Each of the community sponsors are recognized beside each work.
Also thank you to:
-Municipality of the County of Antigonish
-Town of Antigonish
-Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library
-Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations
-Economic and Rural Development and Tourism
-The Government of Canada
-the People of Antigonish
My concept for the Library Mural, was to celebrate the culture of our local region using visual patterns, textures, and colours taken from the arts and crafts of many Antigonish traditions. Look closely and you can see elements of pottery, rug hooking, quilting, painted manuscript, and other unique genres. I also wanted to suggest the beautiful local landscape as well as town and county landmarks. There are birds and wildlife too: a perfect match with the decorative concept of the mural as a whole.
We have been operating together for 30 years from our shop in the Beaver Meadow area of Antigonish County. Working with wood is our passion. Over the years it has been a rewarding experience for us to collaborate with artists in other media to compliment or complete their work. We welcomed the opportunity to utilize our experience to contribute to this facility both functionally and aesthetically.
I am a sculptor and architect based in Cape Breton. In the past five years I have established a number of public art installations and showed my work at various indoor and outdoor solo exhibitions in Canada and Europe.
One of the central themes of my work is the contemplative human being, as an abstract figure, reflecting on the longing for harmony and communication in the modern world.
Trained as a Restoration Stone Mason, I transitioned from architectural restoration to sculptor some 20 years ago; working out of my studio and gallery in Bass River, Nova Scotia. Having grown up in Antigonish, I am both pleased and excited to have contributed to this important project.
The sculpture I have created for the People's Place is a six foot high Word Stone hand carved from Indiana Limestone.
The stone was uncovered during excavation for the west foundation wall of hte new library. It is likely the threshold of the old bank, from the 1880's or 1890's.
Bird's-Eye Maple is indigenous to the Acadian and Great Lake-St. Lawrence Forest Regions of Eastern North America. The Bird's-Eye Maple pattern or formation can occur wherever Sugar/White Maple grows, but is often in mixed hardwood stands in harsh northern growing conditions, often in deformed trees.
For The People's Place Fireplace Surround, I have chosen to unite two distinct aspects of Antigonish culture that I have come to admire. Living Stories weaves two imagined narratives that travel up the sides of the fireplace to join in the top section. The left side of the fireplace surround explores a world of past experiences, a world of self reliance and tireless work within declining small scale agrarian life. Amidst the beams of a barn, an aging man holds an axe.
I am a Mi'kmaq artist living on the Millbrook First Nation reserve outside of Truro, Nova Scotia. Sometime in the mid-80's, I was visiting the Afton reserve where I developed many lasting friendships. I came upon the Prosper kids playing in a canoe on a summer's day. This took me back instantly to many summer days of my childhood where I did the exact same thing. But now, I was an observer. I was lucky to have my camera with me and that I went unnoticed (which would have broken the spell). This is the closest I'll ever come to re-living a moment of my childhood.
A carrel desk is a small desk featuring high sides meant to visually isolate its users from any surroundings. It is thought that carrels originated in monasteries or cloisters to help contain the cacophony of roomfuls of monks reading aloud, as was the early practice.
These carrels are an original design by Keith with input from architect Dale Archibald and Chief Librarian Eric Stackhouse.
For Let the Outside In I wanted to depict the experience of reading - the feeling that the surrounding space is merging with other places. I began the work by making a collage in order to explore ways of combining different spaces in the same composition. Bringing the outside indoors seemed like a good way to depict how other experiences and places can filter in through a book to colour one's experience of the place they're in. Also, by jumping between styles and techniques, a painting can be about many things at once.
Tapestry weaving is a centuries-old art form practiced by most cultures around the world. Its hands-on process is slow and solitary, and seems antithetical to our contemporary age of digital technology when time is measured in nanoseconds rather than the days, weeks and months it takes to weave a tapestry. You might be interested to know that weaving is essentially a binary process, and that today's computers are the direct descendents of very old weaving technology.
