Alexandre Hackett

A collection of colourfully painted birdhouses, each one customized by local families or volunteers, will be exhibited along Coldbrook path’s Sentier féérique and open to the public as of June 23rd. Nearly 100 participants were invited to get creative and decorate the avian abodes any way they saw fit, for what promises to be a permanent installation in the forested nook between Lakeside and Maple. The birdhouses are the initiative of local artist Isabelle Daval of the Hors-Cadre gallery, who created the sentier féerique and the jardin des lanternes magiques four years ago along with Sylvain Bolduc. “The community has really embraced these installations. So many people have come to see what we’ve done along the path and love it,” says Daval. “It brings an artistic touch to the village, and we wanted to keep adding to it. I see the birdhouses as the beginning of the continuation of an adventure.”

Between 75 and 100 birdhouses will be hung to begin with. As a second phase of the exhibition, Daval and Bolduc will collaborate with local ornithologists to install a series of larger nesting boxes and bird feeders between Knowlton and Foster, in the hopes of attracting more birds to the area. “We’d like to cover about one kilometre per year, and so we’re working with the Club des Ornithologues de Brome-Missisquoi and biologist Jessica Adams to develop the bird-watching side of things,” she says.

A landscape painter as well as a sculptor, Daval moved to Knowlton full-time about seven years ago with her partner and opened the HorsCadre gallery as a place to promote and exhibit local artists.

Located at 320 Knowlton road, Hors-Cadre bills itself as a community-oriented space for creation, exhibition and collaboration. The gallery exhibits over 50 artists every year, also hosting special events, markets and ateliers.

Now painting full-time, Daval hopes to continue to engage with the local community and bring a little joy into peoples’ lives through various artistic projects – such as the ongoing lanternes magiques installation and a planned mosaic mural for the 50th anniversary of the the Town of Brome Lake.

“Knowlton has always been our favourite village and it was a dream of ours to live here full-time. A few years ago the timing was right and we fell in love with the house that became Hors-Cadre and that was the beginning for us.”