Crown of Thorns, The Millennium Project (1992-2000), KAAI, Kingston, Canada (now Modern Fuel Gallery Artist-Run-Centre, Kingston, Canada)
Chosen as one of the artists for the environmental art project "The Millennium Project," in 1992, I wandered the Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area of Kingston, looking for a site where I could create an installation from the local materials. A majestic red maple appeared in a clearing on my walk in a shaft of sunlight, like a regal creature standing proud. I asked Jeff our artist coordinator whether the site was available. I couldn't believe I would have the honour to work with this tree with such presence. Over the next two months, I sat under the maple with our baby daughter, communing and loving the space. Wavy branches had fallen to the ground with the wind and with age. Because I loved their shapes, I collected and placed them around the base of the maple. I wove the branches into a circle and held the joints in place with natural sisal. As I worked, I saw a crown of thorns. I resisted the religious metaphor, but the crown insisted. As a resonance, I asked my artist husband to hold the pieces of glass I had collected the year before in Ireland, and formed them into a glittering crown of thorns that we hoisted up onto a strong branch. Over time, the crown of thorns around the base went back into the ground, reclaimed by the forest and the grasses. I work with nature, and after my work highlights an area, the pieces return to their place in the natural order.