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Art Show: Spring

Springtime in the Penokees

by Stephanie M. Daigle

Banner for Spring art show

Art: Springtime in the Penokees by Artist Stephanie M. Daigle
In far northwestern Wisconsin near the shores of Lake Superior we are in a fight for our lives and the lives of future generations. The threat of unsafe mining practices looms large.

Decapitating the Penokee Mountain Range by using the proposed mining practice would result in sulfuric acid as a by product in an area rich with rivers, lakes, and bogs. Downstream, the nearby Bad River Reservation would be directly affected as the Tribe stand to lose their main food staple Manoomin, which is the wild rice that grows in our northern lakes, except where mining by products have caused wild rice dead zones. The Reservation lands would turn into a toxic cesspool.

It all eventually ends up in Lake Superior, and it is painful for me to witness this going on. This work was inspired by our fight to keep northern waters clean.

Bracelet map:  A
butterfly flutters above, in nice clean air, of course. The Falls represents Copper Falls State Park flowing in to the sparkling Bad River, while seagulls fly above.  I used vintage rhinestones to not only represent how the water sparkles like diamonds in the sun, the waters are more precious than any diamonds. All of the landmarks in this piece are represented by beautiful vintage jewels.

The enameled copper focal bead which represents Mother Earth, as well as the two enameled copper flower tubes were made by Duluth Mn artist Sarah Lukkonen of C-Koop beads. 

As we move downstream from Copper Falls, the sparkling Bad River continues towards the Bad River Indian Reservation on it's way to lake Superior.  I
don't know for sure which is my favorite part, Copper Falls, or the bald eagle flying over Bad River Reservation. The Reservation is depicted by the green vintage crystal jewel.  You can catch a glimpse of a blue jewel and a brown tube bead in the final image but I was not able to show for the lack of photo space, the blue rhinestone jewel which represents the many area freshwater lakes.  This is where Manoomin grows, represented by three tube beads sewn in above the lake.

Eventually, this all flows into the largest freshwater lake in the world, Lake Superior, also known as Gitchee Gummi, named by the Ojibwe meaning shining blue sea, or "big water".   The green jewel near the top of the cuff in the last image represents Madeline Island, the largest of the Apostle Islands archipelago, which includes 22 islands and is located in far northwestern Wisconsin, off the Bayfield Peninsula. Twenty-one of these islands, and a 12-mile segment along the shore of Wisconsin’s north coast, comprise the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

This piece took me approximately 70 hours to construct.  While working on it, I truly did shed blood sweat and tears.   Blood from many needle pricks, sweat during feverish beading episodes, while feeling driven to do this piece, and many tears, over what this piece represents went into that time. That we even have to have this argument over the shady practices of some lawmakers
and Gtac mining company who did everything they could to change our strict environmental laws to their advantage and get the legislation through to make this mine happen is insane. 

This is not just northwestern Wisconsin's fight, but it is a world fight! We are only using this space, it belongs to our grandchildren and their grandchildren.

I leave you with a map of the area, should you wish to see it.  Copper Falls is approximately in the middle, by the pine tree, and you can follow the Bad River to the Reservation and then into Lake Superior.

Detail Images

Detail Image for art Springtime in the Penokees


Detail Image for art Springtime in the Penokees


Detail Image for art Springtime in the Penokees



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