• Artists create various pieces to add to the beauty of nature
By Randi Somers
The “Watch for Moose” sign posted along Pratt’s woodland trail proved a valid alert on Friday as a mother moose and twin calves joined the “Facing the Elements” party behind the museum. The moose are integral to the elements visitors faced.
Several artists created new works, while others rejuvenated existing art along the trail. All were part of the annual “Facing the Elements” opening and reception and walk on June 14. The new art remains in place throughout the year.
Guests enjoyed cake and lemonade as they walked the trail to admire new art. The Homer Ukulele Society serenaded guests as they took in the art against the backdrop of nature which is exposed to the elements. Some artists wrote about their ideas behind their works.
Kim Wylde created “Rocky Swirling Buoy”
She wrote: “A few years ago when the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies had a call for buoy art, I created the first Swirling Buoy with a buoy covered in painted swirls. It is still on display at CACS headquarters. Rocky Swirling Buoy is my successful attempt at attaching rocks to a buoy. Swirling is a natural action of water movement, so I found it fitting to apply swirls to a buoy. I love working with beach rocks; their colors and textures are so inviting. Shells and sea glass seemed to be natural additions to the swirls of rocks.”
Who Let the Chicks Out? was created by Ruby Haigh and Madison Thompson.
Haigh wrote: “My granddaughter Madison and I collected willow root, foxtail sticks, cotton balls, dye, googly-eyes and feathers to depict chicks exploding out of the nest.”
Michael E. Murray created Doorway to a Sacred Place
He wrote: “The concept for Doorway to a Sacred Place came from a request by my daughter Lakota to design or find someone who could design a “window” incorporating willow and other natural materials. (Willow has medicinal qualities.)
She sent me a pencil sketch of a preliminary draft of a book on which the arrangement would be included as part of the cover. I became intrigued with the idea. II used driftwood and added copper tubing that had a green patina which I dug up on my property. I also came across some discarded fishing line and used that to secure the piece. In placing the piece on the path behind the Pratt I decided to stick with the title of the publication “Doorway to a Sacred Place” because to me the trail is a great place for meditation and contact with nature. When searching for a proper location, I liked the fact that the piece can be viewed in both trail directions.”
Rio Shemet Pitcher created A Day at the Beach.
The 11-year-old wrote: “I like doing nature art. I like using sticks and rocks. I also like making things with legos.”
Another 11-year-old, Aiden Pullman, submitted a piece entitled “Beach Works.”
He wrote: “I like playing Legos and doing art with nature. I like being awesome outside.”
Scott Bartlett inverted a fallen tree and attached a drum stick for his Slit Drum.
He wrote: “Much of the spruce beetle kill throughout the Kenai has fallen or been cut down and, at least on the forest trails, often left to dry and weather. These bare trees remind me of the hardwood slit drums that are made extensively and in varying forms throughout Oceania, the other side of our shared Pacific Rim. The slit drum, at last, gives the tree a voice of its own. Its inverted position not only bucks the status quo but lends it a form more like a flower than a tree. Explore this tree’s new voice (with the drum stick); help it to sing with the forest.”
Deb Lowney’s Sticks and Stones was inspired by artist Andy Goldsworthy.
Lowney wrote: “I love Andy’s work and am continuously intrigued with his playfulness in nature. Sticks and Stones was designed to entice the viewer. I wanted to create something that drew the viewer closer and created a desire to peek inside or interact with the piece. The stones nestled inside (the stick chair/basket) are meant to give the impression that something is happening inside this sculpture, enticing the viewer to go in and take a peek or to climb in and nestle with them.”
Heritage was created by Jennie Engebretsen-Sligh, the museum’s visitor services manager.
She wrote: “When I began our Facing the Elements project, I had several goals in mind; one of which was to reflect our familial heritage. My husband and I are both of Nordic descent. I also wanted to create a space that would be a delight to “discover” along the forest trail, a spot to reflect for a moment – to find comfort, a bit of solitude and simple beauty.
I chose the setting where our “Peace Garden” is, with specific goals in mind. The garden lies around bends in the path. To arrive there one has to stroll through sun-dappled areas or walk through places where the forest darkens and shadows abound, where you can’t see around the corners. The wanderer doesn’t really know where the path leads. One just has to keep walking to discover what is next.”
Fernfeather Walking Labyrinth was first created by Mavis Muller, with Gale Parsons, 14 years ago. With an annual refreshing by Muller and museum volunteers, the labyrinth has become imprinted on the ground. Muller wrote: “The walking labyrinth is one of the oldest contemplative tools known to humankind. It has been used for centuries by many different cultures and religions; for prayer, meditation, relaxation, ritual, personal and spiritual growth and for enjoyment. The ancient powerful tool symbolizes the journey of life, it offers only one route to the center and back out again. Once you set your foot upon its path, you are gently led to the center of both the labyrinth and yourself. Whoever you are, it has something to offer. One step at a time. A wise one once said, “It is solved by walking…”
Intersection is a high-hanging mobile of sea-polished wood created by Michael McBride. It is a permanent piece near the outdoor theater where the reception/opening for this year’s show was held.
McBride wrote: “This mobile is a gift for and to those who love the place where land and sea embrace one another. Constructed of materials from the shoreline, it reminds us of the physical, mental and spiritual intersections that we encounter on a daily basis. Each intersection traversed can be an adventure of self-discovery or reinvention of how we see and experience the world.”
Trish Herrmann’s piece is entitled Held, and includes a basket co-created with Mavis Muller.
Herrmann wrote: “The intent behind this interactive art piece was to create space for people to release even a small portion of their burdens and feel held in the loving support of community and this incredible place. You are invited to surrender a symbol or an alder cone into the well-wishes basket at the base of the web. The basket and contents will be released through fire on Sept. 15 at Homer’s 10th-annual basket burning basket at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit. The motivation for this piece stems from the loss of two loved ones to cancer this past month as well as a mother who has been struggling with stage IV ovarian cancer for eight years. This piece is dedicated to my dearest friend, Val Garrison, as well as all our loved ones who have or still are struggling with cancer.”
Honorific Early Works is by Ryjil Christenson.
She wrote: “These images are based on petroglyphs found in the Kachemak Bay area. I have been deeply moved by these early works of art for years. For me, these glyphs represent a powerful and ancient artistic spirit still present in our region. They are both perplexing and inspiring. Images like these may possibly represent some of the earliest works of art in our region. The artists who created them are unknown and their purpose eludes us. “
Fairy Forest was created by the kids from Smallpond Childcare.
The “Facing the Elements” art walk will be up through December and no guide is needed to enjoy the creative efforts of Homer artists.
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