Friday, March 22, 2013

Toronto Island: Day 7 Brrrrrning Man Pt. 2

We think it has snowed every single day of our residency. Almost certainly, it has been snowing at all of our lunches when we sat down and looked out the window. And it snowed during our potluck dinner. And it snowed as we packed into the van to go to the beach for the Spring bonfire. If it snowed at the beach I don't really know - I was kind of distracted - but by the time we headed to the van around 10pm to get our lift back to the residence it was COLD.

off to the island bonfire
I missed the trees hanging upside down from the other trees today. I had hoped the Christmas trees were actually set on fire while they were attached to the upright trees (I know this would be tricky) but it was not to be. In my mind's eye I make spectacles into things that are even more spectacular than real life. Creative minds, eh?

carrying our tree to the site
walking up to the site

crow signage all around the fire's edge

bonfire in progress
There was something extremely satisfying to me when I watched those tinder dry Christmas trees burn. I really did feel like we were seeing winter make way for spring. The heat and the flame from each tree as it was thrown onto the pile was magnificent and exciting. I think I believe Spring is here, snow or no snow. The old season is gone.

throwing a tree onto the fire
tree and wreath ready for the fire
small tree for the fire

Around the fire was a woman holding a crescent moon which made for great images against the fiery backdrop

sparks, crescent moon and moon in the sky moon
barefoot fire hoop dancer

kid-sized fire + kids roasting marshmallows

tambourine player

looked after the fire AND cooked foil wrapped potatoes in the fire

wore shades by the fire
potato, courtesy Christmas 2012/Spring 2013

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Toronto Island: Day 7 Brrrning Man pt 1

salt lamp outside my room at 6:30am
I woke up early with a bike ride on my mind. I wanted to drive in the opposite direction to where I was the other day. I wanted to get to the ferry dock for Ward's Island where we would be going tomorrow on our trip off the island.

So, creeping out I went around the corner into the main hallway
salt lamp in main hallway
turned the corner and saw CJ waiting for me in the shadowy dawn.

We walked to the kitchen together, where I saw someone had already fed the kitty

so I headed out the door to my bike and went for a morning ride.

I passed a frosty boardwalk to Gibraltor Point Beach

a house with sap buckets on the other side of the street,

formal gardens,

a farm,

a sound sculpture bundled up for the winter

trees with icy patches on them along the water's edge

and large patches of solid ice.

I oriented myself and headed back to begin the day

sofa and saltlamps on the way to our studio

We spent the day wrestling with drawing#3, which won, and then all the residents here joined in on one of the best potlucks I have ever had. 3 kinds of salad, cheese, crackers, fruit, pizza, chcken, fish desserts. Such a great communal atmosphere here at Gibraltor Point. Several of us were very sad to be leaving tomorrow.

salt lamp chandelier, tulips, artsts
kitchen conversation and clean up

After our fine meal we got dressed and headed to the van to join the islanders for their Spring Ritual: burning their Christmas trees on the beach. This was the Gibraltor Point Residence tree on its way to be transformed.
To be continued...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Toronto Island: Day 6 The Vernal Eggquinox

Question: According to folklore, you can stand a raw egg on its end on the equinox.

Is this true?
Answer: One spring, a few minutes before the vernal equinox, several (Farmer's)Almanac editors tried this trick. For a full workday, 17 out of 24 eggs stood standing. Three days later, we tried this trick again and found similar results. Perhaps 3 days after the equinox was still too near. Try this yourself and let us know what happens!

 Today Spring arrived. Snow arrived as well but it was a Spring snowfall.. Surprisingly, on this peaceful island, the quiet was broken by a new sound, chainsaws. I wasn't happy to hear them.

started the morning with the sound of chainsaws
The tree that was a focal point in yesterday's painting is now gone. It was a coincidence to choose that tree of all of the ones around here to paint. I did choose it because it had been marked for destruction with the big orange dot,
but I didn't think it'd be the next day.

We worked in the studio all morning into the mid afternoon completing drawing number 2, which made all of us very happy. Right after we were done we tacked up the paper for our last drawing. It is a mere 7'9'' x 4'. The last one was a generous 18' x 4, our largest work yet. Our aim is to finish number 3 before we are off-island on Friday.
I still have to post pictures of the residence here but that too will come. Tomorrow will be jam-packed.

But today as I searched the net to find the exact arrival time of Spring I came across the Spring Equinox egg folklore thing and decided today was the day to try it. Every year I want to try it but this was the right place to do it finally

I grabbed my egg carton and headed out with my artists friends. Soon I was relieved of the egg carton cause I had a day of dropping things, and losing things, and misplacing things.
I wasn't to be trusted with the eggs.

I planned to finally get on the pier and see if my raw eggs did indeed stand upright, but with the wind, and the snow, and the waves, I didn't get on the pier again. (Two more days to try to do that.) I also thought the wind could prevent the egg from standing up so the experiment had a strike against it already in that location. 

Walking away I found a railing and in my enthusiasm to see if the egg would stand up, I put it on a flat surface too high up and it fell. And cracked. They were right. I wasn't to be trusted. I was encouraged to find a flat surface close to the ground.

There was some marble slab nearby (yeah, artists are around here for sure). When I tried to stand the egg up, it tipped over. Hmmm.
witness the egg on its side during the equinox

cracked egg fell over

So I tried another surface, wondering if this marble was level. I didn't have a level so maybe that was the problem.
And then this happened. It stood up. But look at that textured surface. Talk about support for an egg.
I tried another egg and this is what happened
One down, one up. My cracked egg was down. So.... we tried a few more surfaces.
wonky shaped egg not upright

egg on its side on flat piece of metal

For me the folk tale of an egg standing upright on the vernal equinox did not hold true. 
However, the cracked egg did go on to be a noble egg,

sacrificed in the name of science.

Tomorrow  Artscape Residents are invited to attend the Island's Spring Bonfire where they hang their Xmas trees upside down and burn them. Earlier this week I saw artists creating other big things to burn, like creature shapes.
I cannot wait to go.
note trees hanging from the trees

But until tomorrow night we have one more day to be focused and productive before we pack up.