Archives for March 2020

Blue Clay of the Saguenay | A Field Trip to Tadoussac, Quebec

Earlier this month, my partner Leo and I took a quick weekend getaway to Quebec.  We spent a day and a half exploring the city, which was unique and beautiful – but we were both longing to explore the natural beauty of the Saguenay Fjord. Our last day in Canada, we woke up early, grabbed a coffee and hit the road – heading Northeast to Tadoussac – as I had come to find it is a place where Beluga whales spend time all year – they are my most favorite marine mammals and I have adored them since I was a kid – and though I knew the chances were slight to see them this time of year – the landscape of the region was reason enough to visit.

We crossed to Tadoussac on the ferry that traverses across the Saguenay River, and came into a quiet summer resort town – we were told by locals that during the winter the town is inhabited by around 700 people, and increases to 10,000 in the summer months. Undeterred, we hiked through the deep snow to a park along the coastline of the St. Lawrence Bay.

Tadoussac was home to the Innu, and they called Totouskak , meaning “bosom” in reference to the landscape. Other interpretations have also been “place of lobsters”, or “place where the ice is broken” (from the Innu shashuko). Although located in Innu territory, the post was also frequented by the Mi’kmaq people in the second half of the 16th century, who called it Gtatosag (“among the rocks”)[1] Tadoussac was an important trading centre for Indigenous peoples of the north and south shores of the St. Lawrence River.

As we wandered down the coastline, we began to come across outcrops of Laurentian Gneiss – beautiful rocks striated with rainbow colors in beautiful wavy patterns. Large chunks of ice had washed up on shore, high tide leaving them above the wet sand and crashing waves. Beyond the ice that temporarily made up the landscape, we also took notice of the coastal erosion that was present along the hillsides and cliffs exposed to the ocean. At one point we reached a tall cliff, roots dangling towards the sandy beach below, trees precariously positioned on the edge of the hillside above – and beautiful blue and green clay exposed at the base of this section of land.


On our hike back to the car, we were far more aware of the coastal erosion happening here and upon our return home, deep dove into research about the environment of the area, it’s native peoples and climate mitigation and adaptation strategies. Please visit the links below to learn more about what Quebec and the people of Tadoussac are doing to combat the effects of climate change. We look forward to visiting here again in the warmer months to observe the differences of the landscape, and hopefully see some Belugas 🙂

Tadoussac Historical References


Canadian Museum of History

Conseil de la Première Nation Innus Essipit

Fighting Climate Change In Tadoussac

Saguenay – St. Lawrence Marine Park Management Plan

Adaptation Processes of Peripheral Coastal Tourism Communities in Québec, Canada

Fighting Together Against Erosion

Storms and Shoreline Retreat in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence 

Coastal Erosion Working Group

Why Color ?

Color is a universal language. It has told the story of our planet long before we ever held a presence here – our planets history is painted in layers of the earth, embedded in its strata and strewn across it’s sun warmed surface. Humans have utilized color since the beginning of our time, as a means of storytelling, honoring the gifts the earth has provided them, and creative self expression. The source of much of the natural color on our planet runs through it’s strata and through our veins. It is part of us, we are part of it.

Beyond our cultural use of color as a means of self expression and storytelling – we can also utilize color to better understand and connect with our land. We can read the health of soil and our crops by it’s color, the changing of our seasons –  and now, in the Age of the Anthropocene, the effects of human intervention and toxic pollutants on our precious planet.

Our rocks and soils tell geological and anthropological stories.

Color is the catalyst for this project to connect with people, and in turn, re-connect people to their land. We aspire to to inspire curiosity, mindfulness, exploration & experimentation, and storytelling as a means of offering a new perspective on connecting with our land and soils, sharing knowledges – especially those that have been silenced or wiped clean with industrial colonization and how our histories have been written- and with this, inspire a newfound appreciation for where we live, our community and cultural connections and to foster advocacy for preserving the wonders that we are losing, if we as a society continue down the path we have created.

This project is also an effort to bridge art and science – to strengthen the connection between two communities who’s process of inquiry are parallel to each other.  We hope that these connections through collaborations, research projects, workshops and outreach can utilize the collected and archived, hands-on and personal accounts of citizen pigment foragers and scientists that participate in this project to bring awareness to environmental and social issues surrounding the land and sources of collected color.

We hope that those interested in this project make use of the information that we provide to not only learn more about the processes of collecting and using earth sourced pigments – both geological and organic, but also to connect to community  – to share and learn more about cultural uses of color, shared experiences and new knowledges of environmental stewardship and restoration, advocacy ideas for environmental and social justice and to simply connect with people and land.

We look forward to being part of and witness the evolution of this project and look forward to connecting with you.  Please don’t hesitate to connect us with any suggestions, opportunities for collaboration, or to simply say hello. Thank you for your time, your interest and openness to fostering new perspectives and means of connecting with each other and this beautiful, precious, and vibrant land we call home.