The project began with Lummi Island Heritage Trust Benefit Dinner theme, A Black and White Affair, and thoughts about various aspects in nature featuring black and white. From the very beginning, decor chairwoman Bobbie Hutchings had the idea of geese in flight for the back wall of the Grange hall.
Canada Geese, Snow Geese? But when Meredith Moench saw Isaac Colgan's accompanying video of Trumpeter Swans flying in slow motion, that was it. "Each winter since living here, I thrill at the sheer poetry of the swans' magnificent, graceful flight as they return to the fallow winter fields of Whatcom and Skagit counties."
Meredith began collecting photographs of swans in flight and drew a mock-up of the room more or less to scale with the planned dessert table featured in the center. For visual impact she decided to fill the entire back wall with swans: 19 feet across by 9 feet high.
Based on past experience with similar large temporary installations Meredith decided to use butcher paper, being the least expensive and easiest material to manipulate. Dividing the wall up into five vertical panels, each four feet wide by nine feet tall seemed the easiest way to develop the background. She tacked the sheets one at a time to the wall of her studio and rolled the zero VOC low odor white latex wall paint on with a paint roller, creating a cloud/wind pattern with the addition of gray acrylic paint on a sponge.
The five sheets were each tacked to the wood wall. The swans were painted individually on paper using acrylic gesso. They were later cut out and glued to the background after it had been installed on the wall. The wing tips were allowed to curl out, further enhancing the relief.
After the Benefit Dinner, three people were able to untack the mural as one piece, lay it on the floor and roll it up for transport to its new home. A generous Heritage Trust supporter purchased it for re-installation at a remodel she said would be "just perfect" for it!