Tricia Wasney – 2021 Riding Mountain Artists’ Residency

Tricia Wasney uses jewellery to tell stories about landscape, history and memory.

During her residency, Tricia will gather stories, information, images and allowable materials from the park, or its margins, to later create a “map” of Riding Mountain National Park that will also be wearable jewellery.

Working mostly from recycled sterling silver, she employs techniques to achieve form, texture and colour often incorporating other metals, wool, paper, hair, bones, and plant material.

“Sometimes people think jewellery is just decoration, but jewellery also indicates many personal and cultural features; think of Indigenous beadwork, wedding rings, or jewellery given as gifts to mark special events,” said Tricia. “In some ways jewellery is at once the most private and the most public of art forms.”

As an artist raised on a small farm outside of Winnipeg, the land has been a consistent focus of her creative exploration. Her later studies in landscape architecture deepened Tricia’s interest in how human activity and desire become part of our landscapes.

In her work “Township 13,” Tricia created a “map,” that is also sixteen wearable jewellery pieces, of an area near Garson, Manitoba.  Using aerial photos, she re-imagined a portion of the township in sterling silver and other materials. She highlighted areas of personal significance that would otherwise be invisible, such as the small farm her grandparents worked on when they emigrated from Poland in 1903.

“Hidden histories and our relationship to the landscape are important to me, as I think they are to many people, and my artwork reflects these discoveries,” said Tricia. “Riding Mountain National Park is rich in human and natural history, contains a diversity of ecosystems and is a busy site for human recreation.

“I want to highlight areas of the park, reflecting current use as well the echoes of past lives and events. I will tell these stories through an artwork that will look like an air photo map but will also function as jewellery for people to wear.”

For Tricia, the exciting thing about residencies is the unknown, being presented with new perspectives and challenges.

“I was fortunate to be awarded the MAC Churchill Residency two years ago and know how valuable and unique that experience is for an artist,” said Tricia. “Residencies are about generosity – from the agencies that make them happen, to the opportunities presented by a residency site, and to the spirit in which artists should enter them.”

The Riding Mountain Artists’ Residency is offered in partnership by the Manitoba Arts Council and Riding Mountain National Park. The residency takes place in the Deep Bay cabin, a recognized federal heritage building originally used as a base for the Royal Canadian Air Force’s floatplane forest fire patrols.

Since its restoration in 2006, the cabin has welcomed over 100 artists in dance, music, theatre, literary, visual and media arts, who create and share their work with audiences in the park and surrounding area.

Interested in the staying in the Deep Bay cabin? Find out how to apply to the Riding Mountain Artists Residency through the Manitoba Arts Council’s Learn – Residencies program. Apply by November 1, 2021 for a residency in the summer of 2022.