When the tide is low on the Chilkat River, you can see a twisting, distinctive pattern of water, rocks and sand. Haines artist Megan Morehouse created a mosaic of the Chilkat River at low tide using materials she found beachcombing. Morehouse is one of more than a dozen local artists participating the Alaska Arts Confluences’ Fort Seward Outdoor Art Project.
Her mosaic is made up of mussel shells and driftwood.
“The mussel shell part represents the water and the driftwood is the sand or the flats. I have a view of the flats out there – at high tide it looks like a river and at low tide you can see the sand bars, so that’s where I get my inspiration.”
Morehouse starting using materials she found on the beach in her artwork only after moving to Haines.
“I would just sit there and look at all this beautiful stuff, the rocks, the sand, the driftwood, so much stuff that’s right there to work with. And when I first moved here I was paying off my credit card debt so it was convenient to find free resources down there on the beach to make art with. So that’s really why I started doing it.”
She says aside from influencing the materials she uses, Haines has influenced her artwork as a whole.
“Before I moved here, I didn’t really have a lot of time for art as a job or a source of income. And I do think Haines is very inspirational place. So many parts of it are untouched by human hands and it’s just in its purest state, that I draw inspiration from that for sure.”
The Chilkat River mosaic represents the waters around the Haines area, Morehouse says, “and the beauty that comes from them.”
The Fort Seward Outdoor Art Project is funded by a grant from the ArtPlace America Foundation.
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