The arts are an essential service – especially during difficult times, when people world-wide are facing loneliness and hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
So Chemainus’ Rainforest Arts’ new Off the Wall virtual gallery, which opened May 1, will come as a pleasant surprise to those missing their trips to brick and mortar venues. And clay artist Peggy Grigor’s Gaia’s Garden, featured until the end of June, will give them an inspiring take on nature.
The clay sculptures are a new departure for well-known potter Grigor, so as she masters new techniques for working clay, she’s also discovering new facets of herself as an artist.
“When I started doing the sculptural work, I started to get interested in doing faces and images of humans,” she said.
And from there, the inspiration to do a series representing Gaia emerged.
“It just came to me, let’s do Gaia, who is Mother Earth, because she needs someone to pay attention to her now,” Grigor recalled.
“I have two passions, one is working with the clay, which is the earth, the other is working in the garden, which is the earth,” she said.
Both are centring, creative acts. “If we just listen to Gaia, and follow her lead, basically just being a mother, nurturing, taking care of – if we all did that, then the planet could be saved.”
She hopes to bring her Gaia’s Garden show outdoors. “What I envision is putting the sculptures in the garden, and creating an experience of garden tours,” she said.
Is that practical and will it sell? That’s another question Grigor has wrestled with, and come down on Gaia’s side.
“You can’t think about economics, you can’t think about ‘Can I make a living at this?’, if you want to be an authentic artist. You just have to be part of the art and let it happen.”
Of course, she adds, she’d love to sell some of her Gaia works.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rainforest Arts Gallery is closed until further notice, but you can take a virtual tour of the Gaia’s Garden series at RainforestArts.ca. Grigor will be hosting a live Q&A and demo online from her studio in Saltair on Saturday, May 16 at 11 am. Please register from the Rainforest Arts website or contact Grigor at 250-416-1411.