Artist’s Inspiration: Barbara Bryce
We asked local artists to create works inspired by John McCrae’s In Flanders Fields for a special juried art show commemorating the centenary of the poem. The submissions we received were incredible and so varied, as each artist brought a unique perspective to the poem. In this blog series, the artists explain in their own words their motivation and influences for creating their work. See more artist inspiration stories here.
“When I heard about the Guelph Civic Museum’s call for artist submissions to commemorate 100 years of John McCrae’s poem In Flanders Fields, I immediately thought of my grandfather Dr. Bill Keith.
Tacked to my grandfather’s workshop was an old sign with the letters CMNSU. We grew up with the story that our grandfather had been head of a Canadian Mobile Neuro-Surgical Unit during WW2, and that part of the time he had been based in Belgium. Grandfather Keith loved to read us stories and poems in front of the fireplace and one of his favourites was In Flanders Fields.
I designed a piece of art for this show and then thought it would be more interesting to commemorate a conflict with a collaboration. I approached Natali Baird, a Guelph artist who works with hot glass, to create the petals for the poppies. Besides the detailed buds and seed heads, she also made little flowers to complete the poppy field.
Very often I include found objects in my artwork and felt it was important to include something that would connect me with Flanders Fields. I was able to find some medals and buttons and I contacted the Museum to see if they were authentic. They were. I decided to include a jacket button that would have been used on a dress uniform in both the first and second world wars.
Here you see the memory of the terrible event in the background while the beauty and hope for the future is in the foreground with the larks still bravely flying up above.”
Barbara Jean Bryce has always been drawn to the sparkle and fragility of glass. Found glass and metal objects appear in her artwork. She particularly enjoys building commissions and incorporating little keepsakes into treasured pieces of artwork.
Barb also practices Tai Chi, paints sets for Guelph Little Theatre, and rides her bicycle whenever possible.