Artist’s play leads to per­fec­tion

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier, Fitch Bay

With the abun­dance of na­ture as her medium, flo­ral artist Linda Pea­cock cre­ates beau­ti­fully imag­i­na­tive wall hang­ings and sculp­tures at her stu­dio in Fitch Bay, but you’ll sel­dom see a flower in her work. After twenty-five years in the flo­ral art busi--

ness, both in Bri­tish Colom­bia and here in the East­ern Town­ships where she sup­plied flo­ral ar­range­ments to the re­gion’s top ho­tels, this Que­bec City born artist now cre­ates art “that she likes”, us­ing an amaz­ing and un­usual va­ri­ety of plant and some­times an­i­mal ma­te­rial.

“When I was work­ing with flow­ers, I was cre­at­ing for oth­ers. Then I slowly mor­phed into non-flo­ral work,” said Linda as we toured her large stu­dio where strips of bark, dead plant stems, gi­ant shiny seed pods, drift­wood and hun­dreds of other nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als come to­gether un­der her mas­ter­ful as­sem­blage tech­niques to pro­duce long-last­ing, unique works of ‘nat­u­ral’ art.

“My aim is to evoke a feel­ing in the viewer, to cre­ate an in­ter­est, and some­thing that I like in the end. I like to use ma­te­ri­als in a dif­fer­ent man­ner,” con­tin­ued the artist.

Linda’s artis­tic process starts long be­fore she be­gins as­sem­bling a piece, some­times by years. “Part of my process has been trav­el­ling around the world find­ing stuff. I’ve climbed trees with my hus­band, Charles, in ex­otic places to get seed pods down, and thrown rocks up at oth­ers. We also find a lot of ma­te­rial on beaches.”

Her own back­yard and those of the neigh­bours also pro­vide a bounty of ma­te­ri­als for her art. “A friend was trim­ming their cedars and brought me the branches,” she said, point­ing to a work that she used them in. Another piece fea­tured the inside of the bark of a re­cently pruned ap­ple tree grow­ing in their yard. Dur­ing the in­ter­view, Mr. Pea­cock even ap­peared with what some night con­sider an un­usual gift: an empty wasp nest that he had re­trieved suc­cess­fully for his wife to work with!

“It’s been all trial and er­ror over the years in learn­ing how to dry plant ma­te­rial. This,” said Linda as she in­di­cated a flow­ery-look­ing ad­di­tion on a wall hang­ing, “is made from seaweed that turns red when it is left in the sun to dry for a long time. And th­ese lacy leaves were made by those hor­ri­ble Ja­panese Bee­tles; they’re very del­i­cate but they stay to­gether.”

The cre­ative fun con­tin­ues when Linda spreads out much of her ma­te­rial all over her stu­dio floor as she be­gins a new work. “I start to over­lap and su­per­im­pose the pieces, see what starts to come up. Other times I have an idea first of some­thing I want to make.”

Once the pieces have been placed to cre­ate an im­age or a sculp­ture, the real chal­lenge be­gins. “The hard part is how to keep it to­gether,” ad­mit­ted the artist who has truly mas­tered the art of ‘as­sem­blage’. “When I at­tach pieces I must be care­ful not to dam­age them. Some­times I sew ma­te­ri­als to­gether with li­nen thread, or join them with wire, sta­ples, screws or glue.”

The ma­te­ri­als, light and airy or hard and heavy, come to­gether to cre­ate pieces that are beau­ti­ful and float ef­fort­lessly on the walls. “By the time I’m done, I know I’m suc­cess­ful if the piece evokes some­thing in me; then it’s easy to give it a ti­tle,” ex­plained Ms. Pea­cock.

“When I worked in flo­ral de­sign, I did what was done. But now, I can’t go back to pretty flow­ers. I found who I am through my work, aes­thet­i­cally and spir­i­tu­ally.”

If you’d like to visit Ms. Pea­cock’s stu­dio in Fitch Bay, you can make an ap­point­ment by call­ing 819 868-2684.

Photo Vic­to­ria Vanier

Last Satur­day dur­ing the in­ter­view, land­scape artist Charles

Pea­cock brought his wife, Linda Pea­cock, a lovely wasp nest for her to work with.

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