Craft NB 2022

Beneath the Surface Residency

Documented by Emily Rioux

Craft NB brings 20 artists to Fundy National Park for the third installment of the Beneath the Surface Residency

Beneath the Surface

Fundy National Park is not only one of Canada’s best kept secrets, but has quickly become Craft NB’s home away from home.  Beneath the Surface has always taken place in the spring, but in 2021, with COVID-19 still at play, the plans were on hold.  We were fortunate enough to take a small group of artists and poets with us to the park in October of 2021, just for a couple of days, as part of our biennale exhibition Atlantic Vernacular, and a whole new love affair with Fundy was born.  We decided to push the BTS residency to October of 2022 so we could re-live the amazing fall landscapes and show our artists a new side of New Brunswick’s beauty. We worked with park interpretors Dan, Denis, Evan, Neil, Shirley and Danielle to provide our artists with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in the park.

Not only was the timing different for this years BTS, but we were taking on a new approach to the exhibition altogether. We are challenging the artists to think ‘outside’ the box.  This time around, the artists won’t be creating works to be exhibited in galleries, as we had in the past.  This time, they will create large-scale installation work that will be installed outdoors, in Fundy National Park, in harmony with nature.

Along with curator, Vicky Lentz, we brought with us:
Aidan Stanley, Alevtina Sharapova, Anicka Senior, Anne Stillwell-LeBlanc, Audrey Arsenault, Carolyn Saunders, Chan Polchies, Darren Emenau, Erica Stanley, Heather McCaig, Jim Boyd, Kelley Joyce-Floyd, Kevin MacLean, Margaret Ann Capper, Matt Cripps, Michael Wood, Monique Bujold-Brown, Patricia Goodine, Robyn Shortt, and Tomo Ingalls.

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Matt Cripps

Beneath The Surface was an incredible experience. It forced me to take a break from the daily grind and relax in nature and interact with like-minded people. I was able to catch up with friends I hadn’t seen in years and make new friends. 

Being able to talk with the Fundy Park staff, our curator Vicky Lentz, the CraftNB staff and all the other experts was an invaluable resource that made the experience remarkably educational. Any questions we had were answered by passionate and patient people. 

Beneath The Surface was a week I will cherish that was full of memories I won’t soon forget!

Welcome to Fundy

Our first day in Fundy was spent getting to know the group, getting comfortable in the oTENTiks and ended with some icebreaker games and a good nights rest.
We started our second day in the park with yoga led by Sarah Morley, and then were off on our first hike of the week to Point Wolfe River with park interpretors, Denis and Evan.

Point Wolfe River

Our first hike through the Point Wolfe River Trail was stunted by the wrath of Hurricaine Fiona, and an alternate route was taken.  The beach was magical, and many of the artists became one with the tidal floor. 

We explored tidal pools, played in clay, learned about stones, and whistled at periwinkles.

A Day, Fully-Loaded

Tuesday was a packed day for us. After the Point Wolfe River Hike, we headed back to the Salt and Fir Centre for a guest speaker – Andre LaPointe. He spoke about his own practices in ephemeral land art as well as the work of many other noteable artists, worldwide.  There was no lack of inspiration gained from the artists.

Next on the agenda was an experience we were thrilled to be able to share again this fall, the salmon release.  Park interpretor, Danielle headlined this event, and taught the crew about the endangered Atlantic Salmon, and all about Fundy’s efforts to bring them back into the Salmon River which runs through the park.  We were fortunate enough to take part in this releaase for the second time this year, and to watch the artists faces light up is an imaged engrained into our minds. A truly magical experience.

Salmon Release

More than 60 Atlantic salmon were released back into their home waters.

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Audrey Arsenault

 I really enjoyed how Craft NB offered us Beneath the Surface artists a well organized, exciting week that was full of lovely surprises! This artist’s retreat in the great outdoors has helped to reinspire my artistic practice and allowed me to meet several other amazing artists from different parts of the world. I look forward to the upcoming exhibition that will result from this amazing experience! Thank you Craft NB!!!

