An Eco-Arts Project that was held at Kitsilano House in 2011, where volunteers, residents and visitors create symbolic nests from natural materials. Messages of memory and hope are deposited into the nests during the Kits House’s transitional period.
A nest is “a place affording warm and snug refuge; a home. Kits House has been that a nest for westside residents – from pre-school children to youth to adults and seniors for many years. Now the programs and staff and volunteers are “flying the nest” for two years while a major redevelopment takes place. The new nest will still include the two heritage buildings but completely redone
a new seniors residence built between the two buildings. The flocks that have nested at Kits House have been many and diverse, from its beginnings as a home for orphans. It is a grand nest built for the times that is being created.
Green roofs. LEED standard.
The Community Arts Council of Vancouver is facilitating a community environmental arts project to mark this transition and engage volunteers, residents and visitors in creating symbolic nests from natural materials into which messages of memory and hope will be deposited.Your memories and dreams will be laid into the human-made nests to hatch in 2 years on the Kits House site at 7th and Vine. At which time the nesting* will begin – staff, volunteers, residents and participants will move back in and we will all start making the house our home once again.
The nests are being created from all natural plant materials (mainly bamboo and morning glory, with lavender, rosemary, birch
bark and feathers added). They will be on display on August 27 at the Kits House Celebration: Honouring Our Past and Creating Our Future which marks the beginning of the redevelopment period. Each nest will be labeled with a theme (e.g. creativity, community, housing, children, learning) – to symbolize the many facets to the Kits House programs and services. At the August 27 event to celebrate history and future, you will be invited to write a memory or dream on a leaf and contribute it to a nest. We will all feather the nests with good wishes for a successful incubation. (Indeed, you can also add feathers or any other organic matter if you wish to embellish the nests.) If you want to try your hand at eco-art sculpture, we’ll have some materials available as well.
For the temporary installation, nests will be placed in the laurel tree in the courtyard positioned to easily add to the nests and deposit the messages. We are working out the logistics for installing them in a tree where they can be observed as they slowly break down due to rain and wind over the months of the redevelopment. As these nests and messages return to earth, our new Kits House
Nest will be taking shape.
We have our eyes on an elderly, mossy tree on West 7th and will be exploring possibilities. From research we’ve learned that it’s unlikely that any birds will actually inhabit the nests. Picture birds flying by and saying: “Oh, metaphorical nest. Nice, but not a good place for a home.” We need to be somewhat careful as to how we install the nests so as not to restrict the tree’s growth, so that no harm will be done to the tree.
Imagine yourself walking with a friend sometime in the fall. A stiff breeze comes up and a leaf floats down in front of you. You pick it up and see a message. “potlucks with local food” it says. Your friend then sees one land in front of him. It says, “affordable housing.” You notice the development nearby and in unison, you say: Yes! And add your hopes for the future of Kitsilano Neighbourhood.
*nesting the tendency to arrange one’s immediate surroundings to create a place where one feels secure and comfortable.