Thick mud sucked our wellies in the open field, coloured leaves still clung in sparse patches to the trees and droves of people gathered in the woods with 100 chefs cooking the local bounty over fire pits for foodstock-stop the mega quarry on October 16, 2011.

The day, while damp and grey, attracted 28 000 individuals in solidarity.

I was incredibly moved to be part of this day.

In my practice as an artist I often find myself working alone.

I walk in woods, parks and city streets, collecting cues from my environment, then I sit quietly over my work in my home studio which expands and contracts through my kitchen, living room and terrace  depending on the season and project.

Here my friend and colleague, Alex Leikermoser of yogagurl invited me to collaborate on an installation in the woods for foodstock.

The porcelain cast leaves that I had made while living in Elora, from leaves collected in the gorge and my garden were strung on jute and hung from the branches.

 

I found meaning in relationship between the leaves of one forest, the Elora gorge, that I cherished and knew so well with my feet, hands and eyes to this forest surrounding the farmland in Melancthon Township with its own memory and history.

Alex had collected a variety leaves from High Park in Toronto, another cherished natural space that are lungs in our city, on which we invited foodstock visitors to write down a word, wish or thought.

The expressions including; family, forgiveness, friendship, joy, joie, love, water, nature, mothers, peaceful, people power, lucky, sensuous, sun, sustain, strong, stewardship, save our farmland, blisss, with all that lives let us equally share, where good things grow don’t let them go, and I love Canada, shone as sunny yellow statements of connection.


I was moved as individuals, friends and families took a moment to share their intention and their stories about the land, their hopes and their lives.

Before this day, I had no sense of what would unfold in the woods.

I had my own ideas about how to “set up” and create an experience of art, but here I realized that “I” was one organism in an evolving ecosystem collectively responding to the conditions.

It was a powerful experience for me to see how inclusivity invites growth.

After sitting among the trees, Toronto poet, Reuben Berger, shared these words with me.

This one….
We all have a role
to play
like the trees
and the sun
and the waves

A tree never tries
to be like the waves
and the waves never try

to be like the sun
why do people
try so hard
to be what they are not?

If you’re a tree
create shade
if you’re the sun
create warmth
be yourself
everyone is waiting

 

Towards the end of the day Alex and I huddled around the fire pit of Vertical’s chef Giacomo Pasquini, where we were welcomed, warmed and included to enjoy grilled polenta and cabbage.

In closing, crowds by the main stage absorbed the voice of Sarah Harmer and the inspiring initiative of Michael Stadtlander…

 

As Alex and I drove away the sun broke through the sky, and, unbelievably like a grand testimonial to the joy in collaboration that day, a rainbow arched across the landscape.

 

For more information about stopping the mega quarry and foodstock, visit:

http://nomegaquarry.ca/events/foodstock/
http://www.facebook.com/foodstockmusicfestivalpa