When I moved to Antigonish in 1971, I was profoundly moved by the landscape and culture of this area. Self-taught in oils and watercolour, I studied printmaking at NSCAD and teach at StFX in the Art Department. I have exhibited in galleries across Canada, and in 2005 I traveled overseas with a large exhibition of my work called "Old New Scotland" to four galleries in the Scottish Highlands.
Since childhood, I have loved creating a magical world of alluring queens, whimsical fairies, and other strange creatures that appear in my imagination. I am drawn to the cavernous forest, its trees having surrounded my home in Antigonish for the better part of my life, and have always envisioned an enchanted and serene world radiating from even the darkest corners of everyday life. I love reading stories and showing stories in my artwork.
The sundial is a time-keeping technology that is accessible to all. It is for this reason I chose to create a sundial for the People's Place Project. In a sense, the sundial is timeless, for as long as the sun continues to transit the sky this landmark will continue to tell the time of day, as well as the time of year, no batteries required. This piece is the first of what I hope will be many commissions for True North Concretions.
Like the coastal areas of Nova Scotia, our bench is rough, wild, spirited and colourful, embodying the elements that make up our majestic coast. The bench was created by casting coloured concrete into a complex wooden and rubber mould, and adding coloured glazes and finishes. The carved mandala shape of the fiddlehead fern morphs into a spinning comet spitting life into the primordial forests. Ancient Long Boats turn into contemporary fishing craft, and ancient totems grow into lighthouses.
Linda Henke studied design and textiles at Florida State University. She recently retired as Development Officer at St. Francis Xavier University. Linda is a member of the Antigonish Culture Alive (formerly GAPACC) Board of Directors, served as its Chair for three years, and is currently Treasurer. Iris Roach has a Master of Fine Arts degree and has been Chair of the StFX University Fine Art Department for the last 14 years. We are both long time members of the StFX Art Gallery Board of Directors.
I created six paintings on silk to celebrate the natural beauty of the Antigonish area and to help bring nature indoors to the library. Each of the images features wild or cultivated flowers, creatures familiar to all, and people reading books. Sarah O'Toole coordinated the reproduction of my images on banners and installed them in the Bistro Area. My belief that art improves lives, and that the People's Place Library will be an important gathering place for our community, made me excited and grateful to participate in this public art project.
Since moving to Antigonish County in 1977, I have come to love the environment of the costal shoreline. As a mixed media artist, teacher and beachcomber, and in keeping with the name People's Place, I was inspired to produce a piece of artwork for the curved bench that will be a welcoming place for all. I thought of the Sun, rising in the East over the water, signifying a new day. I thought of the First People, the Mi'kmaq, and their birch bark canoes which played a vital role in bringing communities together...
This art piece was designed and executed with a group of local children. The children chose their favourite book characters and made coloured drawings of them. The fabrics were prepared according to their colour schemes. After choosing a bookshelf as a background the children worked with the fabrics in a collage-style technique. I provided the necessary guidance and expertise for the project and did the final machine and hand stitching. The children included many details and the result is a beautiful, vibrant and engaging conversation piece.
I am a local craftsperson running a small custom production woodworking shop in Antigonish County. I have done work for the School Board, the Theatre in Guysborough, StFX, St. Martha's Regional Hospital, as well as private libraries and residential kitchens. My affinity for public libraries goes back to my childhood; my mother, Rosemary Grant and my uncle, Donald Ross were voracious readers and going to the library each week was, for them, as important as going to the grocery store.
It was clear from the design consultations that the community wanted a library that was green and environmentally conscious. We planned many elements, some large and some small, to achieve that goal. The Green Guide explains a bit about them and how they work.
Download the PDF version here...
Thank you to everyone who made the People's Place a green and sustainable project.
- Municipality of the County of Antigonish
- Town of Antigonish
- Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library
- Eco Nova Scotia
- Community Access Program
- Eastern Region Solid Waste Management Committee
- Shear Wind Inc.
- Government of Nova Scotia
- Government of Canada
- The People of Antigonish