Solstice – sculpture at the Woodwynn Peace Garden

April 23, 2016


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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Glass and Steel Solstice

April 29, 2015

“Solstice” – our steel and recycled glass sculpture. We took it to Nanaimo yesterday and installed it (with lots of help from the City of Nanaimo – thanks guys!!).

I love the location, across the street from the Port Theatre and right on the waterway path that lead to Maffeo Sutton Park.

Here’s a photo that gives a bit of the idea of what it looks like. We’ll go back and take some more on a sunny morning soon and get the feeling of the light shining through.

Solstice Sculpture by Elizabeth Wellburn, Samuel Houston, Deryk Houston

Sculpture by Elizabeth Wellburn, Samuel Houston, Deryk Houston

UPDATE: Here are a couple of recent photos, taken at sunset at the end of May 2015:

And here’s my previous tweet with additional information.

As of April 2016, “Solstice” is now at Woodwynn Farms in the Peace Garden:

Glass Project – Recycling Centre Richmond BC

June 8, 2013

My own news is that I finally completed the six glass mosaic pieces and delivered them to Richmond. Art in Unexpected Places will soon be a reality for the Richmond Recycling Centre. The stand, being built by the welding shop folks – is going to be perfect!

Here are some shots. They want me to be there for the day it is actually installed, so I’ll obviously get more photos then!

Glass in the Kiln

Glass in the Kiln

Kiln Run for Richmond

Kiln Run for Richmond

Chunks and base glass all ready for assembly to begin

Chunks and base glass all ready for assembly to begin


Evening shot – early stages


The next evening – a bit more complete


Finished pieces




How it will fit in the stand


The stand will be powder coated in a rich blue colour

my glass bottle YouTube video

January 21, 2012

I’m still thinking about the value of our ability to share using social media. The little things we like to contribute (and the reasons why we are compelled to do this) made me take a new look at a short (45 second) experimental video I put on YouTube not quite four years ago. Related to the family glass hobby, this video has now had over 72,000 hits (yes, it’s hard to believe).

There’s nothing special about the production of this video — it’s just a bunch of still photos cobbled together with iMovie. I was playing with ideas related to recycled glass and YouTube offered some free, very psychedelic music that inspired me. There’s really not much more about it that I can say. I’ve posted other videos intended to promote a message but this really doesn’t have any of that going for it 🙂

YouTube analytics shows interesting facts about who is looking at this video, but there’s no real pattern that I can discern. The hits come from all over the world, from slightly more females than males, from many search engines and linked pages, etc. The best news is that most people watch it through to the end (well, it *is* short).

The whole thing is sort of mysterious (why do people view this video?) but it seems to sum up why we should care about not allowing overly-protective legislation to shut down what’s great about the internet — anybody’s few moments of whimsical self-expression can be “out there” and that’s something to be cherished.