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Blurring the Line Between Arts and Athletics: Artist Series 1 with Michelle MacDonald

Updated: May 28, 2019

Canmore is a remarkable town for endless reasons. For one, look at our surroundings! Inspiration to explore outside, lead a healthy lifestyle, be creative, and connect with our community is all around us. In addition to the immensely beautiful scenery in the Bow Valley, the vibrant and diverse community members make it all the more special. From athletes to artists and everywhere in between, we’re inspired daily by the people we have the pleasure of sharing our home with. We believe that mountain culture is derived from the groundbreaking athletic pursuits and achievements that have taken place here, but also, the plethora of artists, creatives, and culture advocates who dwell here. Canmore is a space of both athletic and artistic excellence, and we’d like to pay tribute to that.

WildHeart is a place for individuals to move, sweat, and grow. But beyond our fitness studio, we are a space created intentionally for connection. In the spirit of building a personal connection, connecting arts and athletics, and connecting individuals with artists and makers in Canmore and surrounding areas, we’re pleased to introduce our new Artist Series.

Beginning Friday, May 24th, we will be home to an art installation by the first of many artists, Michelle MacDonald. Michelle’s stunning pieces will be hung on the walls of WildHeart for you to enjoy and purchase if you like! So, come on down and see what Michelle’s hung for you to see. But first, let’s talk about Michelle and her art!

We were inspired to connect with Michelle and share her art with the WildHeart community for a number of reasons. To begin with, her warm nature and positive energy are lovely beyond compare. Beyond that, her artistic medium and unique style reminded us of home, Canmore, and we needed to share with all of you! We chatted with Michelle to learn more about her craft and what she’ll be installing at WildHeart. Here’s what we found out:

Born and raised in Calgary, Michelle spent a lot of time in the mountains in Golden growing up.

She would take a Greyhound bus there by herself to spend time with her family and explore outdoors. Michelle loves yoga and barre herself.

As for her craft, “Lately I’ve been working a lot in pyrography, which is wood burning,” she explained. “I’ve been exploring what I can do and what sort of images I can make with that. For a couple of years now I’ve been working on animals and nature, trying to refine my portraiture, and exploring different techniques with the tools”.

Intrigued as to how she began her practice, we asked when it all began. “I started really liking wood burning in a class when I was in grade 7. I really took to it and it’s always been something that I’ve kind of played around with. About 10 years ago, I found that there was a lot of versatility to it because I really enjoy mixed media artwork. I thought it was a really interesting base. I also dabble in carpentry as well, so it gives me a lot to work with that way.”

Michelle’s body of work is incredibly diverse. “At the moment I’ve been doing a lot of geometric patterns mixed in with silhouettes,” she told us. “The geometric side of things is something I started with when I was 12 years old, so it’s neat that it’s come back to that. It was always a really good starting point because it is so mathematical. There’s always a lot of pressure to be creative, but this gives you a formula of an image you like. It’s a great starting point and once the ball gets rolling you can really go anywhere.”

Though her medium may seem limiting, Michelle feels she thrives within the limitations. “I love the wood burner because there are a lot of limitations with it and what you can do, and within those limitations, I find I’m more creative.”

We bet you’re wondering what you can expect to see at WildHeart! Here’s the scoop: “I’m making a series of new wood burning pieces for WildHeart. They’re going to be geometric patterns with a lot of nature silhouettes in them.”

Michelle has created a series with you in mind and we cannot wait for you to see it. To view some of Michelle’s work (and give her a follow), find her Instagram here. We’ll see you at the studio to enjoy some movement and art with us!

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