Jumblies Artist-In-Residence

Ecotones: Exploring In-Between Places with Megan Spencer

I would like to work with in-between and transitional spaces on the land.

Where I live, in the rural Ottawa Valley, this means hedgerows, shorelines, field meeting forest, as well as dawn and dusk.

In ecological terms, these liminal spaces are known as ‘ecotones’; a greater range of plants are found there, and they tend to be gathering places for birds and wildlife.

I would like to explore what these spaces mean in an urban context, where nature meets concrete: what they bring up and what they see and feel there. From participants’ observations, words, paintings and drawings we will create and animate a world of images through two-dimensional stop-motion video.

Megan Spencer is a multimedia artist, currently working mostly in pen and ink, shadow puppetry and stop motion. She lives with the land on unceded Algonquin Territory, growing food and herbs, watching bugs and hanging out with her kids. With Ottawa Valley Creative Arts, she has lead and participated in many community art projects; most recently in 2019 an outdoor mosaic mural, conceived and created by local youth. http://meganspencer.ca/

41 stop individual motion shorts were made, this video represents all of them. On average, each 10 seconds of video took about 65 photos. During the finale, we had a live and improvised soundtrack performed.

Stream of Consciousness – by Betty Carpick:

“Stream of Consciousness” will help elevate the interconnectivity of the biosphere by exploring story and metaphor of lost Indigenous waterways in Toronto. A lengthy fabric “stream” with participant handprints will be stitched, marked with artisanal inks, and sewn together with suture stitch. On Saturday, October 16, 2021 a concluding performative art piece will amplify the voices of water, nature, Indigenous peoples, histories, and more.

The community-invigorated project, “Stream of Consciousness” will explore story and metaphor of lost Indigenous ancestral waterways in a Toronto context. Lost waterways can be real and symbolic as the natural resources of conquered lands experience and continue to experience vandalization.

When I arrive in Toronto, I’ll walk the creek using the Anthropocene Immersion, Unearthing Lost Taddle Creek audio walk and collect impressions, feelings, plants, debris, and ephemera enroute. Walking has always been a part of my aesthetic process and experience. I’ll share how my Taddle Creek walk generates relationships and the Stream of Consciousness project (both incidentally and by design).

During the residency, we’ll create a lengthy fabric “stream” with watercolour pencil outlines of participants’ handprints, stitched with blue and red embroidery thread, sponge-marked with artisanal inks, and sewn together with the running whip stitch which is used to mend sutures. People can choose to make handprints of their family and friends, cut them out, and outline the handprint templates on the stream so that, in essence, there are many people holding the intention of the project.

I make and use artisanal inks as a way to view water as a collective responsibility through a connection to plants that grow in distinctive ecosystems. Different parts of plants have been used since ancient times for medicines, dyes, functional items, construction, and more. Regardless of locale, the entire wild plant trajectory – from identification, understanding, gathering, and use – invites deep listening and grace. I’m working on one ink with plants indigenous to Turtle Island, and one ink with plants to represent settler/colonialists.

I hope the stream will finally be hung on spruce roots and monofilament trapezes so there’s a sense of undulation and movement.

For the virtual work with the Gather Round Singers we’ll create a soundscape loop for the performance as a way to give ephemeral voice to water, nature, Indigenous peoples, histories.

I’ll use the windows at Jumblies to create an ongoing dialogue with the work in process of the project.

For the concluding Toronto performance on Saturday, October 16, the stream will either be fed into a clear vessel filled with water (potentially from the pond at Wychwood Park) so that the inks and markings will bleed or fed into the clear water, and a “sludge” ink to represent contamination will be poured on top.

Through the residency period, as I work solo as well as with people of different ages, backgrounds, and skills, the project may adapt slightly with intentions as well as health and safety protocols. 

Betty Carpick an interdisciplinary artist and educator. Much of her work looks at social, cultural, and environmental issues in both serious and playful ways. She engages in creativity with community of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds as a metaphor to speak to the fragility, strength, and transitory state of our lives and surroundings. Betty is Cree and Ukrainian from Northern Manitoba. She lives in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Photo Credit: Plastique Famille


Jumblies 2021-2022 Artist Residencies (JAR) are funded by

the Ontario Arts Council Artist-Presenter Collaboration Projects and our other funders.