By Melissa Cate Christ (she/her)
Prior to studying to become a landscape architect, I was a docent at the Art Gallery of Ontario, giving tours of the collection to secondary school students, while also working at a local garden centre. The sometimes-daily juxtaposition of these two - watering and deadheading plants, and explaining how a pencil hung on a string with instructions on how to draw a circle could possibly be art (‘Well I could do that...’ they’d say, and I’d say, ‘Exactly!’) - reflects how exciting it is to be able to install Fill at Eden Gardens. Gardeners are do-ers, and Fill, while seeming to be just an ordinary pile of rocks, is asking each human (and non-human!) to transform the pile in their own unique way, to contribute to the artwork as it changes throughout the six months of the exhibition. We don’t know what will happen – how exciting is that?!
Being selected and receiving a stipend to exhibit at Eden Unearthed at the dynamic and innovative Eden Gardens is thrilling for me, as Fill is an idea for an interactive artwork that I have been wanting to make for a long time. Winning the prize was a complete surprise – many thanks to the judges for recognizing the work and to Simon and Anna for supporting all the artists with stipends, and prizes as well. What was especially rewarding was the process of conceiving of how Fill could best be installed at Eden – I am grateful to Meredith and Glenn, as well as to Jonathan, Peter, Porter, and Declan - their enthusiasm, ideas (and labour!) have made the process collaborative and inclusive from the very start.
So please join us in contributing to making and remaking Fill: move stones; take photos and videos; take stones home and support YOTS; and definitely come to one of the two workshops we will be holding to co-design directions for the next two iterations of Fill. We will also learn Japanese dry raking techniques which can be practiced with Fill or in your own garden. All ages are welcome – join us for a joyful experience of making Fill together!