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Kelley Joyce-Floyd

I was very honoured to have been one of twenty artists selected by Craft NB to take part in Beneath the Surface in Fundy National Park.
The Craft NB staff, curator Vicky Lentz and the interpretive team at Fundy did a fantastic job of putting together an incredible week of learning and fellowship. Between the daily hikes and  informative sessions with park staff and guest speakers, I gained a wealth of knowledge. I especially enjoyed our time learning about the pollinators and native plants, some one on one time with Vicky as I got to observe her painting process, and our time with indigenous interpreters Cecelia and Anthony.
It was also wonderful to meet other artisans, make connections and learn about others’ craft. I don’t get to socialize with other artisans often and  I think it’s important to cultivate these relationships. 
I see this residency is an amazing opportunity for me to challenge myself to expand my practice, pushing into new creative territory. It’s given me permission to ‘think outside the box’ and to reach for new creative goals. I feel that I will be drawing inspiration from my Beneath the Surface experiences for many years to come.

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Darren Emenau

My time at Beneath the Surface surpassed all my expectations. I came into this project with a mind distracted from other things I was currently working on. After about an hour, I started to settle and was able to start the absorption process.

Connecting with old and new artists after a few years isolated made my level of creativity rise up again. I spent every opportunity with the park interpreters and guest speakers to learn what was available.

The first night home left me exhausted in body, but refreshed in spirit. I felt lucky and privileged to have been a part of this experience. I have had multiple dreams on installation ideas, and I’m sure they will keep coming. I’m so excited to produce outdoor work for Fundy National Park next summer

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Robyn Shortt

It was so valuable to me to spend so much time talking about art in the company of other artists! The wonderful Parks staff who facilitated the experiences in the Park were knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the Park and the project, and our curator Vicki was extremely encouraging and inspiring. So many experience and learning packed into only 5 days and all the while immersed in nature!  Wonderful!

 I am so excited to be part of this project and I think it is going to produce some amazing art!

Wednesday

Sustainable Art Practices Talk and

Fossil Walk

In the morning, Craft NB Executive Director Ali Murphy gave a talk on sustainble art paractices to get the artists thinking about how they can be more mindful of the materials they use in their work.

Denis brought a group of us to Alma Beach to search for fossils. We found lepidodendron and calamites fossils, from the carboniferous period (a whopping 300 million years ago!).  As soon as we spotted one, they were everywhere! The heat quickly got to us, and we sat on the beach and listened to Denis speak about his passion of fossils and soaked in his knowledge.

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Margaret Ann Capper

I have not felt so calm and peaceful in a long time. I would like to express my deep gratitude for all your work (the whole team) for creating such an extraordinary experience and having such a strong belief in craft/art. Thank you!

Thursday

Polinator Garden and

Chignecto Trail

Dan led us through the park to check out possible locations for the artists to install their work.

We met Neil in the polinator garden near the visitors centre to learn about native plant species and how they help our daytime and nighttime polinators thrive in New Brunswick.

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Kevin MacLean

 I took part in Beneath the Surface 2022 not really knowing what I had gotten myself into nor had I ever done a residency before. Which in hindsight was probably the perfect way to enter such a week. If I had to sum it up in one word EXPANSION comes to mind. Spending the time away from my studio and daily life…  immersed in the park , new people, and most of all the guided walks shifted my entire view of the world and woke up a few parts inside myself that had gone dormant and gathered dust. Such a valuable opportunity as an artist and as a person inhabiting this wonderous amazing planet. The experience has led to new friends and perhaps a new body of work.

Observe

Expand, contract, expand

Chignecto Recreation

Shirley led us through Chignecto, which had been devastated by hurricaine Fiona.  Shirley has been working to reclaim the old logging roads and return them back to natures hold.

She’s planted ‘snags’ (dead tree trunks and branches) along the trails which help fill out the sides of the new trail where it was once road, provide more shelter for wildlife, and which will eventually add more organic matter back into the forest floor.

