Lake artists create for coastal conservation
The Great Lake Huron
welcomes us into her
ebb and flow.
She whispers to us
a multitude of possibilites.
We are connected.
Over half of our body is made up of water.
And so we are easily carried into her rhythm,
opening us to all that is.
- Linda Wiebe
Linda Wiebe is a visual artist living in Goderich, Ontario. Many who have been to the town have also been inside Linda’s creations, for her artwork forms the signature imagery of the annual Celtic Roots Festival, fourth-largest of its kind in the world. Indeed, many a favourite t-shirt boasts Linda’s colourful, nature-inspired designs.
Linda follows the movements and rhythms of nature, and her passion is to help others find them as well. Her work as an art instructor facilitates the shaping of mixed materials into intuitive forms that speak from a place that, oftentimes, a budding artist didn’t know existed.
In her studio currently, Linda is creating images in mixed media combined with encaustic paint – a blend of beeswax, resin and pigment – in the colours of Lake Huron. These form the settings for assemblages of found objects that have been carried on the water to the shore. This is her response to a call from WorldRooted: the Art Project for People to share her visual stories in support of the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation.
While Linda’s expression is unconfined and spontaneous, the work of her contemporary, Brigitte Wolf, follows a procedural plan with sharp guidelines. Brigitte is a stained-glass artist.
Like Linda, Brigitte tends to favour personal pronouns when referring to the inland sea known as Lake Huron. She speaks fondly of days spent on the coast with her children, of years spent hiking along the waterways that lead there. Time spent in nature is an essential luxury to Brigitte – the best way she knows to refresh and recharge.
Brigitte learned glasswork 25 years ago after the example of her life partner and has since mastered the meticulous planning, measuring, sandblasting, cutting and fitting demanded by the art. Her completed works allow the light to shine through – and that is when unplanned elements are finally allowed to take creative control.
Like the light, Lake Huron’s coast is a changing beauty. As water temperature climbs (by one degree per decade since 1970) and human activity reduces natural landcover (resting at 20% in Linda and Brigitte's home of Huron County), the shape of water-meets-land shifts in a telltale way. Warmer waters are coursing through the system more quickly than ever – think, for instance, that every felled tree once drank 200L of water per year and its roots could hold up an embankment – it’s no wonder so much change can be observed in one lifetime.
Linda and Brigitte are joining ten other WorldRooted artists in telling of their connection to the coast. They’ll be showing their works the evening of May 4th at Beach Street Station in Goderich at “Toast the Coast”, a jazz-and-cocktails celebration of those who work to document and preserve this invaluable zone of multiple ecosystems. 25% of art sales will benefit the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation. Follow their progress at #carriedtothecoast. Tickets available now at www.lakehuron.ca/toast.