Friday, April 29, 2011

Preparing Skin

Firstly a lesson in acrylic.  Looks like some artists' quality paints are not the same as other artists' quality paints.  This one from Michaels... well what do you expect... has rather a lot of water in it... perhaps.
Still, you know me - turn a disaster into an advantage... slap on some pva and it might give a crackled look to any self respecting digital print.
The same with this one and what a wonderful effect it has given me after applying more glue... I wonder if it will flatten out as it dries.  But it is interesting as it is.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Skins-New Ways

I have this to show for 2 day's' work... but I am well-pleased. I will call them 'Gems.'  The upper one is a New Zealand gem and the lower one is a 'River Gem.'
I am thrilled to have a technique of printing on curled up bits of glue!
Had the morning with the Wednesday stitchers and this afternoon it rained! It was wonderful.
Off to harp and stitching in Starby's... another wormy creature in the making.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Planning for ACAD 2011

I feel very lucky to have landed in Calgary and the Alberta College of Art and Design offers up studio space for 3 months during summer break for the regular classes.
For not too much money you can have access to large work tables and screen printing equipment.
Me? I go because I want contact with like-minded folks.
Last year it didn't work out quite that way as, during June, not many of the artists were not free to work in the studios during the day and were more night-birds.  This year though I am hopeful that there will be some people around when I am, namely the hours 8 - 3.
I am going to be developing my work on digital grounds. I hope to use my own digital imagery which will be more than squeezed, stretched and overlapped to produce abstract art from stuff that might otherwise be quite dull!  Also imagery that I think is already rather exciting will be enhanced by the way I print and screen....  Stay tuned....
To prepare for the residency I am now taking myself back to work I did more than a year ago.  Printing on diverse materials.  Thank goodness I attempt to keep good notes and samples.   These new skins are much larger than the samples I worked before and are from PVA glue, Paverpol and Acrylics.  And I am testing out various surfaces... acrylic sheets, glass, plastics of different types and silicon baking sheets.
This is an old Cricut mat that I am using to re-flatten the skins after they have peeled back from the drying sufrace.  One or two have textural additions of acrylic medium.  They must be within the depth limitations of my printer to be acceptable as skins.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Evolution of Surface

The very same piece of felt as in previous post was manipulated into an organic form... which suggests lichen.
Outside in
 Inside out
More detail
Through the workshop of Marjolein Dallinga I learnt how to make thin felt from merino wool. Unfortunately I don't own any of that fine wool right now - so the pre-felt for these pieces was quite a bit thicker.  However it handled well for the sculpting part.  Marjolein taught us how to create a 'bag' of felt over a flat piece of resist, this new skill has proved very useful.  The sculpted 'bag' has a hollowed out hemispherical form and is reversible.  Anyone want a hat?
Now, to work much much larger! But only after I have finished other jobs...
"So much time, and so little to do! Strike that, reverse it." Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - The movie - a quote for Easter Monday.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Felting with Friend

Even a morning's felting couldn't improve my Calgary-hands... namely dryness.

Saskia suggested photographing this piece outdoors along with our April snow and Rundle slate.
Here it is  sculpted and suggesting a  tree stump complete with moss and toadstools.
Right now the same piece is in Shibori-mode and I am off to full it - right now.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Where do teapots go to die?

The one on the left I had had for years, bought it in Poole at the Poole Pottery as a second - and, being a British tea-drinker myself,  it had had a lot of heavy-handed, and clumsy use before finally becoming unsafe to use (as a teapot) when it developed a deep crack.
The one on the right I bought at great cost at Britannia hardware used it once, bashed it on the tap and broke the spout... My mother taught me that broken or cracked crockery is unsafe... so now it is a scissors' holder. (Bu the way, apostrophe-needed = holder of scissors)

Working on felt - it is a thrill to sculpt felt... such a user friendly material.
I usually do battle with the materials I use, this is at peace with me... Maybe I should work with felt more often?  And if you can't tell, this previously flat felt is now sculpted... I like to think of it as a singing bowl as I work it into shape.  There is something very meditative about stitching with such density.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Doodles revisited

I bought a Moleskin book about a year ago and have been using it as my school car park distraction since then.  Last week I filled it.  Here are some of the doodles.  I am well pleased as it has shown me what one can do with 2 or 3 marker pens and a hand-bag sized sketch book... The instruction to "Draw something every day" has become a reality....
I used Faber-Castell broad PITT artist pens.  "Big boxed set comes with 48 colours." Says Don Colley!!! Oh yes please....  2010 - 11 was certainly my Blue Phase.  But my sketching period threatens to be freer with use of spit, skin and colour.  Check out the ADDY-awarded video to truly understand what I mean.   But for now I will be limited to 12 colours if my daughter will play nice.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Winter is nearly finished - even in Calgary - and yet I only just made one or two enviro-stitch installations....  I can't believe I nearly missed the opportunity again... I had so many ideas... roll on next winter...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Friday was a good friday

Friday evening I had a night out with my daughter.  It started off with a reception for the opening of the new Gallery and Frame Store "Framed on Fifth" whose owner is a pleasure to work with.  (I have posted the only link I could find for the gallery... since it is so new I guess Hannah hasn't had a chance to create a web site of its own yet) The small gallery was nicely packed with the work of Patricia Thomson - exhibiting April 4 - 30th.  Her oils and stitched work are delightful... pop over and take a look.  The stitched pieces are nice... with use of block machine stitching to give that painterly look one can get from densely stitching by machine.  Sadly I am not having much luck with websites today - Patricia's is phished.... it seems, so I haven't linked to it here- sorry...

