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Home Away From Home

On the M9 Contemporary site we have created a stone and sculpture garden that is unique in the Dyers Bay area.  We have been fortunate enough to gradually acquire the rocks of our dreams that may or may not be desirable in a traditional sense.  Each of the garden stones is special in its own way, from the curvy multi-layered rock which has become a viewpoint and lookout, its top made accessible by a hand-made cedar ladder to the very rare glaciated stone that retains the scrapes and scratches of ice-age abrasion and an indentation made by some ancient waterfall.  We have two mini sculpture gardens that produce exquisite bonsai raspberry plants in the indentations left by the action of acidic pebbles on the host alkaline stone.  All of our rocks house or otherwise display sculpture, stone formations and cast metal objects.  Our latest addition is a kind of totem ladder weather vane construction mounted on probably the finest stone we have which comes from deep enough within the Niagara  escarpment to show fine layers of oil from the ancient sea bed which underlies the Bruce Peninsula.  This summer we completed the entranceway to the site with an anomaly, a very large egg-shaped piece of green granite.  We have found that the rocks visually and energetically ground the property as well as providing a constant reminder of the age of the place. 

 In establishing our 'home away from home' at Dyers Bay on the Bruce Peninsula we have learned things that we could never have predicted, principally the wisdom in letting things 'be'. It seems that we have engaged in a form of creative orienteering that has lead us from here to there and back again. The wild garden at M9 Contemporary is home to all kinds of birds, insects and animals over the summer months. There are both visitors and year-round residents who make their presences felt in various ways. The daring acrobatic activity of hummingbirds and dragonflies contrast with the gentle meanderings of butterflies and moths against an ever changing backdrop of grasses, flowers and trees. Our sculpture and outdoor installations rise out of the natural habitat of Dyers Bay. They contain found local objects including rocks, tree branches and other plant materials. But what amplifies this work in an already rich surrounding environment is the addition of hand-made elements such as carved wooden spoons, a cast iron teepee/bungalow and life-size aluminum paddles and oars. The wooden spoons signify human nourishment at its most basic level. They hold painted cast plastic birds and insects suspended on dried burdock stems but also a collection of fossils that indicate great age being the formative elements of the millions years old Niagara Escarpment. These petrified coral configurations map out areas of a long time past but the fact that such ancient life forms are paired with more recent replications of wildlife means that a link between past and present has been established. The fact that the sculpture has been a magnet for passing birds and insects that are attracted to the work and tend to perch on it reinforces this association in real time. The use of aluminum in the outdoor installations creates a site that is illuminated by the sun during the day, but the work attains a whole new level of brilliance at night under the moon. At this point a sense of the garden as a very special place in the entire scheme of things becomes clear and the artwork facilitates this universal connection .  Michael and Delwyn

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