2017 Arctic Expedition Guest Blog: SOI Artist in Residence Keenan (Nooks) Lindell

To be honest I was extremely nervous before we arrived on the ship. Just the number of people in our group (about 200) was overwhelming. It did not help at all when I got sick our last day in Ottawa. BUT after 8 hours of sleep on the plane from Ottawa, Iqaluit then Resolute Bay I felt amazing. Most of my nerves transformed into excitement for the upcoming adventure of the Ocean Endeavour.  The ship was buzzing with smiles and laughter. The ship it self is amazingly high class and spacious. The ship’s crew are the best and the food phenomenal. I quickly found out that most people on this ship were multitalented. Our Zodiac drivers are also running science workshops and playing live music. Our waiter at supper (when asked) started to sing A’more in a beautiful opera voice!  Also Geoff the project leader can do the splits! Just surrounded by talent everywhere you look. And when you’re not looking at people there is the landscape. Massive icebergs floating by in the window has become the norm. Enormous mountains capped in ice with glaciers spilling our between them. Cliffs so high the clouds hit the top, while thousands of thousands of birds nested in its protection. In the beginning the sun refused to set, yet now it allows it self a few hours of rest. This is a journey of a life time.

A student makes caribou antler earrings in the K Zone.

My first workshop was to start soon and my nervousness returned. “What if no one shows up?” I ask my self. I spent an hour setting up the “K Zone” with the help of the other artist Jolly, Annie, JF and a very keen student Afsohneh. Thank you all! I gave my workshop 2 tables to work on thinking that would be more than enough.  Well the time came and there were about 40 students standing around the tables wanting to join my Caribou Antler earring-making workshop. I was so happy but overwhelmed, unfortunately I had to tell some of them they would have to wait till the next workshop because I could only work with so many people at once. So with 40 students eagerly but not impatiently waiting to start their earrings, I noticed the hacksaw was missing one of the pieces that hold the blade to the saw! My first reaction was panic and disappointment. Now I have to tell all these students I have to cancel the workshop. But I took a breath and thought to myself, “Okay lets get intuitive and think of a solution and fast!” Luckily I brought some artificial sinew with me to use as rope for necklaces, this stuff is perfect its thin but very strong. So I doubled it up and looped it through the blade hole and tied it as tight as I could to the saw. IT WORKED! And we continued to use for probably about 40 pairs of earrings, only having to rewrap it 3 or 4 times. The workshop went great and we picked up a new saw in Pond Inlet and now most of the students (which is approximately 60 students) have their own pair of caribou antler earrings and necklaces. The workshop was a hit, and I really helped my get to know the students and staff which also really helped me feel comfortable. My nerves vanished and I was able to be myself. I cannot get over how beneficial this trip has been for myself. It is such a great idea and I am blessed to have been apart of this fantastic expedition!

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