New marker for Ukee wanderers

Travellers have a unique new way to leave their mark on Ucluelet thanks to a recently erected steel sculpture dubbed ‘The Wanderers’ Tree.’

The tree is roughly 3.5 metres tall and 4 metres wide and was planted at the corner of Peninsula Road and Bay Street last week.

Bruce and Monique Schmaltz commissioned the creation, which is equipped with 250 rings to hang oyster shells from.

Shells are available at the nearby RavenLady Oyster Forte food truck and locals and tourists are encouraged to write a message on their shell before adding it to the tree.

“We are welcoming everyone to come and write a message into the wind on our ‘Wanderers’ Tree,’” Monique said.

Bruce added the shells are available by donation and all proceeds will go to local organizations.

“It will be the contribution of the wanderer to the town,” he said.

Bruce was stoked to see the finished product go up and to hear the wind cascade through the shells. 

“I was totally amazed that the oyster shells actually do tinkle and will work as a wind chime…That just touches me,” he said. 

He touted the ‘Wanderer’s Tree’ as a solid addition to the area, which already boasts the locally-loved Raven Lady statue, and said he hopes it becomes a key marker for travelers.

“It’s a salute to the traveler, to the wanderer, to the man that’s out looking at life trying to find meaning in life. This is one way of denoting to him that aspect of our inner search for oneself,” Bruce said.

“We all travel life, we’re on the spaceship called Earth, and this is just a marker along the way. In old mythology there was always markers that we went by and we always liked to leave a message, or at least put a mark that we had been here.”

He also hopes the tree brings pause to its viewers.

“It’s more an external token to what’s happening internally,” he said. “We make a mark in ourselves as we move through life and this just expresses that need for understanding at the end of the day.”

The tree was sculpted by Mike Camp—the Raven Lady sculptor who arrived in Ucluelet in April for a 10-day art-exhibition showcasing his landscape paintings—and took about 100 hours to complete.

 â€œWe came in close to estimated hours and estimated budget so all’s well that ends well,” Camp said.

“You had to keep going steady; you couldn’t slack off or we never would have gotten it done…We had 100 hours, compared to 2,000 (hours) for the Raven Lady, so you were limited in the image, and the time to execute it, but I think we did OK for what we had to do.”

Camp, a former West Coaster who now lives in North Ontario, left town on Sunday and dangled a cliffhanger on his way out.

 â€œI’m hoping next summer to come back and do a major project but that’s, so far, up in the air,” he said.

 

andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca