The Water Lily Project (2018), Ahmic Harbour, Ontario
Artist and papermaker, Collette Broeders has worked for several years developing the Water Lily Project (see below). Three years ago, Broeders began the project setting out to transform an invasive plant fibre (Phragmites) into paper, drawing signs, symbols and elements upon them representing a connection to both nature, transformation and destruction. Reflecting upon our delicate eco-system, specifically in this space where frogs are disappearing and eco-systems are eroding; Broeders set out by kayak, dispersing the biodegradable remnant water lily shapes into a marsh area near the Ahmic Harbour, Ontario, bearing an abundance of water lilies.
In a final act, the performance of the Water Lily Project is an ‘eco-vention’ representing letting go of loss, of transcendence and timelessness.
Special thanks for assistance, consultation and/or collaboration to:
Dr. Janice Gilbert, Wetland Specialist, Ontario Working Phragmites Group, Ken Vegh, City of Kingsville, Ontario Invasive Plants Council, Jill Crosthwaite, Coordinator, Conservation Biology, Southwestern Ontario subregion, Nature Conservancy of Canada, Essex Region Conservation Authority, and Dr. John Ambrose, Botanist.
In memory of Dr. Howard McCurdy, biologist
ABOUT THE WATER LILY PROJECT:
The Water Lily Project extends throughout the Windsor/Essex Region and beyond to collect the invasive plant, Phragmites found along shorelines to repurpose these noxious weeds into handmade paper. This project provides an opportunity to experiment with positive use of invasive species that threatens the environment within these regions and as far as northern Ontario. This project aims to maintain a sustainable art practice as well as create awareness about Phragmites and the effects of this species on our ecosystem. During the course of the project, Broeders safely collected Phragmites in order to create handmade paper fashioned into water lily shapes for mapmaking, drawing, painting and the development of awareness books. The project offered mobile papermaking workshops to the community that challenged participants to think differently about this species and experiment with positive transformation of Phragmites through hand papermaking. The workshops were intended to inform and engage the community about hand papermaking as well as develop awareness toward this invasive species and its environmental impact.