Now for a long time I've felt there must be something in the rock or soil or water of Cape Breton because the arts is woven as tightly in life there as in the Cape Breton tartan.
Nicole's medium began with wood and is predominantly a wood turner which she learned from her father (who has a huge stash of wood). Nicole, however, has taken a major leap from functional pieces to functional art to art purely for the sake of beauty as you can see from her "portrait".
For example..... She created a series of ocean-themed turnings. They’re made from local or reclaimed wood, turned on a 1930’s lathe, and sometimes carved or painted with a texture medium to give them the spikes. The sea urchin with the ribbon is a real one from Louisbourg. These graceful little pieces reflect both the skill of the artist and the natural beauty of the materials. The skew work for the Christmas ornaments is so delicate and when combined with the natural urchin is absolutely charming.
Nicole finds her process meditative. As her projects begin, a quieting happens as she presents the tool to the wood. The object taking shape less from her hands but more from subtle shifts of weight. Allowing the form to evolve rather than forcing it to. I am boggled at her patience and the painstaking way she approaches her craft.
I was surprised to hear that she finds hollowing very challenging.... something to do with torque. But I guess I was thinking of a basic bowl and Nicole doesn't do basic. Take this Triffid. It's spiky green shell on the exterior, with the fleshy pink that deepens to a dark red inside. Now I understand why she finds it hollowing demanding.... I can't even imagine how this is done.
And then there are the colours. Whereas I normally find wood has character in and of itself, Nicole's deft addition of stains never over powers and she's constantly stretching....
I’ve been testing different ways to react metal finishes on wood and maintain the underlying texture. The goal is to make it metallic looking while maintaining the wood-ness. I tried metallic paint, metal leafs, and metallic powders.
The metal leaf reacted right through until I lost the coating. The metal powder I sanded off a brass piece wasn’t really brass, it was some other alloy. I got another pack of 350 mesh brass (supposedly) but was really unhappy with the flat dead look of the metal before reaction, and the final reacted colour was also underwhelming.
Finally, a West Island Woodturning buddy had some very very fine brass powder, several microns instead of 10’s of microns. That gave the best gold colour and reacted the best. This is the first bowl trial.
The process of finding the right way to do this has been really interesting. Hopefully I can make a large finished piece to show off the best of all three methods at once: char, metal, and reaction. - IG March 17 2021
Nicole's spoons I use almost daily. I find setting the table for dinner, and other of the mundane tasks of daily life so much less of a chore when I incorporate small pieces of art. Truly when I use something handmade, produced with care and love, I slow down and appreciate all and who I have around me. This may not be tangible but fungible but I sure appreciate it.
Currently Nicole does not have a website but she can be found and messaged on her Instagram feed or her Pinterest page.