Recycled steel propane tanks are plasma cut to serve three purposes: posts to hold deck railings, planter boxes, and lanterns to spread illuminated patterns
Carefully crafted through traditional cold forge techniques: hammer and nail transform tin cans into a horse leaping skyward filled with fires light.
Created through a series of workshops with residents from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside in celebration of the Chinese New Year.
Punched tin cans, Acid etched copper, brass lamp parts, woven wire and hewn green glass highlight its features.
Heather Dawn Sparks
Metal smith support Jason Paulantis
In partnership with, Community Arts Council of Vancouver, the University of British Columbia and the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Vancouver.
35 recycled coconut oil barrels were shot through with plasma cut electric sparks creating variegated blue waves tinged with copper rust. Malleable in form, each wave undulates and stacks into different site specific sculptural formations. Their detailed silhouettes cast bold shadows.
* H & I Sparks *
Moth & Fwomb
Moth with interactive shadows designed by Heather Dawn Sparks
Fwomb, a spinning wooden tree fort, designed by Islando Sparks and Bemya Nymh
Additional build and install support by the artists of Lookout Arts Quarry
Shadow Sail Theatre
A portable, interactive, shadow theatre designed to host a variety of multidisciplinary shadow events. Plasma cut metal, translucent boat sails, paper-cut and found object projection art, shadow dancers. Four 10’x10’ panels.
Shoestring Rockinghorse A large rocking horse puppet built for the touring circus arts show Shoestring Rockinghorse. Horse Jaw, wood, burlap, rope, flashlight lenses, found materials.
Shoestring Artists: Ember Bria, Matt Poki McKorckle, * H & I Sparks *
Paper-cut and wooden lanterns built for the performance "Sufi Journeys", Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, Vancouver BC. 2'5" x 4' x 2'5"
* H & I Sparks * with build support by BemyaNymh
Pop-Up Shadow Book
Illuminated through colour changing glass and a triplex of mirrors, paper-cut shadows unfold from the intricate pages of a pop up book.
Created for Nayana Fielkov and Isabell Kirouac's performance "Habitats".
Medical and Liquor Cabinet
A stained glass cabinet built from glass off cuts, glass bottles and salvaged wood
A portable pop up storytelling fort built from the off cuts of film industry textiles.
* H Sparks *, Aja Rose Bond, Alicia Chaa, Caroline Ballhorn
Based on a sketch of a collapsing geodesic dome. Tin sourced from materials found on site. Reversible dinner jacket possesses a story told through pockets.
* H Sparks *
Turquoise Fox Den
An immersive nest built from found turquoise objects.
* H Sparks *
Developed through a series of free community workshops promoting sustainability and literacy at libraries throughout Ghana, Africa. Beach Sourced plastic water bottles and woven wood cane. 7’ x 12’ x 4.5’
Soon This Space Will be Too Small An encompassing light box built for an immersive labyrinth theatre experience in the basement of Cultch Theatre, Vancouver BC. Illuminated found textiles and objects.
* H Sparks *
fir and cedar corner posts and beams sourced from the land, beams torch blackened shou sugi ban style, structural butterfly fox brackets plasma cut from salvaged steel, Alpine Schist stone garden and steps
Stained glass inset into wooden tree branch patterned railings. Meranti and salvaged fir decking, copper gutters. Private Commission, David Wight Glass Art. Bellingham WA.
Poured Concrete Countertop
Poured, cast, and acid dyed concrete with brass, copper and stone inlays. Acid etched copper backsplash. 16’16” x 2’2”
Two identically built Fiddlehead Spiral Cabins feature living roofs, tree to lumber wood processing, Shou Sugi Ban fire torched preservation, cob interior, thermal envelopes, timber frame/venetian plaster walls, radiant heat floors and are constructed atop steel skids for mobile transport.
Tiny Home. Bellingham WA. 2016.
A converted Box Truck with spalted red alder step shelving, live edge manzanita wood detailing, original floor finished with cabaret red stain. Loft bed is suspended by steel rods connected into box truck frame.
Private Commission. Bellingham WA
Built onto an existing house, the sun room was completed with an acid dyed & polished concrete floor, spalted wood ceiling with inset lighting, a south facing wall of sliding cedar windows, and exterior decking of Meranti wood.
Wight Glass House
Fine finishing spalted wood trim
Private Commission, David Wight Glass Art. Bellingham WA.
Warehouse Dance Studio
Lookout Arts Quarry. Bellingham WA. 3800 sq ft
A radiant heat, sprung floor dance studio with aerial rigging. Sparks Designs oversaw & implemented: permits, industrial equipment operation, foundation pour, steel beam construction, riveted steel panels, wood logged and milled on site, radiant heat gasifier system, spray foam insulation, electrical, flooring, and finishing. Sparks Designs also oversees the Artist in Residency Program that continues to operate out of this facility. The program provides contemplative practice space to support visiting national and international artists develop new work.
A sprinter box truck converted into a lightweight tiny mobile home. Incorporates exterior riveted metal compartments, fiberglass nose cone creates a spacious sleeping loft, modular seating allows for a variety of arrangements, spray foam insulated walls create an efficient all season living space, light weight cabinetry built from reclaimed wine barrel wood, triple pane skylight ceiling, cork floor with slate veneer and radiant heat.
