Sculptor Monique Martin is hiding 150 clay envelopes around Castlegar. (Submitted)

Sculptor introduces unique twist to Castlegar Sculpturewalk

One sculptor has added a unique twist to this year’s Castlegar Sculpturewalk.

One sculptor has added a unique twist to this year’s Castlegar Sculpturewalk.

Monique Martin is hiding 150 clay envelopes — to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday — across Castlegar and invites the public to get out and search for them.

“I created 150 clay envelopes that look like could be in the mail. They’re quite thin clay, then on them are Canadian stamps — used Canadian stamps — and I’ve hidden them all over Castlegar for people to find,” explains Martin. “At Millennium Park all the way to pretty much the other end of the city.”

Approximately 100 of the envelopes have been hidden so far, and the rest will be hidden over the summer, so tourists have a chance to find them as well.

The envelopes tie into Martin’s sculpturewalk entry Love Letter Bench, which she created in partnership with Leslie Potter. Next to the bench, positioned in Stephenville Square, sculpturewalkers will find yet another interactive element — a box full of stationary.

“So people could actually sit on the bench and write a letter to somebody and then walk straight over to the post office and send it in the mail,” says Martin.

The Saskatoon sculpture is no stranger to the Castlegar art scene. Last year her piece Slow Emergency, addressing the dramatic decrease in bee populations, was also in Stephenville Square for the sculpturewalk and her exhibit Continuous, which was thematically related, appeared at the Kootenay Gallery of Art.

Martin says her work tends to address social issues, and Love Letter Bench is no exception.

“A lot of my art is about social issues and human interaction, and right now in our contemporary world we don’t use handwriting very often, and getting a handwritten letter is a very different emotion than getting a text message or an email. So I’m trying to encourage people to make that bigger connection with other people.”

Martin says that people are also more likely to keep a handwritten letter than a text or an email, and has proven this with her own children, who she’s been sending handwritten notes to for the past eight years, since they moved away from home.

Martin’s also encouraging people fortunate enough to find one of her envelopes to connect with others by donating to a charity.

As Martin lives in Saskatoon, she’s asking for help with maintaining the stationary box next to Love Letter Bench. She’s looking for a good Samaritan to keep an eye on the box and make sure it stays full.

The envelopes and the bench are part of Paraph, a solo exhibition that will open in Saskatoon in 2018.

The exhibit features thousands of clay envelopes and parcels arranged in vintage Canada Post baskets. Martin says she hasn’t yet applied for an exhibition at the Kootenay Gallery of Art, but she would like for it to be exhibited there.

The sculptures for this year’s sculpturewalk were installed over the weekend and the opening gala took place on Saturday evening.

Maps/voting ballots can be found outside the Station Museum, across from the library, outside City Hall and outside Kootenay Market.


“Sasquatch” by Dale Lewis. (Chelsea Novak/Castlegar News)

“Magic Fish” by Adam Schultz. (Chelsea Novak/Castlegar News)

“Rock Dragon” by Heather Wall. (Chelsea Novak/Castlegar News)