People in New Brunswick had a chance to meet five artists over the weekend in various parks around the province and watch them create in fresh air.
Traditional carver Justin Sappier spent the long weekend in Mactaquac Provincial Park chiselling his next piece of art from a chunk of butternut, the wood he prefers to use.
The Peskotomuhkati-Wolastoqi artist was working on tree spirits, commonly referred to as masks, and paddles.
Sappier doesn't use power tools to make his art. He primarily uses a hammer and chisel to make tree spirits. For his paddles he uses a shave horse and a blade.
"It's showing our roots and it's showing how we used to do it," said Sappier, who grew up in Fredericton and has roots in Tobique First Nation.
Sappier said a lot of people stopped to visit him in the park this weekend to watch him work.
"It's hard to wrap your mind around how something from a log can get to that," he said, adding that the tree spirits take around 250 hours to make.
Sappier explains his carvings as a deduction.
"Instead of adding stuff to it to make something, I'm actually taking away.
"If I make a mistake, I just can't put another piece on. If I make a wrong knock or a wrong thing and the piece is gone — it's gone."
He said people at Mactaquac were curious about his art, techniques and culture. Sappier said he enjoyed the conversations it started.
"For me a lot of it is about the children," Sappier said. "If I can bring some education and awareness to children — that's where it all starts."
Sappier said that when people stop to talk to him about his art, the conversation becomes a chance to talk about his Indigenous heritage.
"I explain to them about where this [traditional carving] really comes from," said Sappier, who said he comes from a long line of traditional carvers.
Multimedia artists, musicians and photographers were doing similar meet-and-greets as artists-in-residence at provincial parks over the weekend, part of the first Fresh AIR Program organized by the province.
David and Lynn Addleman thought it was a good opportunity to meet Sappier, and like most people who saw him work this weekend, they were curious about his art.
"If you went to an exhibit and saw the masks on the wall, you can admire them and you can be moved by them," said David.
"Hearing the story about what led to their creation adds a dimension."