Hot Steed Sauna
Salvaged tongue and groove cedar, spray foam insulated, double barrel dive tank stove
Recycled wine corks and Alpine Schist stone.
Alpine Shist stone, slate, and reclaimed wood.
In progress. An all season live work studio built around the torso of a living tree, 360 degree double paned windows, suspension bridge and forest viewing platforms.
Artist Lead: Bemya Nymh, build and engineer support: SparksDesigns
SET DESIGN / PERFORMANCE
An ensemble of international award winning artists in a visually stunning spectacle of dreamlike proportions. Blending traditional vaudeville/cabaret acts, innovative puppetry and magic illusions from grandiose to subtle Gift Horse brings you surrealist physical theatre with human levitation, planetary alignment, walrus song and fine dining. Question who is really at the top of the food chain, Gift Horse looks itself in its own mouth.
Created & performed (in no particular order) by: Nayana Fielkov, Islando Sparks, Bemya Nymh, Heather Dawn Sparks, Janessa Johnsrude, Sadye Osterloh, Ezra Gabriel & Matthew Poki McCorkle. Directed by Matthew Poki McCorkle.
Accompanied by a mysterious white hare, a woman travels through time to find home in a world of continuous transformation. Blending physical comedy, contemporary circus and dance, 'Habitats' is an interdisciplinary performance for all ages.
Created and performed by Nayana Fielkov & Isabelle Kirouac. Original music by Martin Reisle, shadow art by Heather Dawn Sparks. Supported by BC Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts and Made in BC.
A journey to the heart of human experience with: slow motion sword swallowing, virtuosic floor rolling, ethereal mimes, gnome hymns, Las Vegas magic, and extraordinary hair.
Directed by Mathew (Poki) Mckorkle, Operatic beheading and costume designer Nonny P, high flying hair snail acrobatics Noa Schnitzer, nose noodling and sword swallowing Justin Theirren, box magic set design trickery Heather Sparks, sky sprinkles and sound sparks Islando Sparks, Gnome hymns Bemyanymh
Hard Times Hit Parade
An immersive theatrical extravaganza set in a Depression-era dance marathon. Big and brassy dance routines, small solos, comedy, magic, puppetry, newsreel-style video and shadowplay revelations of inner character.
Directed by Kat Single-Dain. Set Design Heather Sparks, Alicia Cha, Justin Wright, and Brodie Kæ. Performed by members of the Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret.
With mime, contortion, giant cloud puppets, clown and aerial acrobatics, Shoestring Rockinghorse deftly dances and dangles in a melancholic fairy tale world. From high flyings to low rollings, soft subtleties to virtuosic visions, floating clouds to falling rain, Shoestring Rockinghorse is truly an emotional trainwreck of talent.
Directed by Mathew (Poki) Mckorkle, with Ember Bria, Laura Stokes, Islando Sparks, Heather Sparks, Karla Mi Lugo, Clay Mazing, Tasche de la Rocha, & Bemyanymh
The Lookout Arts Quarry
Sparks Designs' home base is the Lookout Arts Quarry in Bellingham WA, a 60 acre rock quarry turned collectively owned permaculture circus and arts center. We consistently dedicate our time and resources to community engaged art practices, environmental sustainability and spreading the network of collaborative artistry. Through ground up sociocratic governing design we’ve built artist facilities including stages, a music studio and sprung floor radiant heat dance studio, installed all of our own utilities including a town sized solar operated water system, run a year round artist in residence program and host seasonal arts education based festivals. We steward both a nature conservation wetland filled with native specie plants and wild birds as well as oversee the care of a river. At the heart of the land is a rain fed 80’ deep lake suspended with slack and zip lines. www.lookoutarts.com
Transformational Puppets and Parades
Over the course of a month long visit to Accra, Ghana, Sparks Designs created a series of large scale puppets and taught free community art workshops utilizing beach trash. Workshops culminated in a 15 km parade around the city that promoted sustainability and literacy. Sponsored by OSU Library Fund, Ghana Africa.
Improvisational Physical Comedy with a Cause
Performing for a Syrian refugee camp with the not for profit Emergency Circus, Nuremberg, Germany
Sculpted forms are pre-made out of flexible white pvc pipe, kids are then invited to weave strips of re-purposed fabrics over these "bones" to bring to life multi-hued immersive animals. Sculptures have included a 60’ dragon, a 75’ Hydra Snake, and a 40’ storytelling fort. In addition, SparksDesigns annually creates the unique, eye-catching 1000' long woven fence for the Vancouver International Children's Festival.
Shadow Sail Theatre
A portable shadow theatre that hosts workshops in shadow puppet crafting by day and an interactive shadow playground by night. Multiple overhead projector stations set up with puppets, found materials, and shadow masks are designed to invoke audience participation in the creation of an eclectic, all inclusive shadow jam.
Shadow Sail Theatre was supported in part by the Burning Man Global Art Grant and Bellingham’s Sustainable Connections Kapow! Placemaking Grant.
It's amazing what a pile of cardboard and recycled crafting materials can become within a few days of all age innovation! This workshop and participatory art installation centers around families building an imaginary landscape together.