Solstice – sculpture at the Woodwynn Peace Garden

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“Solstice”
by Elizabeth Wellburn, Samuel Houston
and Deryk Houston

These are photos of “Solstice” – our sculpture that has recently been placed in a very special location at Woodwynn Farms in the Peace Garden. It is placed in best possible spot to capture the first morning light on the shortest day of the year – the Southeast corner of the Peace Garden. Light flows through it at various times of day during other days of the year as well.

The theme of “Solstice” is transitions (seasonal or otherwise) that happen to people and to the natural world. The sculpture is steel, plexiglass and recycled glass (most of it kiln formed) and I created the translucent design using a glass on glass mosaic technique.

Sometime near the beginning of the construction of the Peace Garden (about three years ago) I knew I wanted to create a piece of art for that location and I wanted it incorporate the cathedral-like quality of coloured glass. I had a strong desire to express my ideas about the winter solstice – the shortest day but also a time of transition to a time of more light. Finding the inner strength to move beyond dark times seems to me to be what Woodwynn is all about. And the solstice is an important marker of the cycles of seasons that are so much a part of farm (and human) life.

An Albert Camus quote from Return to Tipasa (1954) inspired me:

“In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” (As translated in Lyrical and Critical Essays (1968), p. 169; also in The Unquiet Vision : Mirrors of Man in Existentialism (1969) by Nathan A. Scott, p. 116.)

I planned out colours to evoke the four seasons. The bottom left is winter – in icy blues with a few hints of berry red. Moving clockwise there is a panel with the pastels and fresh greens of spring. At the top the turquoise sky shines above colours that might be found in a poppy field or a watermelon patch. Amber and gold are next for autumn and then we complete the cycle with winter once again at the bottom right.

I worked with Samuel and Deryk to develop a structure to house the glass to have a sheltering quality as well as the feeling of a seasonal clock. I feel comfortable and at peace with the solid, rounded design. It serves as an archway over a natural stone bench that allows a visitor to sit and look down at the valley.

Previously this piece was installed in Nanaimo, near the Port Theatre and it stayed there for one year until it was time for us to donate it to Woodwynn. It is now in the spot that it was designed for and I am really happy to see it there!

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