Silk and fishing line. 40″ x 12″ x 12″.
© Allison Green 2012, Photos © Jeff Crawford 2012
Textile installation featuring dangling silk with photo-transfer. This piece follows the contours of the topographical map of Minister’s Face preserve on Long Island, New Brunswick. Printed on the surface are photographs of its thriving ecology. The different segments of the ecosystem are inextricably linked. Just like elevations on a map, removing just one slice would completely alter the whole.
On display at the NB Museum in Saint John as part of the Nature of Art of Nature exhibit for the Nature Trust of New Brunswick. Exhibit reopening at UNB Art Centre in Fredericton April 12, 2013.
We took off on our second trip to another of the NB Nature Preserves on Saturday morning. We had made a number of attempts to reach Sugar Island, but couldn’t seem to find the road that was supposed to lead us there. In fact, at the end of the road where we expected to find the turn-off, we instead found the driveway of a very disgruntled homeowner. And so we quit chasing after that one.
Instead, we set off to the Minister’s Face Preserve, just outside Saint John, NB. This trip was arranged by my school and the NB Nature Trust, so there were a number of us that went. I’d say around twenty, counting the Trust volunteers and guides and their children. We were also accompanied by a musician and what I guess I would call his producer. They filmed a takeaway show at the preserve.
This place was really cool. You can only reach the island by boat, and it is quite sizeable once you get there. It is not entirely owned by the Trust. There were several little cabins along its coast, which made me drool over the woodsman lifestyle. What is part of the Preserve has marked trails which made it a little easier to dig our way around.
We started off by piling into an old fishing boat. It was about an hour’s ride to the island. The view was pretty intense, between the little wooded mountains and the glassy water.
It took about an hour before we were approaching the island. We came around the corner and suddenly the preserve’s namesake was in view. A massive sheer rock wall, granite rising straight up out of the water. It had a massive crack right through the middle of it, and a whole host of intrepid hover-trees.
We came around to this beached area where we were supposed to dock. Unfortunately the dock was gone or never there at all (it was a matter of some contention), so we had to continue on in search of a way to shore.
A little further on we met a private dock outside a little cabin. Desperate, we set down. They didn’t appear to be home, so we ducked ashore with all our gear and set out into the woods to try and meet up with our trails. On the way we ran into a vast array of moss and other plant life.
At the main trail we split into groups and went off in search of art, music, and new trails, respectively. The hike was probably one the most difficult I’ve been on, very steep in spots and wetlandish in others. Most of where we put our feet was sopping wood.
Really enthralling actually, you had to always be paying mind to your next step. The first trail we took led us to a little grove, perfect for chowing our sandwiches. There I saw my first lady slipper. And it was a white one, which I didn’t even know existed. Very solitary and beautiful.
We headed back down and took a side path which was to lead us to the very top of the island. On the way we met some pitcher plants. They were quite violently purple on the inside.
Just past that area we came to a stand of what I believe we were told was brush maple. They only had leaves right up at the top. Really haunting in comparison to the lush greenery right beside.
At the bottom of this hill was the first and only stream we saw, cut right into the valley. We headed straight up from there, I nearly fell out of my boots it was such steep going. Huffing and puffing we reached the top and met up with the trailblazer group.
While I had been hoping to reach closer to the outer cliff’s edge, this was certainly a sight. So high up, and right next to us was a massive drop off. We amused ourselves while we rested by throwing off rocks and waiting for the thump.
Then we trucked back through the paths, taking in a number of sights we had missed on the first go ’round, including man-sized ferns and gorgeous stumps. We ended up back on the dock, this time meeting the homeowner. He seemed not too perturbed, I think we’re probably a pretty wholesome-looking bunch. He simply sat on his porch and kept an eye out.
While we dipped our feet and waited for the boat, I snapped some pictures of this rust-eaten chain. Possibly my favourite capture of the bunch. As you may or may not have noticed I have a thing for oxidizing metal.
The boat was quite late. When it arrived it had been gunning its engines to try and make up the time and was steaming to high heavens. We heard him call in a rescue request, but eventually with much pouring of water they got it in forward motion. I was frankly shocked that we got off the island judging by the worried face on the captain. For all its faults, at least the boat was neat to look at.
After working the night before and the four-hour hike, I was mostly comatose at this point. The boat ride and drive home was sort of a blur. It was a really beautiful day, perfect weather, a healthy amount of exertion, good company, and great sights. My only regret was the efficiency with which we traversed the trails. I am one for slow-poking through nature, and I would love to spend a couple days in that place. I think that was a one-time trip though, it’s so secluded. So glad that we decided to go, I judge harshly all the kids at my school who chose to miss out.