Some mystical creatures are adding a touch of whimsy to Hume Park.
Artist Nickie Lewis recently completed a three-piece nature art installation, Hopeful Hybrids, which features three mystical creatures that are hidden within the trails of lower Hume Park. Lewis specializes in creations that focus on nature and sustainability and have a whimsical and friendly theme.
“I am calling them the Hopeful Hybrids because they are all hybrid creatures,” Lewis said. “The idea is that it sort of symbolizes the fact that we were all these people before the pandemic and we became these people during the pandemic, and now we have to figure out how to make those two work together. That’s the idea behind it.”
Hopeful Hybrids are made out of organic materials found within the surrounding ecosystem of Hume Park. Each sculpture took about two weeks to make.
“They are all fairly large,” Lewis said. “They are all made with cedar sticks that were found in the park itself. That was part of the agreement with the city that they had to be made with materials that were found onsite. I made them with cedar sticks and jute twine. I gathered all the materials and then I built them there.”
Hopeful Hybrids includes: Willa the Wishing Walabeast, Alvis the Advising Axolin and Gerald the Gifting Griffin.
Last year, Lewis created a series of stick sculptures in Robert Burnaby Park, which drew many visitors to the park. The Hume Park sculptures are similar to those Lewis created in Burnaby, but the ones in New West have interactive elements.
“Before I started making art with sticks, my passion was to make art that was interactive. This is kind of a combination of the two things,” said the Burnaby resident. “For instance, the first one, Willa, she is a Wishing Walabeast. You can take little pebbles and make wishes into her little pouch that she has.”
It’s envisioned that over time the works will slowly be reclaimed by the forested floor of Hume Park.
The sculptures in Robert Burnaby Park caught the attention of Sapperton resident, who contacted Lewis about doing some sculptures for homes on Fader Street.
“They wanted to do something for the frontline workers,” she said. “They thought it would be cool to create a little art walk for when they are taking their breaks, because they notice a lot of doctors and nurses tend to walk through their neighbourhood.”
When checking out the sculptures in Hume Park, folks are invited to stroll over to Fader Street to discover more than a dozen smaller, whimsical creations.
Sloane Elphinstone, the city’s coordinator of park services, said the city reached out to Lewis to see is she’d be interested in doing something in the trails of Hume Park that was similar to the installations she had created in Robert Burnaby Park.
“As the most naturalized yet often underused area in the east end, we wanted to draw attention to the charming bluffs in this park,” she explained.
Elphinstone said the installations in Hume Park and at private homes in the Sapperton are part of an informal tour the city is calling From Forrest to Fader.
More to see
The nature walk in Hume Park is part of The Rest of New West initiative that took place throughout the summer.
“The Rest of New West is an initiative to meet the goals of offering no cost, accessible, timeless opportunities that encourage residents to explore New Westminster parks in new and creative ways. There were a number of successes over the summer including a biodiversity themed rock installation in the meadow at the former Arenex site, Youth DJ performances at WPP, a tree exploration hunt at the new Ryall Park Community Garden, amongst others,” Elphinstone said. “Due to the popularity of some projects, staff are reviewing opportunities to extend through the fall. Stay tuned for more Tuesday Tunes, Rainworks installations and Wishing Trees.”
A list of all of The Rest of New West offerings can be found at www.newwestcity.ca/therestofnewwest.
Lewis is now working with small businesses in Sapperton on developing a “sculpture hunt” to help draw customers to the area to support businesses that have been struggling because of the pandemic.
“They will have little small ones that will hang near their signage. The idea is that people will go looking for them, and post them on social media and give a callout to the business,” she said. “Then, once you have found all of them, you will be put into a draw and the winner will receive a free sculpture and possibly other prizes.”
For more information about Lewis’s work, go to https://thewizardsmakery.com or visit The Wizards Makery pages on Instagram and Facebook.