Shaping Steel to Reflect the Power of Wind

Pattern Canada Stories

Written By: Pattern Stories

Wind and steel are coming together in Kathryn Corbiere’s next piece of art.

The sculpture will be displayed at the Henvey Inlet Wind site, which is not far from Kathryn’s studio.

“I own and operate a business in my home community of M’Chigeeng First Nation. I’ve had it for the past six years and it’s called One Kwe Modern Fabrications. One Kwe means One Woman in Ojibwe,” Kathryn explains. 

She started with modern furniture and custom fabrication and has now expanded into artwork. Her sculptures can be found in communities across Ontario.

A One Kwe Modern Fabrications sculpture

Inspired by Nature

“My work involves a lot of nature themes. I like connecting the strong material of steel to the natural settings the sculpture will sit in. When I visited the Henvey Inlet Wind site, I was inspired by the location and what this project is about, which is wind. So, I thought of a super strong looking windswept pine tree—it’s wind that creates that kind of look,” she explains.

She says the final piece will be 15-feet tall and will look like wind is blowing the sculpture toward the entrance of the building. She’s including a few other features as well.

“I’ll also be wrapping something at the base of the tree to show the motion of the wind and what the project has done there. I’m using stainless steel eagle feathers and they’ll be connected and bent to shape to show that motion,” Kathryn says.

A sketch of the design Kathryn is working on for Henvey Inlet Wind. She’s named it Pine Power.

“My work involves a lot of nature themes. I like connecting the strong material of steel to the natural settings the sculpture will sit in. When I visited the Henvey Inlet Wind site, I was inspired by the location and what this project is about, which is wind. So, I thought of a super strong looking windswept pine tree—it’s wind that creates that kind of look,” she explains.

The Creative Process

Kathryn’s process when designing and creating a sculpture starts with the client, who will provide some direction and background on what they’re looking for. To make sure the piece reflects the community’s history and identity, she does a bit of research.

“Public art tells a story and allows artists to connect themselves to the area. When I created sculptures in Owen Sound and Sudbury, I reached out to members of the community to learn more about the area and to see if the design would make sense there,” she explains.

Once she has a design in mind, the next step of the process begins.“Much of the work for Pine Power will be done in my studio. When it’s a large piece like this, I create a jig in my space and I build the sculpture on that jig so I can shape and build it as I go,” explains Kathryn.

Kathryn in her studio

Putting it All Together

Creating a sculpture this size is more complicated than you might think.

“A lot of my work is free formed using heat to bend things. It’s a lot of welding and grinding down into shape. It’s a bit tricky figuring out how to make the piece three-dimensional and anticipate what it will look like from all sides,” she says.

Before installing the sculpture, Kathryn says she’ll be getting an engineer to review her design to make sure the piece can withstand strong winds. Once completed, the sculpture will be transported in a few pieces and assembled on site. 

“As an artist and fabricator, I’m always thinking about nature and what it would be like if a sculpture were in the middle of a forest. Years ago, when I was driving down Highway 69, I thought about how there are so many visitors on this main highway and how neat it would be if there was a large sculpture there, and now here we are.” 

Kathryn estimates that the sculpture will be finished and installed at Henvey Inlet Wind sometime this summer. See more of Kathryn’s work on her website: http://onekwe.com/

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