Naturalist-turned-Sculptor Chosen as 2018 Waterfowl Festival Featured Artist

The Waterfowl Festival in Easton has just announced its Featured Artist for 2018: a Canadian artist inspired by migratory waterfowl on the St. Lawrence River.

Eric Tardif is an interpretive sculptor with a special method of bending and shaping materials into art. While his works are abstract, they clearly evoke the movements of birds.

Tardif is originally from Gatineau in Quebec, and at one time he was a naturalist in Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area, a preserve created specifically to protect habitats for migratory waterfowl, especially snow geese. It hosts 20 different duck and goose species. The birds have served as his muse for 15 years of sculpting. 

While Cardif does some work in brass and bronze, he mostly chooses wood like walnut, maple, ash, cherry and elm. He uses a process called “steam bending,” in which strips of wood are steamed to more than 200 degrees Fahrenheit to make them pliable, and bent into curving, intricate forms.

“I have always been intrigued by the expressive possibilities of wood,” he explains. …Like birds, my work is in a state of perpetual artistic migration, from what I know toward even more expressive ways to form my vision.”

For the 2018 Waterfowl Festival, happening November 9-11, Tardif plans to create a signature sculpture in bronze, which the festival says he is keeping mostly a secret. All he reveals is that it comes from “a moment etched in my memory.  It was not minutes, but hours being fascinated by two birds that were so engaged with each other that they were completely oblivious to my presence.”

The Featured Artist for the 2017 Waterfowl Festival, which was proudly sponsored by Chesapeake Bay Magazine, was Easton painter Julia Rogers. Her signature work was a painting called “The Long Stretch.”