Klondike Letters Project

Translating experience into memory through inspired creation.

Tag: equipment

Packing List

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Everyone heading to the Klondike had to haul a year’s worth of food and supplies (weighing about 1 ton!) over Chilkoot Pass and down the Yukon River. I took a look at their supply list. I think I might leave a few things home. Probably the ½ lb. evaporated vinegar and 8lbs of pitch… and maybe the whipsaw, though that might come in handy. Hmmmm….

Actually, packing for an on-the-trail artist residency poses a few challenges. I did several backcountry art-making forays into the New Zealand wilderness while making Conversing with Aotearoa, so I’m used to packing up my camera, tripod and sound recording equipment with a bunch of art supplies. Luckily for this two week trip, I have the support of the National Parks Service and Parks Canada.  Lucky me, I  will have my own cache waiting for me at Sheep Camp and Lindeman, with most of my food for the journey. That’s a good 20-30lbs I don’t need to pack in, so I’m very grateful to the park rangers keeping it safe. There’s no chocolate in there guys, really!

Here are a few of the non-camping items I’m bringing with me:

  • My fabulous Canon 60D along with a couple fancy filters that make life fun.
  • A trusty tripod for those timelapse and long-exposure shots
  • a portable watercolor set – this little guy has seen a lot of epic scenery!
  • 200 postcards, pens and colored pencils for my fellow travellers to have fun with.
  • Donald, my handy little recorder.

I’ve been getting familiar with my equipment in the field during my stay in Skagway and am excited to start making art on the trail. Now the real question is if I’ll be able to fit it all in my pack!

Painting Postcards

With 3 days to go before I head North, the packing has begun! I think my pack will be quite a bit different than most travelers on the Chilkoot Trail. More on that later. At the moment, I’m sorting through art supplies and trying to decide how much of my studio to bring.

my arsenal of color

Since a big part of this project will be letting other people create artistic memories on the KLP postcards, either through writing or drawing, I want to have a nice array of options. This afternoon I sat down on the back porch and made my first KLP postcards. the recycled kraft paper takes prismacolor pencils really well, and the sharpies and felt pens look brilliant, but I was also surprised how nicely the watercolor sat on the paper.

And interesting bit of personal history: My grandmother is a watercolor painter and as I was growing up, we often would hike out to some beautiful lake or meadow around Lake Tahoe and as the energetic kids scrambled up granite and swam in snow melt, Omi would be painting wildflowers and mountains. A great traveler, she would send us painted postcards from her trips around the world. When I went off to college, Omi gave me a little Windsor-Newton watercolor kit and a set of watercolor postcards, and I have carried on the tradition. This little trusty set of paints has seen a lot of the world and I think it will be happy to help me capture the road to the Klondike.

I interviewed Omi about painting outdoors when she turned 89 and turned the interview into an animated mini-documentary. You can watch En Plein Air on my website and see some of Omi’s paintings on her website. She is such a tech-savvy granny!

I’ve got 250 of these babies, so I will certainly be making more along the way, perhaps even using them as my own personal journal. And, of course, I can’t wait to see what other people will put in that blank space!

Testing, 1..2..3.. testing.

Hello, my name is Donald.

I’d like you to meet Donald. He’ll be travelling with me on the Chilkoot Trail. He’s very friendly and LOVES to listen. If you see him on the trail, feel free to tell him your thoughts, dreams, rants, or just sing him a nice little tune.

In all seriousness, this lightweight recorder is going to be a lot of fun on the trail. I’ll be asking some folks to read aloud their postcards and use that as the soundtrack for each mini-animation. It’s also really fun to record the natural sounds inthe environment – water trickling, bird calls, interesting sounds made by moving rocks, breaking sticks, sand trickling through fingers. And of course campfire stories.

For starters, here’s a little poetic sound clip Donald and I collaborated on during one of our wild Montana thunderstorms. Click on the photo to listen. We’ll see you on the trail!

Rain Bath

Oh, in case you were wondering, Donald’s hairdresser is taking on new clients…