A new sculpture by artists Janet Cole and Cindy Jones has recently been installed at the Kerry Wood Nature Centre. The metal

A new sculpture by artists Janet Cole and Cindy Jones has recently been installed at the Kerry Wood Nature Centre. The metal

Bold move to explore beaver lodge inspires abstract art

As a boy, Red Deer author and naturalist Kerry Wood once swam underwater to explore a beaver lodge.

As a boy, Red Deer author and naturalist Kerry Wood once swam underwater to explore a beaver lodge.

This bold — and potentially hazardous — move has inspired a new abstract public artwork at the Gaetz Lake Sanctuary.

Castor Constructed is a metal, rock and wood piece created by Red Deer artists Janet Cole and Cindy Jones. The $11,400 sculpture that resembles the curved shape of a beaver den, is located near the parking lot and nature playground. It represents the important role of beavers in our environment.

It also pays tribute to the late Wood, the namesake of the adjacent Kerry Wood Nature Centre.

Cole and Jones had read some of Wood’s stories and were struck by The Beaver House. It recounts how Wood’s boyhood curiosity about beaver lodges prompted him to dive underwater and stick his head inside a beaver den.

This was a dangerous act, said Cole. “He just found the hole and popped his head in. He could have drowned,” and she hates to think of what could have happened if a beaver had been home at the time.

But Wood managed to get a good look inside a beaver dwelling, which is central to the survival of the hard-working rodents.

The sculpture, which was paid from a fund that put aside one per cent of construction costs from the renovated nature centre for art installations, was designed by Cole and Jones to resemble the supports holding up a beaver house.

Jones said beavers use heavier pieces of wood as a frame, then weave smaller branches, packed with mud, to create walls.

The sculpture is made of metal plate, but “we made marks, as if beavers had been chewing on them and left some teeth marks,” added Cole, who previously worked with Jones to make a much smaller wall sculpture for the rebuilt Slave Lake Public Library.

Jones, who created some of the banners hanging in the children’s department at the Red Deer Public Library, is used to making large-scale three-dimensional works. Some of her sculptures were displayed in 2005 at the Red Deer museum.

Castor Constructed was created last winter in Jones’s workshop, using welding torches for the steel bending and plasma cutters for the mark marking. Cole said the biggest challenge was the physical labour involved in moving and bending the steel, which was later powder coated to prevent rust. The edges were also ground to make them safer.

Both artists studied visual arts at Red Deer College. Jones has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Calgary.

They hope viewers will walk around their sculpture, which sits amid a bed of gravel in a pond shape, and think about the beaver’s role in “creating wetland ecosystems that are full of life and diversity.”

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives at the 2021 budget in Edmonton on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta launches COVID vaccine lottery with million-dollar prizes to encourage uptake

The premier says the lottery will offer three prizes worth $1 million a piece, as well as other prizes

Dharmesh Goradia, and his daughter Vidhi and wife Chaitali, at the 2017 festival for the Godess Durga, held at the Golden Circle. (Photo contributed)
Draft curriculum misses the mark for central Alberta Hindu society

Meeting scheduled with Alberta Education officials

Air Canada planes sit on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. Air Canada says it will recall more than 2,600 employees who were furloughed during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Alberta’s tourism sector hurt by COVID-19 pandemic: ATB Financial

Between border closures, public health measures and hesitancy to travel, Alberta’s tourism… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

A man wears a face mask as he walks by a sign for a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, May 16, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Canada paid a premium to get doses from Pfizer earlier than planned

OTTAWA — Canada paid a premium to get more than 250,000 doses… Continue reading

The Kamloops Indian Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., is shown in this 1930 handout photo. HO — Deschatelets-NDC Archives
Calls grow for Ottawa to review settlement decisions for residential school survivors

Lawyer Teri Lynn Bougie still cries when she talks about the final… Continue reading

Syringes are readied at a COVID-19 mobile vaccination clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, Friday, April 30, 2021 in Montreal. Most of the federal contracts for COVID-19 vaccines allow for Canada to donate some of its doses to other countries or international aid organizations and in at least three cases, for the doses to be resold.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada’s vaccine contracts allow for doses to be donated, in some cases resold

OTTAWA — Most of the federal contracts for COVID-19 vaccines allow for… Continue reading

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, responds to the report on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, in Vancouver, on Monday June 3, 2019. As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk'emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Two sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

VANCOUVER — As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after… Continue reading

A woman sits and weeps at the scene of Sunday's hate-motivated vehicle attack in London, Ont. on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. Four members of a family in London, Ont., are set to be buried today. The public has been invited to help celebrate the lives of Talat Afzaal, 74, her son Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, and their 15-year-old daughter Yumna Salman.THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Geoff Robins
Funeral to be held today for London family killed in attack

LONDON, Ont. — Four members of a Muslim family killed in what… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden listen to United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson deliver opening remarks at a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, United Kingdom Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau to discuss foreign policy with G7 leaders at second day of summit meeting

CARBIS BAY, CORNWALL, ENGLAND — Foreign policy is on the agenda for… Continue reading

Most Read