A Covered Bridge Story

Life-long childhood friend, Cindy West of Cornhill NB, has a beautiful home overlooking the hills and dales with an uninterrupted view eastward toward Moncton. The glass in her house is expansive and the light is phenomenal. The double patio doors leading out to the deck are crowned with a split transom window where Cindy envisioned a splash of color to catch the eye.

A bit of history leading to the design: Cindy’s childhood home was on the banks of the Canaan River right beside the Canaan Bridge, about 5 miles from Havelock where I grew up. In those days, the wooden bridge was covered and spanned a favorite swimming hole for us children from miles around. I remember the bridge fondly and have even painted it in watercolors in my younger days. When I presented a covered bridge sketch for Cindy to consider, she accepted the concept right away. I was delighted!

approved concept sketch

Cindy was willing to engage with me in the early decision-making phase. From concept to pattern creation, we communicated our ideas back and forth via email. With an onsite visit for pattern fitting, I was ready for the studio. Artistic intoxication is one way to describe the selecting of colors phase. So many options! The final pallet is green, gold, gray, red, brown, blue and white. I went entirely with oplalescent glass (as opposed to cathedrals) so the panels would show at night with the house lights on as well as in daylight. I also included some unique glass that changes color with light. All of it very impressionistic meant to represent trees, fields, bushes and even weathered boards on the bridge.

The two panels (33″×11″ each and more than 300 pieces total) took six weeks to complete in the studio. As much as I love the early artistic planning phase, I also love the technical gruntwork. The many hours spent cutting, grinding, foiling and soldering are my therapy. I find, especially during repetitive tasks, the mind is more free to wander. Mine drifted back several times to those happy childhood days swimming under the bridge with my cousins… sometimes followed by a popsicle at nearby Burgess’ country store. 😀

Finally came installation day. With both panels packed for transport and Monica by my side for moral support, it was a beautiful drive to Cornhill on that sunny February morning. A successful installation followed by coffee with Cindy and James gave us a boost for the trip home. It was a great day. Cindy was pleased with her art work… and so was I, knowing it would always take her back to those wonderful memories of the past.

Here is a photo gallery of the project from start to finish:

2 replies on “A Covered Bridge Story”

Ahh yes, this brings back many memories of warm, summer days, swimming under the bridge and jumping off the big rock into deeper water. And yes, sometimes getting an ice cold popsicle at Uncle Harry’s store…the good ole days. Cindy must be enjoying the beauty of the panels and the memories they bring! Once again, another spectacular creation, Nelse. I so wish Grampie Keith was around to see how you inherited his art talent. 🥰

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