9/24/19

Preview of ADAPT

Over the last year I realized that I'd been inadvertently working on a series of maps of the Avon River, the Minas Basin and the Bay of Fundy, some of which became the series Within Every Fibre (2016), What We Leave Behind (2017) and Options (2018).


Option C and Option D, on display at the Bread Gallery as a part of Culture Days, September 2018

With these felted maps I was exploring the scars left on the landscape by the hands of man; a record of the environment adapting in response to manipulations made by man (the causeway, dykes, gypsum mines, roads and rails).

Currently in the Avon region there has been much discussion regarding the twining of Highway 101 along the Windsor Causeway and how to resolve some of the environmental issues that were created by the initial construction 50 years ago. The lack of proper fish passage has greatly restricted migration for spawning endangered wild Atlantic Salmon and the constricted tidal flow has led to a massive build-up of silt throughout the entire Avon River, extending as far as Hantsport, leading to much erosion along the shoreline of the Avon and the other rivers that feed into it, like the St Croix and Kennetcook.

As a result the mudflats, which historically would only be visible at low tide, continue to increase in mass regularly with each flood tide. When keeping a keen eye on the daily movements of the river, subtle changes can go unnoticed. After a three month lapse away from view, the build-up is unmistakable. 

After a number of years of watching the girth of the mudflats increase from season to season, I gradually came to appreciate that I was witnessing the rebirth of a saltmarsh within the river. Its ever increasing presence wasn't necessarily something to fear, but rather something to embrace, accepting the role it plays in supporting a diverse variety of life, and that it may serve an important roll in protecting our little corner of the planet as we enter this era of climate crisis.

Prior to 1604 salt marshes were extensive throughout the upper Bay of Fundy, 80% of these were lost as a result of dyking by the Acadians. When the Windsor Causeway was constructed it disrupted the natural tidal prism and within a number of years a saltwater marsh was well on its way to establishing itself. It has been reported that the marshland is growing at a rate of 2ha a year. To date there seems to be very little discussion relating to the rapidly increasing and productive saltwater marsh that is gradually expanding to fill the river, exacerbating erosion and impacting many residents and landowners along the shoreline of the river as it feeds into the Minas Basin.

Avon River in the 1890s. On display as a part of ADAPT, opening 11am on September 28th, 2019 at the Artists Landing Gallery, located in the upper level of the Avon River Heritage Museum in Newport Landing/Avondale.

With my position at the museum being seasonal, throughout the colder months I rarely get to experience daily life on the Avon River as I visit the community less frequently. Each spring when I return to work I find that I’m taken aback by how, within a few short months, the surrounding landscape has been so drastically altered. Mudflats continue to rise while the shoreline collapses. Hints of green spartina make themselves known, off in the distance, providing the first hint of what to expect next.

Over the past year I have created a series of maps depicting the ecological changes that have taken place in the area surrounding the site of the causeway over the last few centuries due to the hands of man. Inspired by historical references and existing maps and photographs I have rendered in fibre what the upper bay of Fundy and Avon region looked like when first colonized, how it has continued to morph drastically throughout the last century, and what to expect in the near future as tides continue to rise and saltwater marshes reestablish along the Avon.

1960s

1970s

1990s

2000s

During Culture Days I will be exhibiting my entire collection of maps created over the last several years in a pop-up showcase entitled ADAPT, on display at Artists Landing Gallery, located in the upper level of the Avon River Heritage Museum, 17 Belmont Road, Newport Landing/Avondale.







9/9/19

ADAPT / Fibre Art Exhibit / September 27th -29th, 2019



ADAPT is a collection of fibre art maps, chronicling the shoreline of the Avon River, Minas Basin and Bay of Fundy over time. This series explores the scars left on the landscape as a result of the activities of mankind, reflecting the environment's undeniable ability to adapt in response to man’s attempt to tame the land and sea.

September 27th, 7pm - 10pm   
Join us for a community BBQ fundraiser in support of the facility’s ageing waterworks. Enjoy a preview of ADAPT and the museum's latest exhibit Stewards of the Avon River, 1760-1860.

September 28th & 29th, 10am - 5pm  
We begin the morning of the 28th with an artist talk at 11am followed by an interactive activity commencing at 1pm and continuing throughout the remainder of the weekend. Collectively we will create a fibre art map of the Avondale Peninsula to later be auctioned off in support of upgrades to the water system. No previous felting experience necessary, tools and materials will be provided. 

Part of Culture Days

Artists Landing Gallery, upper level of the Avon River Heritage Museum, 17 Belmont Rd, Newport Landing/Avondale, Hants County Nova Scotia.


7/16/19

Bad dreams are made of these... and other (ir)rational thoughts

"Irrational Fears"  2019 - Tacha Reed

Last January when I first heard of Halliburton's plan to store explosives near Walton my initial thought was - oh no, here we go again, the government is planning to sell us out in the name of making money from producing energy, no matter what the environmental implications happen to be. 

A few years ago when the turbines first began to emerge in the Bay of Fundy my initial concern was for their proximity to a number of fault lines. I had no idea that the equipment used to harvest energy would also massacre a large number of aquatic species in the process. At the time, as I worked through my fears with my art, I imagined the only thing worse than a large doses of EMF would be an actual explosion.

