Town of Canmore

Nordic Blessings (Fast Track) - Michelena Bamford



Nordic Blessings is the result of over 80 skis, lovingly donated for this project. All of them have past lives and interesting stories - there are first runs and first places. Blown knees and family vacations. Sore muscles, backcountry adventures and many, many smiling faces! A deep reverence for evergreen forests and the stretching line of colourful flags outside of Canmore’s Nordic Centre were the artist's inspiration for “Nordic Blessings” installation.

Cut into 6” rectangles each one embodies its own unique graphics and colours; a little flag, in and of itself, reflecting the global stand above. If you look closely you will even find the names of countries like Norway and Finland written on some of them! She arranged the cut pieces into alternating sets of four, larger “flags” that align together into long rows. Doubled up they lay parallel, imitating an inviting set of ski tracks.

Once draped between the tall canopy of conifers, the ski strands take on the essence of Tibetan Prayer Flags; acknowledgment to all the ski lovers who know the overwhelming spirituality and blessings of propelling oneself through silent forests in crystalline snow.

In Tibetan tradition, each flag holds a prayer or mantra to be blown by the wind, spreading blessings of compassion and goodwill to all. It is the artist's sincerest hope that you enjoy walking beneath these Nordic tracks, reminiscing of your own adventures in our beautiful Canadian forests, and then send blessings from your heart out to others and the world.


The Artist

Michelena has shared her love of mosaics as a facilitator and artist in residence in many organizations and institutions, including the public, separate, and charter school boards, City of Calgary Continuing Ed., Bow Corridor Education, Leighton Fine Art Centre, retreat settings, and the corporate and private sector. She loves translating the medium to large scale collaborative murals and meaningful permanent art installations.

Her art practice fosters objects of meaning and memory; the sentimental tesserae of our human experience that she reclaims and repurposes in new ways through an ancient mosaic lens. Within the context of the Nordic World Cup, skis are the perfect medium - a vibrant symbol of our human journey in the mountain wilderness.

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