From there we went to Resolution Gallery on 10th and looked around their silent auction and the boutique below. And I was introduced to Ruby Johnson of Ruby Ellen DESIGNS who is delightful... and who generously offered to have some of my pieces in her studio... "To brighten the place up." Wouldn't it be wonderful to have some of my shibori incorporated into a wedding dress.  Even if it only happened once in my lifetime... wow!
Here is a pink delight to get the thought processes going ....
From there we went to Gratitude Cafe and had a splendid evening playing chess/rummy and eating vegetarian - gluten- and nut- free food which was delicious.
A very wholesome evening.

Friday, April 8, 2011

artsPeak 2011 June 18-19

Go to to learn what happens in Canmore on a (hopefully) sunny weekend in June.  I am pleased to announce that I will be there, as I have taken the opportunity to be one of three artists in residence in a studio at Spring Creek.  I make no apologies for the hidden advertising as the developer is offering the studio space.
So far no money has been requested and although a logistical nightmare (with some of my stuff in my studio in Calgary and other stuff in the studio at ACAD) how will I get it all over to Canmore.... Anyway it promises to be a lot of fun and a community-focussed day...

Check out this call if you would like to be involved too:-

Call for artists!

artsPeak June 18th and June 19th

Continuing with the same theme as last year we are hoping to encourage any of you artists out there to join in the “Spring Creek Paint Out”, which will take place on Saturday, June 18th and Sunday, June 19th from 10 am to 4 pm daily. Last year was a great success as the artists painted their way around the Spring Creek village – painting the creeks, the construction sites, the mountains, the roadways – you name it – they painted it!  The excitement it generated for the artists was invaluable as they pushed their comfort zone and encouraged each others abilities.

Any artists wanting to participate this year please sign up at The Edge Gallery (phone: 403-675-8300)

Any sales that occur from the “paint out” fundraiser will be processed through The Edge Gallery – 50% to the artist and 50% to the Mountain Arts Foundation.

Frank Kernick, the developer of Spring Creek Village, has again kindly offered the live/work studios as an “artist in residence” program during the artsPeak weekend.
Each studio can accommodate up to 3 artists (painters, potters, photographers, jewelers, glass blowers).
Any artists without studio space, this a wonderful opportunity to be where the “action” is!

There is no charge for the use of the space and all sales will go through the artists. 

Please sign up at The Edge Gallery (as space is limited).  Please forward to any other artists you think might be interested.
Phone:  403-675-8300

The digital stuff... as requested

Since my last post I have been asked to upload the images I put in the waiting room... as they can't be seen fully in the photos of the corridor.  Some of these images probably appear somewhere else in my blog... but as I don't label...... I am uploading again... If you want to use these image please note they are watermarked and self-destruct if downloaded.

Here are 3 of the 4 photos plus one I didn't put up.  That is cryptic isn't it.

I like to take my work full circle, I have probably said this before.   I work from macro shots of natural sources and then create paper collage etc which is the design phase, and then develop it in stitch, be it 2D or 3D works and when it is finished I photograph it usually with a narrow depth of field, although hubby sometimes wants larger depth of field, I like to do it this way.  Sometimes the whole family is there taking shots of my work all of us with our own cameras! to see if any of us can produce one that really is ace.
I got these printed really quite big (for me) though not big as an art gallery might do them.  Now wouldn't that be wonderful to see work blown up to the size of a gallery's wall.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Canmore Hospital

I was fortunate enough to meet Dana Roman through Contextural and even though I don't live in Canmore but 40 mins away in Calgary, Dana thought I ought to be given the opportunity to hang some of my work in the community space of Canmore Hosptial.  
The image above shows four digital prints of abstracts from my shibori hoodoo work hanging in a communal waiting area of the main corridor that runs through the cancer treatment unit.  Whilst we were hanging the works (thanks for your brilliant help Dana and Al) several of the staff seemed really pleased to have more work coming into the rooms and patients walked by smiled or sat in the chairs to take a break.  It seems the hospital is a very friendly place and the above area is much used.
We also hung 5 of my small stitched pieces in the treatment rooms to the right of the waiting room. I was quite surprised when a member of the staff told me that I certainly must put up a bio. and some prices as people like to read about the works and may even like to make a purchase.  Thinking back I am sure Dana  must have told me this before, but I guess it was quite an alien idea to me so I forgot it.
I am very proud to have my work up in the hospital. Thanks to John for paying for the framing!
Do we do philanthropic things to make ourselves feel good about ourselves? Certainly, but I hope that isn't the main reason but that it is also because we truly believe we can make the world a better place.
The hospital ought to be congratulated for its friendly and welcoming atmosphere and for its support of the arts.  The walls and cabinets along a main thoroughfare are given over to gallery space for many local artists... but beware, it seems that theft of pieces is not unheard of.  Can you imagine? For shame.