Flash forward 2 years and what is being planned, the storing of explosives directly upon a fragile fault line. Not just any explosives, but those produced by Halliburton, one of the most disreputable companies in the world with a long laundry list of nefarious deeds and crimes against humanity, all in the name of profit. Halliburton also happens to be the company whose "poor practices" led to an explosion within the Deep Water Horizon well in 2010, causing a tremendous natural disaster. 

At the time of the Deep Water Horizon crisis I did what I always do when the world makes me angry and frustrated, I responded by producing the first piece in an ongoing series entitled Serious Sirius, which was initially based on the legend that whales were sent to planet earth from the constellation Sirius with the knowledge that at some point in time they would have to sacrifice themselves to save mankind from mass extinction. I envisioned the leak being a beacon of warning, to let the whales know the time was soon approaching for them to fulfil their side of the bargain. (I can't help but think that all of the whales who have recently washed up along our shores is a warning that danger is eminent).

Detail from "Irrational Fears" 2019 - Tacha Reed
This past January I once again dealt with my "irrational fears" by producing this felted piece of Walton, Whale Cove and Pembroke (with the location of the explosive storage site near the bottom left next to the flooded mine). At the time of creation I was unsure of the actual location and did not realize that the mine itself rests along a fault line (seriously, worst case scenario in my mind).

While researching the history of this mine my heart sunk a little... prior to this I'd been blissfully unaware of the nature of the past exploitation of natural resources in Walton and was surprised to learn of the many unique geological wonders that lay beneath the soil there. 

This mineral rich site was first discovered as early as 1894, but it wasn't until 1940 that explorative drilling began. Starting in 1941 this site was operated by Canadian Industrial Minerals, a subsidiary of Springer Strugeon. In 1955 the site was leased to Magnet Cove Barium Corporation, a subsidiary of Dresser Industries Inc., of Dallas, Texas (owned by the Bush family, yes, that famous Bush family), before switching hands to Halliburton, who took over ownership around 1985. While in operation this site eventually became the largest barite mine in Canada, with one of the largest deposits in the world, producing over 90% of the barite used in the nation.          .

Now, when I think of all the deep sea wells currently leaking and seeping into the ocean, filling her with poison, I can't help but wonder if any of the ground up rock used in the creation of the wells came from our own backyard. While researching this mine I learned that in 1970 the mine struck a fault line and began to fill with water, which eventually became brackish revealing that it was being fed by the Minas Basin. It was this accident that eventually led to the closure of the mine in 1978, at which time they laid out a very detailed environment reclamation plan to bring back nature to the site. As you can see from Google Earth, 40 years later the site still remains a massive scar, slowly trying to heal itself.

Thursday July 18th at 6pm there is a second information session being held in the Sanford Council chambers in Windsor to discuss the approval of Halliburton's request to rezone the Dressers Mine site to include the processing and storing of explosives. I know that what Halliburton is asking for from West Hants is a somewhat routine request, and it will no doubt be difficult to reject. I however hope that morals and a desire to protect the environment and the people of West Hants (and the entire planet!) will direct council's decision. I feel that given what is taking place in other parts of Canada at the moment relating to the oil and gas industry, this rezoning approval could be just the gateway needed to open the door to expansion in Nova Scotia. If this site once supplied the Barite used in developing mines, it stands to chance that it could do so once again given the opportunity. I'd like to think this is just an irrational fear, but given the players I find it difficult not to worry about worst case scenarios.

Food for thought, now I must go make some art!

1/23/19

Long Winter Nights

Peajack, part of Piece by Piece, 2018
I've been so incredibly busy this past year I realize now that I entirely forgot to share the art society's most recent group show at the Bread Gallery, Long Winter Nights

With a last minute change we found we had some extra wall space to fill, so I brought in a few selections from my collection, Piece by Piece, and a couple of other not for sale works, which included a preview from my new collection, Adapt.

Honestly, 2018 was such a roller coaster and at some point I'd like to  sit down and, even in point form, list off the intense changes that took place from month to month. 

Just a few days ago Facebook presented me with the anniversary of my Octobaby dream, which really stuck with me at the time, coming back to me over and over again, so haunting that after several months I needed to felt it out! This led to a wacky piece revealing that I had far too many balls in the air and I needed to severe off a few of my attachments that were no longer propelling me forward, only draining my focus.

So that is what I did, I cut many things loose last year, and what a relief it was!

Detail of Octobaby, 2018
Funny enough, I may have even more balls up in the air at this moment and devoting time to me, as an artist and a business (especially this part), just isn't happening - but it is totally ok! 

In September I hit a glorious well of creativity, and the art just free flowed out of me for months - it was amazing, I learned and grew so much. 

Now though, I need to focus on earning some cash to help make up for the 3 solid months of deep emersion (read: not making $ only making art).

Luckily my winter project is really quite creative and interesting (can't wait to share!) and it's been nice to step back and look at my artistic practice with a wider lens. With that being said, I suck at keeping up with the digital world, blogging especially. Sorry about that. I'm going to try and make more of an effort. I've got a lot to tell you about.

