Some leftover snow and lots of hairy frost made this morning special!
Some leftover snow and lots of hairy frost made this morning special!
When “Solstice” was first installed at Woodwynn (last spring) I promised myself to be there at sunrise on the morning of the winter solstice. And today, with Deryk, I did just that. We arrived early. It was still very dark and we walked around as we waited for dawn, almost feeling the world turning under our feet in order to reveal that first glow in the sky. At first we heard an owl and then other birds awoke with different sounds. A flock of geese flew over and we laughed at the trumpeting noise. There were clouds today so when the light did appear, it gave a soft, shadowless feeling. There’s an infinity of moods in the Peace Garden. This morning was extra special.
As many of you already know, the sculpture was inspired by a quote by Albert Camus: “In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” (as translated in Lyrical and Critical Essays, 1968)
Here are a few photos:
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!
“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.
And here’s my previous tweet with additional information.
As of April 2016, “Solstice” is now at Woodwynn Farms in the Peace Garden: https://elizabethtweets.wordpress.com/2016/04/23/solstice-sculpture-at-the-woodwynn-peace-garden/
A while back I wrote a blog post about a sculpture I was envisioning for a very special location at Woodwynn Farms in the Woodwynn Peace Garden:
The idea was based on an Albert Camus quote that truly inspired me: “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” (By the way, I would love to know the exact source of this quote – which book, article or ?)
The sculpture was to be called “Solstice.” As it took shape, it became a collaborative piece – by me, Sam and Deryk and we proposed it for the recent Nanaimo public art call.
We are delighted that our proposal has been accepted! We found out yesterday that we are now funded to build the sculpture. It will have its first home in Nanaimo, probably at Maffeo Sutton Park where Deryk and Sam have had previous sculptures installed. As part of a rotating exhibit, it will be returned to us eventually and then it will go to Woodwynn.
The theme is transitions (seasonal or otherwise) that happen to people and to the natural world. It will be in steel and recycled glass. I originally thought that when it eventually moved to Woodwynn, it would be placed to maximize the light during the summer solstice, but as I stood at that location on the morning of winter solstice this past December, I realized that although less people may want to visit in winter, the effect of low winter light rising in the south would be wonderful. So our plan is to have it in the best possible spot to capture the first morning light on the shortest day of the year.
We are really thrilled to be able to add this part to the ongoing project!
“The Children’s International Peace and Harmony Statue”, by American artist David Kocka was moved onto the site on Aug 2, followed by Deryk and Samuel’s sculpture “Points of Origin”.
Both are shown in the above photo, shot by me on August 3 (yesterday), early in the morning.
And I have found a quote that inspires me for the glass and metal sculpture that I’ll be doing with Sam. I’ve known for a while that it’s title will be “Solstice” and now I think an Albert Camus quote has to be part of it as well
“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”
To me this fits the spirit of Woodwynn Farms and it evokes the idea of transitions (seasonal or otherwise) that happen to people and to the natural world. Short days do get longer. Long days do get shorter.
I don’t know yet if this quote is from a book, essay or ? but I will find out. I’ve seen the quote online as both “in the *midst* of winter…” and “in the *depth* of winter” which of course is probably just related to the translation from the French. Either way is fine, and my hope is for the rising summer solstice sun to glow through warm-coloured recycled glass and convey a feeling of invincible summer. I am excited about this project. The location saved for the piece is perfect – a corner of the labyrinth perimeter where the view down the valley is stunning. I know Samuel will create a beautiful welded shape and I will have the fun of working with the glass that will be incorporated.
Today is a day for reflection on many things, and the Albert Camus quote can certainly be a good starting point.
Finally…. here is my own little thought today about the meaning of solstice…. “Sometimes time must turn around in order to move forward”