Responding to sites around the world through works
created in site specific installation, intervention, ephemeral sculpture,
video, sound, web, permanent site-specific sculpture, photography, printmaking,painting
Welcoming opportunities to work in different geographic regions &
locations in the world, creating site-specific works in response to the
on the images below for a closer look
Entrance to exhibition
Stamp Sand Circle
Passage guided by Goose
and New Growth
Please check back
for video and updated photos of the terrariums as they grow and change.
The Place Where One Crosses Over
Finlandia University and Finnish American
Heritage Center Gallery, Hancock, MI, October 2004
This project took place during a residency at Finlandia University
in Hancock, Michigan in October 2004.
name Keweenaw is an Ojibway word and means the place where one crosses
over the Keweenaw Peninsula has a natural portage area which
was used by the Ojibway as a shortcut along the Lake Superior shoreline.
The Peninsula has been extensively mined for copper since the mid-1850s.
One of the by-products of copper mining is 'stamp sand', or tailings,
which were dumped at sites along the shore. Nothing grows in these areas
and consequently there are acres and acres of black sands where nothing
lives or grows. Many of the sites have been remediated, but the Gay, Michigan
site remains as it has for the past 70 years -- a desolate and silent
landscape that is slowly spreading along the coastline moved along
the shore by the waves of Lake Superior. Copper has a rich history of
being used in healing and is found in many legends around the world, so
it is strange that the mining of copper has actually destroyed the land
through the by-products of the mining process.
Copper is one of the oldest metals used by humans and has also traditionally
been used for healing purposes, especially for arthritis and rheumatism.
In Egypt copper mirrors were placed under the head of the body at burial,
while the followers of Confuscious used copper basins for purification
of their hands and feet and Christians used copper for candle holders.
Spiritualists believe that copper has the ability to conduct spiritual
energy, amplifying thoughts and receiving and sending psychic communications.
North American Natives used copper for knives, awls and other tools. Copper
Woman was the underwater goddess of the Haida on the Westcoast where copper
was the ultimate symbol of wealth and was used to make shields, bracelets,
pendants, neckrings and armbands. In Finland copper is known as kupari
and is mentioned in the Kalevala where Vainamoinen, the chief hero of
the epic poem, heads across the blue sea steering his boat with a copper
oar on his way to the darkness of Pohjola. Ukko, the Great Spirit, has
arrows forged from copper and Pikku Mies, who felled the over spreading
oak-tree for Vainamoinen, emerges from the sea in a suit of copper, with
a copper hatchet, while the brother of Vainamoinen, Illmarinen's wife
is made of gold, silver and copper.
I spent a few days driving and walking along northern areas of the Keweenaw
Peninsula, stopping at many places including: Gay, Eagle River, Eagle
Harbour, Copper Harbour, Traverse Point, Lake Linden and places in between.
Gay was my first stop and I was overwhelmed with the silence I found there
-- nothing was living in the black sands, yet you can see where the living
land abuts the areas of darkness around it. I gathered approximately 500
pounds of stamp sand from the Gay site. At Eagle River, the next site
I visited, I found a set of Canada Goose wings, still intact. Here I also
collected hundreds of tiny red rocks from along the shore and brought
these back to the studio with me. I had bought 24 shadow box frames in
Ontario, intending to bring them back to Vancouver with me, but they ended
up becoming part of the finished installation in the gallery.
The gallery at the Finnish American Heritage Centreis made up of two rooms
joined by a foyer area which acts as a space of transition, or movement,
from one space to the next. These rooms sit to the West and East, with
the foyer in the North and the entrance to the foyer from the South.
Viewers enter the gallery from the South direction which is associated
with the colours red or green and the heart, emotions and innocence.
The West is associated with the colour black and days end. With this in
mind an eight foot circle of black stamp sand was installed on the floor
of the west side of the gallery. The room is quiet and darkened and was
lit so that the circle of stamp sand glows, as if alive, on the gallery
The Canada Goose wings were suspended in the foyer, between the two rooms,
marking North, which is associated with the colour white, wisdom, purification
and endurance. In some cultures the goose is known as the messenger between
Heaven and Earth and in Egypt the goose is a solar bird and is believed
to lay the new day, while in Rome the goose was a sacred animal and was
the protector of the people. Shamans have been known to be aided by goose
spirits in their journeys to other worlds. The Goose wings cast four shadows
on the wall, as if moving from the West side of the gallery to the East.
The East is associated with the colour yellow, the dawn of day and new
life and the installation that sits in the east is about regeneration,
healing and growith. The wooden backings of the pine shadow box frames
were replaced with glass, and air holes drilled into the tops, transforming
them into small terrariums. Each of these terrariums sits on a sheet of
copper signifying the healing of the land and are arranged
in the shape of an Infinity symbol, signifying everlasting life. Inside
the terrariums, stamp sand is the initial layer, followed by a layer of
red rocks and soil the colour red is associated with strength and
health. The final layer is soil which was planted with five different
types of grass seeds: Birdsfoot Trefoil, Rye, Sweet Yellow Clover, Alfalfa
and Timothy. These grasses grow in the area and the seeds were chosen
for their availability and germination times. It was not known if the
seeds would grow, and thrive, due to the proximity of the stamp sand.
the exhibition is over, and as a gesture of return, the terrariums will
be auctioned off and the proceeds are to be used to buy birch trees for
remediation projects on the Keweenaw Peninsula.
check back for updated photos of the terrariums as they grow and change.