a few days in the cabins on their way in and out of the bush working their claims panning for gold.


This helps me remember that winter will change into spring, summer, fall. That life is a recurring but ever changing tableau.

light play on the cupboard door

light play on the cupboard door

October 20th, 2012.

I have been trying for the last two years to learn how to capture things in motion. Simple things that have always fascinated me, a cloud of insects spiraling into an articulate ever-changing drawing turned golden or white or grey depending on light levels, the moving shadow dance of light through trees. My attempts have all been very unsuccessful I am sorry to say.

I would never consider even trying to capture tonight’s evening show. Four hummingbirds back lite by the sun, their wings making multiple halos of light as they chase each other in a ballet, the musical arrangement the scrbeeking of insects with a drone in an overtone  that might be the grasshoppers communing, a steady beat against the squeaks and hum of those darting, dancing birds. They spiral up, give chase, tails a splayed fan of white edged in darkness, then they re-configure to peacefully dart in unison to the sugar-water  feeder, reminding me of synchronized swimmers. I spent my youth at the local pool and went to all the swim matches having friends and family as participants. The only thing as good as that was watching the participants competing in the Butterfly. That was always such an excitingly beautiful race.

But so far my film making efforts have ended in failure.

As I write there are now six hummers racing each other between the feeder and the trumpet vine, all with burnished wings amidst a haze of illuminated clouds of insects doing a spiral dance that is both poetry and music.

In another two minutes this vision will fade with the sun. Well, I timed it at a minute, these things; blink and you miss it. Oh, the dance is still on, but the wings are no longer halos of light but the insect dance is golden and rising on the warm air currents.

The sun is now gone, the hummers are as well, the insects back to being insects no longer the illuminated spiraling form of dancing magic. How I wish I had the skill to capture this.