 

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Monique Bujold-Brown

Beneath The Surface 2022′ was my second BTS residency. I felt it was better than the previous one because I knew what to expect to one extent which helped me embrace the experience deeper.

Being an isolated potter in Northern New Brunswick, BTS helped in expanding lifeline connections with like-minded folks.  I feel much more grounded and confident as an artist after sharing such an intense week with other fellow creators. 

 The goals set by BTS22 are helping in grasping a deeper awareness of nature at all its multitude of levels 

 Its biggest impact is how much more confident I now feel in my artistic process.

Medicine Walk

We met with Cecelia Brooks and her son, and former Fundy park interpretor, Anthony, for a medicine walk.  They taught us about native species, fungi, and their indigenous medicinal properties.

We ate berries and barks, and met some wildlife along the trail.

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Patricia Goodine

Beneath the Surface 2022 was an experience that will always give me inspiration. In my art practice as well as in my daily life.
Thanks to the very passionate and knowledgeable interpreters of Fundy National Park. They have passed on that passion for the natural world in a way that has changed the way I will always look at things around me. I will always think of how everything is connected and how any one thing that exists in nature does not exist autonomously. Although I’ve always known that; one needs to experience it in a guided way sometimes to really let it become an automatic way of thinking.
In terms of my art practice; I’ve always drawn from the natural world for inspiration. But my experience at this Residency will bring that inspiration to another level, I hope.
Another way of thinking brings another way of making.

I will always eat something from the forest before I leave it. Thank you Cecilia Brooks!

Night Hike

That night, Dan led us on a hike through the woods in the dark, and down to Herring Cove Beach where we drank spruce tea and had a bonfire. Dan told tales of spring water potions, and of the Mi’kmaq legends of the Pukulatamuj.

Curator talk with Vicky Lentz

On our last morning in Fundy, Curator Vicky Lentz gave us a digital tour of her work. The artists asked questions about her ability to merge art into nature while remaining harmonius and unintrusive with the wilds that surround her every day.

We are grateful to have  a curator as experienced and noteworthy as Vicky.  She is so kind and thoughtful, and already we are seeing a special relationship between her and the artists. We are lucky to have her as the glue of this immense project.

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Anicka Senior

The Beneath the Surface Art residency was an unforgettable experience. It was enriching to share space with so many brilliantly creative minds, in the beautiful natural setting of Fundy National Park. The team at Craft NB organized the week very well, everything flowed perfectly and if there were any hiccups they were unnoticeable. We were introduced to Fundy through the park’s interpreters who shared with us a wealth of knowledge about the history of the park, the landscape and the flora and fauna. It was fascinating and very inspiring. Our wonderful curator Viky Lentz is very supportive and I’m excited to continue working with her as I enter the developmental phase of my creation for the exhibition

Special Thanks

This project was made possible by the generous support of Canada Council for the Arts.

We were fortunate enough to have Craig Norris and Peter Brzezicki of Videoband on this adventure with us to document the process for a documentary film that they will be creating for Beneath the Surface. We caught a few glimpses of the footage they took and we are aleady blown away. We can’t wait to see this project develop.

Big thanks to the Province of New Brunswick for the funding phase one of this documentary. We are thrilled to be able to add another visual layer onto this project we love so much.

A big shout out to Buff Bands Canada who generously supplied our entire crew with buffs for the experience. They were not only appreciated, but were put to great use over the course of the week and all of the activities!

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Anne Stillwell-LeBlanc

Beneath the Surface Artist Residency hosted by Craft NB and Fundy National Park was an absolute dream for a New Brunswick nature inspired artist like myself. I am extremely grateful to have been given the opportunity to learn, share and grow alongside such immense talent. From forest hikes, beach exploration, fossils walks and star gazing, BTS was jam packed with endless inspiration. An incredibly well organized and deeply impactful experience. As an emerging artist, keen to expand my practice into installation work, I cannot thank Craft NB enough! I am walking away from this residency, more connected and in love with New Brunswick than ever.

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