Full Metal Basket weaves worlds together
September 6 Kate Tupper’s most recent show “Full Metal Basket” is packed up and ready to go to Revelstoke after its abridged show at the ALFA Guild Gallery in Nakusp where a couple of the pieces had to be left out due to the enormity of their size and the smallness of the gallery space.
“There was one giant archway and a larger basket,” Tupper said, “I missed them.”
Such a personal sentiment, like a parent missing a child, is fitting for the show. Each piece is an exploration of ideas of domesticity and family, expressed in woven metal strapping and objects that call to mind home.
“This show is more art and sculpture,” Tupper said, “there’s not a lot of welding.”
Taking metal strapping as her warp and weft, she has woven together nests and hearths and archways, capturing both the durable and fragile aspects of home life, and the difficulty.
“I planned and collected materials for two years,” she told me, “It takes a while to develop ideas, and that was a totally new thing for me too.”
Now that she has entered into her third decade, the artist has noticed changes in interest and the artistic process as she gets older.
“I’m more comfortable with being more personal,” she revealed, “ It’s really scary to put your personal life and anything you’ve made out there.”
But Tupper knows that is what also makes art interesting too.
With her kids and her house, being a full-time artist isn’t possible for the Spark Tart.
“It’s not a reality, and it’s fine,” she remarked, “it’s important to be in the real world.”
Working with Nakusp Music Fest for two years has been great, and Tupper said she’s happy to get up early in order to make time for her art.
This show is particularly close to her heart because it is about her home and family, and the challenges that come with raising a child with mental health issues.
“Everything’s been cut,” she said, about programs in communities and schools that used to exist to help kids.
The show was a great opportunity to use her voice as an artist to raise the issue, so Tupper talked with her two boys and they both were excited about the show.
“They like the snacks,” she said.
The idea to weave metal came to her when she was working at Crescent Bay Construction in Nakusp as a welder when she found a pile of old strapping and began to form this huge sculpture.
At first it was all over the place, she said, and eventually it came together into a beautiful feminine shape. Tupper wasn’t sure she liked it at first.
“Usually in my best pieces, I hate it for a bit,” she told me.
But the material kept drawing her back, its appeal that with weaving she didn’t need any special equipment, just the ancient skill of creating fabric.
“Metal and fabric as materials are very close,” Tupper said, “both stretch, need a pattern and putting together.”
There aren’t a lot of metal workers who sew, she noted, which is why the connection may not seem obvious at first.
Weaving her pieces was a process in itself. She would get up at 5 a.m. and weave until seven when she had to go get the kids ready for school.
“I would cry and cry while I wove,” she said, “and more and more stress came out of my body.”
It was the timeless process of organizing, of putting rows in places, that is part of the art of weaving that Tupper felt she was connecting with.
When she showed the work at Oxygen in Nelson, she gave an artist’s talk and got a chance to interact with the people coming to see her work. It was a very powerful experience.
“The show affected anyone dealing with any mental illness,” she said, and felt that people really connected with something they needed.
Tupper doesn’t feel like she’s done with weaving, and wants to combine her love of crafts into her next work. At the moment, she’s out of strapping, but be prepared for another amazing show once she gets her hands on some more.
Drop by for some egg drop soup and see what a drunken paw can draw
August 17 On August 20 and 21, the art trio Drunken Paw performed along with local artists at the Deb Rushfeldt Gallery and the Museum of Ephemera in Nakusp.
The trio is comprised of Mark Dicey, Leslie Sweder, and Janet Turner, who work regularly together creating collaborative drawings.
Nakusp artist Don Mabie, aka Chuck Steak, worked for a decade with Dicey doing performance art in different guises. Mabie was definitely excited to have the improvisational art troupe in town for the weekend, seeing the event as an opportunity for local artists to get “swept along” in the Drunken Paw creative process.
“The trio have shared a number of sessions in their homes but their preference is to work in public,” says a promotional flyer from Drunken Paw.
In that spirit, everyone was welcome to come watch the works in progress, which took more than three hours from the beginning of a drawing to its completion.
Through the Grapevine:A new venture is coming to fruit
September 15 Not many people think “wine” when they thing of the Arrow Lakes valley, but the Arrow Lakes Grape Growers Society (ALGGS) is aiming to change that.
The Indian summer sun beamed down on the grapes in Jody Scott’s vineyard at Sunset Ridge Bed and Breakfast where the ALGGS’s open house opened some minds to the potential for making high-quality local wine.
Followed by a cluster of grape enthusiasts, growers and drinkers both, Jody Scott wound through his vines and told their stories.
“It gets in your blood,” he revealed as his passion for grapes became clear.
Each varietal has a pedigree and a history, and Scott knows them both well. Many vines are grafted on to rootstock that has desired characteristics, such as winter hardiness, so each vine is unique.
The real trick is to balance acidity with sugar, something a grower won’t find out until a vine fruits, which takes about eleven years when producing new stock. Experimenters must have patience, and what do you do while you wait for the vines to grow?
“Just sit down and have a glass of wine,” answered Scott.
But the birds and wasps are less choosy, and don’t bother waiting for a good crop, so Scott had to wrap his red grapes in netting and put up wasps traps.
The other big pest Scott had to chase away, instead of lounging in the sun drinking wine like he should, is mildew. Unlike the semi-arid Okanagan, mildew is an enormous challenge for Kootenay growers, combated by spraying sulphur as far into the vines’ shady reaches as possible.
With names like “Labelle” and the less romantic “49.28.04,” the Blattner varietals growing in Scott’s yard may not be as well-known as cab-sauv or shiraz, but they may very well be the perfect ones for our zone and our economy.
The ALGGS is currently conducting a temperature study that will run for the next three to five years, and will be installing another test plot of grape varietals suited to our climate.
“You have to live wine to do this,” Scott said, and everyone sipping wine and eating goat cheese knew: this is the way to live.