News Archives: Candace Sanderson: The Sculptor
Thursday, November 3rd, 2016
Candace Sanderson did not give herself a ‘Plan B’ when she made the decision to pursue her creative passion full time in 2012.
“I always knew I wanted to be an artist even from a young age,” says Sanderson in work boots, with bright eyes and her hair pulled back into a braid that falls past her shoulders. “But life gets in the way. When the economy took a negative turn, something positive came out of it for me; I was finally able to make the decision to pursue my life-long dream full time.”
A resident of Grande Prairie, Alberta since birth, Sanderson’s love for creativity drove her to GPRC’s Visual Arts program, where she was first introduced to sculpting with wood and the rest is history.
“There is so much beauty working with wood,” she says. “It’s appearance changes over time, and will continue to do so even after my work is finished. It’s much like humans in that way, it changes based on its environment and there’s nothing I can do to stop that. I don’t want to. It’s part of the cycle of life, we all age, we all change.”
When speaking with Sanderson about the beauty of her work, she is quick to give credit to her material.
“Working with wood is a partnership. As the artist I develop an idea of what I want to sculpt, but the wood ultimately determines what is possible. How the grain runs, knots or natural curves influences not only the physical form itself, but also what our eye sees in the final sculpture,” she says.
All of the trees Sanderson works with come from her own picking balancing between her home in Northern Alberta and her second home on Gabriola Island in British Columbia.
Spending upwards of 8 to 10 hours a day in her garage-studio surrounded by her favourite choice of materials, Western Red Cedar, beetle-killed Lodgepole Pine and piles of driftwood, Sanderson says it is easy to get lost in her work.
“One of the things I love about sculpting is the physical labor involved. The repetitive movement of the chisel, the steady tap of the mallet, all of it serves to create a kind of meditative space. Time becomes irrelevant and there’s a part of my brain that’s free to come up with new ideas.” With a quick smile she adds, “Thus my ever-present idea book. I’ll stop everything I’m doing, write down the idea and then, back to my project.”
However, the process of Sanderson’s art is gradual.
Each tree chosen has a journey to embark on before Sanderson’s chisels can begin to sculpt. They must cure over a period of time that is sometimes as long as four years, to dry, to balance its humidity with its environment and to get any cracking out of its system. But bringing each visualization to life is always worth the wait.
“I feel like it’s my responsibility to help this once living thing along to the next step in its journey. What it was is over, but what it can become could be something remarkable in the form of a sculpture,” says Sanderson.
Sanderson has always carried an excitement and passion for creative art since she can remember.
“When I was a little girl, I would spend hours at the kitchen table creating, and then when I came to GPRC, I was always the one in the campus studio after hours, or before class started getting lost in my assignments. That part of things hasn’t really changed, the studio is still my favourite place to be. This time though it’s my husband reminding me to come inside and eat supper,” she laughs.
Her hard work and dedication has certainly paid off.
Sanderson’s work can found in private collections as well as part of the GPRC permanent collection. The college even features one of her student works, in clay, outside the Douglas J. Cardinal Performing Arts Centre.
Currently, Sanderson has been busy creating for her current exhibition Portraits, a partner show with fellow artist Gordon Mackey.
“It’s been a crazy ride over the last year,” Sanderson says with excitement. “I had my first solo show in October of 2015 and since then I’ve been featured in a magazine, a short film and this summer I had my second solo exhibition.”
Through her journey, Sanderson reflects back to her time at GPRC, when she was first introduced to sculpting with wood.
“I’m thankful to my education at GPRC for opening the doors to sculpting for me,” she says. “The instructors I had were always so encouraging and boundary-pushing, something I try to incorporate in my everyday life. Having a visual arts program available at GPRC is a wonderful thing, and I’m thankful to have been a part of it. To have some of my work on display at the college really feels like my journey has come full circle. I can’t wait to see what’s next.”
Running from November 4 to 25, Portraits marks her 15th show since 2012. Opening night is from 7-9 p.m. with free admission at The Centre for Creative Arts in Grande Prairie.
“I can’t wait to share this with everyone,” says Sanderson. “Stop by and experience a part of Grande Prairie's vibrant arts community!”
Learn more about Candace's work on her website or Facebook page.