Artist’s play leads to perfection
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.
Last Saturday during the interview, landscape artist Charles
Peacock brought his wife, Linda Peacock, a lovely wasp nest for her to work with.