Until then, sorry if you missed the show. The next one will most likely be the 21st Great Little Art Show, opening on May 3rd at the museum in Avondale. I have already completed my work for this show (this is a first, usually I'm still framing the day of) and I can't wait to see everyone's response to my series of portraits (yes - portraits!) of a few of my favourite stewards for our beautiful community.

Long Winter Nights, upper studio of the Bread Gallery, December 2018
Long Winter Nights, main gallery of the Bread Gallery, December 2018




11/2/18

Free the Flow!


On the morning of September 10th, 2018 I found myself with some very unexpected free time on my hands. My previous commitments had been put on hold indefinitely and I suddenly had the space freed in my mind to bring myself back to thoughts of me. 

I'd been so wrapped up all summer taking care of business (so to speak), I hadn't had time to think about me; what did I need? I had been balancing work and volunteering for so long that I was surprised at how cathartic it was to sit down and take some time to really consider who I am at this moment in time in my life, in my career and as an artist. 

I was reminded of my previous ambitions to apply for funding to create a giant felted map depicting the entire Bay of Fundy and her tidal river fingers. All that old inspiration I'd bottled up while I was tackling Makers and the museum was starting to bubble back to the surface and I immediately had to sit down at the computer, pouring out a self motivational post that I quickly discovered that I wasn't quite brave enough to share with the world just yet.

Later that day and over the next few days I completed three pieces of art, the next week (with Makers still closed) I did the same again, and then, having to adapt quickly to change I found myself with the opportunity to share my series of recent works, Piece by Piece, as a part of Culture Days, with a pop up show at the Bread Gallery in Brooklyn.

How I envision Option C for the highway 101 upgrade.






 Option C and Option D for the highway 101 upgrade.


Heather Desveaux from the Valley Harvester, who believe it or not was the person who first introduced me to the community of Avondale, stopped by the gallery to ask me a few question about my recent work. As you can see our familiarity made it easy (maybe a bit too easy) for me to express my passion for her majesty the bay and this beautiful county we live in.
 
Now that this article has been put out into the world I'm finally ready to share that post that got me fired up and released this recent rushing flow of creativity!


Artist. 

Artist, that is a word I've struggled with. As a child when asked the question "what do you want to be when you grow up?" I answered an artist. I was told that wasn't a real job. That only made me more determined. I took special lessons as a youth and eventually ended up at art college and earned my BFA... but still I wasn't comfortable saying I was an artist. Artistic sure, creative and inspired indeed... but after earning a degree and seeing what it actually takes to make it in this world as a professional artist I still didn't feel entitled to bear that title.

Here I am decades later and I still struggle with living up to what it is to truly be an artist. It's one thing to be able to make pretty pictures and even sell items you've made by hand, but somewhere in the back of my mind I feel like my work needs to really say something or evoke some sort of emotional response from the viewer to be considered real honest art. Honestly, as much as it pains me to say, the majority of my work this last decade has been decorative art. Oh what a dirty word. Decorative. Yes, they are beautiful and may make you feel good, but I'd like to push more.

I must say however that I am incredibly proud of the non-decorative work I've contributed over the last few years and I think going forward, to truly fulfill my need to be a true representative of what I feel most passionate about, I need to focus on telling those stories.

I'm not saying that I'm going to stop felting pretty landscapes and doing portraits of nature's creatures, because I don't think I could ever stop, they are a continual source of love and inspiration and sometimes it feels really good to felt an adorable fox or an elegant Great Blue Heron... but for now I think I'm going to take a wee walk down a more challenging path and felt out all my feelings about the irresponsible acts that are shaping our environment.  I need to speak up about what I believe to be a horrible mistakes that needs to be rectified immediately before we start referring to the genocide of much of the aquatic life within the Minas Basin.

Yeah, you can see why I sat on that one a while. Promptly after hitting save draft I went and started making the first in a series of portraits of sturgeons, whales and fish that had recently passed through the blades of the abandoned turbine followed by a series on the Windsor causeway... still continuing with that series to date with a plan for a proper exhibition.




11/4/17

Long Winter Nights


Happy to be a part of this group show for Avon River Arts, formerly the Hants County Arts Council.

Over the past year this group of Nova Scotian artists and artisans has been hosting a number of events in the area and this is our sixth time showing as a group at the Bread Gallery in Brooklyn, Hants County.

Last night we had a packed house for the opening and it was great to catch up with many creative folks who we had not seen in some time. If you missed the opening, not to worry, the show continues until December 31st.

This year's collection features work by:
Kelly Mitchelmore​
Tacha Reed​
Elizabeth Robinson​
Sue Robinsons​
Karen Harvie​
Jonathan Charles Trenholm​
Mary Lou Bennett
Stuart Taylor
Ruth Ross
Christene Sandeson​
Rose Marie MacDonald​
Nick Haentjens​
Michelle Heron​
Lexie Barkhouse​
Terrie Greencorn​

Brian Fraser
Anne Clattenburg 


Her Majesty, Tacha Reed, 2017
 
Glimpse of the Fault, Tacha Reed, 2017