Kootenay artist Lou Lynn wins Governor General’s award

Lynn is among eight artists honoured throughout Canada

Winlaw artist Lou Lynn at work on a sculpture. Photo: Janet Dwyer

Winlaw visual artist Lou Lynn has been named one of the winners of the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts.

The Canada Council for the Arts announced Tuesday that Lynn had won the Saidye Bronfman Award, which is the highest distinction handed out in Canada to an artist working in fine craft.

The award comes with a $25,000 prize and a bronze medallion. One of Lynn’s pieces will also be acquired by the Canadian Museum of History.

“It’s a huge honour,” said Lynn. “I can’t deny that I’ve known of that award ever since they first started giving them out and many of my friends have received them. … When it happened of course I was elated about the whole thing.”

The Canada Council for the Arts also commissioned this short documentary about Lynn, which was produced by Nelson’s Watershed Productions:

Lynn has lived in Winlaw since 1981. She credited an art class she took while she was young with setting the direction for her career.

“My forte is three dimension. So it wasn’t until we started working with materials that I began to see, oh, there’s something coming out of my hands that is art.”

Lynn worked with stained glass in the 1980s before attending Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Wash., where she says she broadened her ideas of what could be done with glass.

Her series Tools As Artifacts, for example, repurposes hand tools to include glass elements. A shovel crafted by Lynn replaces a wooden shaft with glass.

Lynn’s work has been exhibited throughout Canada and as well as in Germany, Denmark, Scotland, China and the United States.

She was praised in a joint statement by Raine Mckay, executive director of Craft Council of British Columbia, as well as artist and writer Amy Gogarty.

“Her work not only draws us in to admire its skillful and aesthetically pleasing facture, it makes us think about our histories as makers and about the hand, mind and body working in concert to create beautiful and functional objects that enrich our world.”

Lynn, a Kootenay School of the Arts instructor from 1994 to 2007, was one of eight artists honoured for contributions to visual and media arts and fine crafts.

The other B.C. artist among the winners was Dempsey Bob, a sculptor from Terrace, B.C., known for his carvings of Tahltan-Tlingit sculptural art.

@tyler_harper | tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

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Winlaw artist Lou Lynn is one of eight Canadians to win a Governor General's award this year. Photo: Janet Dwyer