CLD Vaudreuil-Soulanges is a non-profit organization which coordinates various support services for entrepreneurs. It also promotes industrial development, trade, tourism, and the rural and agri-food industry within the Vaudreuil-Soulanges territory.
The CLD along with the Conseil des arts et de la culture de Vaudreuil-Soulanges (Council of Arts and Culture of Vaudreuil-Soulanges) commissioned multidisciplinary artist Tina Struthers and me to create an original work for the Tourist Information Centre in Île-Perrot, Québec.
The mission of this cultural project was threefold:
- to anchor the renewal of the Tourist Information Centre in collaboration with the City of Île-Perrot;
- to give artistic life to the new regional brand of "Vaudreuil-Soulanges Tourisme" launched in May;
- to demonstrate the strength and effervescence that occurs when the arts and business sectors mesh.
- 3-dimensional aerial work, colourful and transparent, for a space with high ceilings and an abundance of natural light;
- submissions from artist collectives (2 or 3 artists);
- works created using the principals of waste management (reduction at source, reuse, recycling, valuation).
The opportunity was so unusual and exciting that Tina and I couldn't resist submitting a proposal. We had to come up with a concept.
We priced possible alternatives using plexiglas but costs were prohibitive and this alternative didn't meet the waste management criterion. Another solution had to be found.
My partner and I had recently removed grape vines from along our waterfront property on the Ottawa River and in so doing, discovered a treasure trove of driftwood floating onshore. I collected and propped each piece against a nearby tree. They were just too beautiful to discard and had to become works of art. I told Tina about my find and she came to view my wondrous cache.
We discussed what we could possibly create with this gift from the river and came up with our concept: to create suspended abstracted birds using the driftwood as bodies and recycled papers and fabrics for wings. We decided that the colours of the birds should reflect those of the new "Vaudreuil-Soulanges Tourisme" logo.
PROCESS "Vol vers l'avenir" (Flight towards the future):
Each bird took anywhere from 6 to 18 hours to create. Holes were drilled into the driftwood after which we attached wires to create wings.
Paper or fabric, or a combination of both was glued to the wire using acrylic medium. What a messy job! We spent a lot of time peeling it off our fingers and used heaps of hand cream to keep our skin from drying out.
Once the wings were shaped, paint or varnish was applied. Keeping transparency specifications in mind, we glazed the paper birds and left gaps in the fabric wings to let light shine through. Colours based on the new logo served to visually link our flock of birds together.
We arranged the birds by colour on a tarp to prepare for varnishing. UV varnish protects the colour and wood from the sun's rays. This type of varnish smells foul (fowl?) so we were glad to be outside.