Sisters harmonize their crafts in exploration of pine beetle effect

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Earth and Pine by sisters Linda Doherty and Lynnette Gullackson runs July 3 – August 4, 2009 at the Circle Craft Shop & Gallery in Granville Island’s Net Loft.

Earth and PineEarth and Pine is an exhibition featuring the collaboration of two sisters combining their arts of pine needle basketry and ceramics. Living at opposite ends of the province, the challenge was to trust each other to let their original ideas evolve as in the way of nature. The work is a symbol of their connection as well as of the interdependency of the pine trees and earth and mankind. The show is intended to bring attention to the destruction of our forests due to the pine beetle pandemic, which impacts everyone even if they have not been personally affected. “By accepting the power of nature, perhaps we can calm the devastating emotions when face to face with the problem,” say the artists, sisters Doherty and Gullackson.

“Having witnessed the demise of the trees on our property and surrounding area I felt compelled to make an artistic statement if only to calm the emotions and feeling of despair. The contrast between the permanence of ceramic pottery and the fragility of the pine needles has inspired me to create forms that can be complemented by the addition of pine needles. To do this I am collaborating with my sister,” says Doherty.

And, Gullackson says, “Standing under a magnificent old ponderosa pine tree one spring day in 2005, I was inspired to gather a bunch of the needles carpeting the forest floor and find a use for them. Now, in the wake of the mountain pine beetle infestation, I’m determined to preserve as many of the needles as I can.”

During a visit to their property in the Nicola Valley, the sisters gathered fallen pine needles to experiment with the process of dyeing and weaving. It immediately seemed appropriate to use these two materials as a means of raising awareness of the pine beetle pandemic while demonstrating harmony of the contrasting materials. For this project, all of the pine needles for weaving on the vessels have been gathered in the Nicola Valley among the dying trees. The needles are sorted for size and colour and then stored to retain their colour. They are either dyed or left natural before being woven to the clay pot with linen, sisal, or other threads. All of the pots are made with stoneware clay and fired in various ways. Some of the clay pots were fired with fallen wood from the area. Some were gas fired, raku fired, or pit fired in horse manure and sawdust.

“I am hopeful that the exhibition will raise awareness and create a dialogue to understand or accept the power of nature and allow the majestic Ponderosa Pines to fall with grace,” says Doherty.

Earth and PineLinda Doherty (Burnaby/Stump Lake, BC) has been a working potter for over 20 years. Her keen interest in expanding her knowledge of pottery has taken her to Peru, Thailand, Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, and India. Linda’s work has been shown throughout Vancouver and in Burnaby, and has been featured in books including the American Ceramic Society’s book, Extruded Ceramics. In 2003, Linda built a new studio in the cattle ranching country of the interior of British Columbia at Stump Lake. She now divides her time between producing her own work at Stump Lake and working and teaching at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts in Vancouver BC.

Lynnette Gullackson (Fort Nelson, BC) is an award winning fibre artist who was born and raised in Dawson Creek, BC. Lynette’s passion for fibre arts was fuelled as an 11-year-old when she used wood fibre to create flowers and corsages to sell door-to-door. At the age of 12, she began making her own clothing. Working in a fabric store in the 1990s inspired her to explore new areas and her interest turned to creating pictures made with fabric. When her mother died in 1994, she turned her mother’s vintage muskrat coat into seven heirloom bears for her family. That began the production of over three hundred fur and fabric bears.

For information about this and other upcoming gallery exhibitions, visit

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