Swimming with salmon at needle-felting installation

Spurred on by concerns of LNG pipeline projects on salmon populations, artist Lori Knorr developed a project on the fish’s migration.

Daisie Skerik hones her needle-felting skills at a children’s art camp at the Smithers Art Gallery.

Daisie Skerik hones her needle-felting skills at a children’s art camp at the Smithers Art Gallery.

A wild salmon’s journey from birth to decay will be recreated in an immersive exhibition of needle-felting at the Smithers Art Gallery in August.

Artist Lori Knorr created the concept for The Salmon Journey project back in 2013.

Spurred on by concerns about the impacts of LNG pipeline projects on salmon populations, she wanted to develop a project that highlighted the phenomenon of the fish’s migration.

“I was thinking about some of our threats that are on our river systems here and literally how amazing it is the fact that the salmon have an impulse to go up a river to go back to the place that it was born and lay its eggs and die,” she said.

“I was worried about pipelines and LNG and the sacred headwaters and I thought if, instead of concentrating on what we don’t want, [we should] concentrate on what we do want.”

Knorr decided to celebrate the salmon life cycle by recreating it in felt.

A collaborative project, The Salmon Journey will incorporate needle-felting hand-sown by children, Wet’suwet’en elders and other needle-felting artists.

When the installation opens in August, she wants it to be an immersive experience for the public.

“The idea is that you are entering the river and you are a salmon and you are swimming along with the salmon as it’s going along through its changes to get to its spawning,” she said.

Textured panels will cover the walls and three-dimensional salmon will hang from the ceilings, depicting both the underwater environment and the fish in their various physical forms.

Other elements of the natural world including a forest scene, seaweed and an island will be incorporated into the art gallery space.

Knorr will also be working with local schools to help children prepare contributions to the exhibition.

Some of their panels will be displayed at a presentation by David Suzuki at the Della Herman Theatre on June 8.

For more information about the project phone 250-847-9969 or email lori_knorr@hotmail.com.