Most people on the planet have started doing things to help their physical and mental health that they never did before the pandemic struck. For one Canadian woman, this involved going into the woods near her home in British Columbia with some twine, clippers and an idea.
With free time on her hands last summer because of Covid-19, Nickie Lewis seized the opportunity. She imagined making forestry creatures that would blend in with the natural surroundings, offering a jolt of surprise and delight to anyone who came upon them.
She began her project in the forested section of Robert Burnaby Park in August. First she built a unicorn, then the one she calls The Guardian of the Forest. Then a fairy, a gigantic troll, a dragon, a mermaid, a Chewbacca. There are seven large sculptures in all, along with two smaller Ewoks and a wasp. She would spend hours on each, weeks on end.
Before word of the project leaked out beyond the locals who walk in the park regularly - many of whom Lewis got to know - she would sometimes tag along and hover in the background as people discovered and discussed them, and then trying to guess what they were meant to be.
With local media coverage, more people have converged on the park. There’s not a lot to do these days, especially for families, and even in non-pandemic times, the idea of hiking through a forest and finding a life-sized twig Chewbacca is pretty appealing.
Lewis says: “I just wanted to create joy for people in the forest with sticks.”