Is there something about a place that brings out the artistic side of our endeavours? One can almost believe this to be true of the Gulf Islands of British Columbia – a place where so many beautiful visual masterpieces are made, not least of which are the sculptures by Nicola Prinsen. "I live on Salt Spring Island," says Nicola, "surrounded by the ocean, amazing wildlife and farms. I only need to walk outside to be influenced by nature’s beauty. My subjects are never far away; sheep, chickens, seals, otters, cows, rabbits, crows, the list is endless. My studio fills the ground floor of an old dairy barn. Some of the milking stanchions are still in the studio, the walls are covered with barn planks, it is sturdy and rustic, warm and light, filled with clutter, filled with things from the past – it has everything I could ask for." The sculpture itself comes from amusing – or frightening, depending on your point of view – encounters with wildlife. Take for example, the winter that rats moved into the barn. In the morning Nicola would discover their little footprints all over the dusty shelves of her studio. She tried luring them out by baiting china cups and bowls with food, gradually trying to move them closer to the door. "At night you could hear them scurrying around
left and below, Ernest, bronze and epoxy resin, 16.5" above, Big & Little, bronze, Big 21", Little 4"