Wednesday, June 22, 2011

To Dye or Two Die

The images on this post might be disturbing to some people... Please be re-assured, No-one dyed - I mean died during the making of these coloured papers.  (Better now?)
 The hanging racks at ACAD - looks like a scene from an abattoir doesn't it.... or a horror movie at the very least...
 From this....
 To this....
 Via this....

The two who dyed

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Colourful day

Threw a wobbly at ACAD today.... Stress levels were relieved by 1) Arlee presenting me with a wonderful gift... Crayola fabric crayons... in pristine condition still in original wrapper.  Fortunately she doesn't know how much these are selling for on eBay and 2) her gushing over my ironing board cover (above).  Great medicine Arlee.
The above was a gift from Larissa, thank you darling we all love it here at 4519.  Do you think it wise for me to put the KMnO4 paper in the post, or should we wait for Canada Post to sort out its issues???
And if that wasn't enough to get be back on the straight and narrow I just need to look at this fellow,  who is telling me to get off my backside and do the zen-fib-itee (which is a short form name for my next continuing project.... which involves Zentangles, Fibre and Graffiti.... Yarn bombers eat your hearts out.  I can't wait to get into lettering again.
The image by the way is of a Community Arts Project (as if) on the wall outside the coffee shop at ACAD.  A coffee shop whose name amused me though I can't think why right now and don't feel like going to their website to find out.
Now off to stitch well into the night to get the warty-branch finished.

Monday, June 20, 2011


WARNING: Because of the nature of the content of this blog entry you will see the captial letter 'I' some 20 times.... sorry for being so self-focussed here.
The outcomes of my weekend residence and involvement with ArtsPeak were numerous.

Here are some of them...  if you are interested.... and I don't list all the great things I learnt from  Roseanne at the breakfast table and in her studio.
<>As I drove home I approached the rain that enveloped Calgary on Sunday evening.  And drove under a rainbow and appreciated all that I have. 
<>I reached out to the large, active and diverse stitching and (currently) non-stitching  community of Canmore, learnt about their activities, desires and aspirations. 
<>I provided some demonstrations of Sewing Machine Abuse and Surface Decoration through Disperse Dyeing.
<>made contacts for future workshops in Canmore, Cochrane and Red Deer!!!  Wonderful opportunities for next academic year. There certainly appears to be a demand.  Please email me if you would like to hear news of these.
<>I learnt a lot from my fellow exhibitors - thanks for sharing.
<>I got advice on how to find somewhere that might be willing to exhibit my work.

<>I made new friends. And experienced the generosity of old friends.
<>I learnt how difficult it is to hang so many works when you are scared of heights.
<>I gave publicity to Contextural whilst meeting and hearing of local textile artists that I didn't know previously.
<>I was present at the inauguration of a wonderful piece of art that will stand in Canmore for ever!
<>I sold and was commissioned for more work than I had anticipated.  And because of these sales I can donate,  to the Canadian Mountain Arts Foundation, a small but healthy amount ( I consider it a healthy amount for one aspiring artist who had 'strange' work on sale to a viewing public that mostly likes landscape paintings!)
<><>I achieved a goal that I had set myself last summer and can now leave Calgary for summer to return in September and pick up the many threads, sew them together, create and embellish the  fabric of my life - I never underestimate how lucky I am to have such a life.

To ArtsPeak Canmore and Beyond

Synchronicity, The Tipping Point and a little bit of 
It Was Meant to be.
When I saw Quilters' Inn B&B, during my online search for accommodation for the Canmore ArtsPeak, I thought "Surely someone is telling me to stay there. " and sure enough it was a match made in heaven as they say...
Roseanne told me later that she believe that all women share a link and that is the needle (sorry, R. for any mis-quote). I felt that connection this weekend.

I feel very much at home (as you can see)  in this B&B where Roseanne and Grant have surrounded visitors with antiques and treasure of their full and eventful lives, and quilts galore.  I have a respect for Grant for his work and community service, awards for these are discretely placed in the visitor's lounge and for Roseanne for all the textiley homely touches... even individual ribboned soaps.

And everywhere Quilts.  Quilts that speak of frugal living in Canada just a generation ago; quilts - the new holiday scrap-book; quilts - the fabric representation of an observant mind; quilts of mathematical precision, geometrics gone crazy, with colours that are the most shocking or the most-muted; quilts that store flotsam and jetsam - a hoard from healthy living and walks on mountain passes in the Rockies; quilts telling the story of a husband and wife who so clearly love and support each other as in He Cooks She Quilts.  Humour, sensitivity and sentimentality (in the most positive sense) are all values expressed in Roseanne's quilts.  Yes, I am in awe of her skill and output!
Some highlights of the decor:
Yesterday evening was the inauguration of PortalXII, an outdoor art installation by Lucie Bause  in Canmore.
The rain held off and the opening was attended by about 30 folks who, mostly, selected waterproof shoes, or wellies to get the better of the unpredictable weather.
Canmore's mayor gave the opening address which was followed by Cheryl Baxter  of Elevation Gallery, and Lucie herself (show).  The speeches set the piece in context very well and made the evening more meaningful and memorable for me.  Thanks Alasdair and Susan for taking me along (wonderful dinner too).  A highlight of the evening was a chat with Louis Kamenka of Kamenka Quarry
from which the Triassic, Rundle Rock (of the Spray River Group - for the geologists amongst us) was taken for the installation.

Artist in residence: Studio //6 Spring Creek
Today I heard it called a transitional period for some quilters in Canmore.  And there was certainly much interest in my zany use of fabric and thread... and plastic and metal and all the rest.  So I am thrilled that there might well be an opportunity for me to share some of my experience with such a wealth of talented stitchersin Canmore in the future... time will tell.

I probably had 60 people come through the studio in 6 hours.  Thanks mainly, I think, to Roseanne who emailed the entire Quilters' Association about my demonstrations.
I shared studio space with Nicole Byl - of Safron Collective Studios whose music and the gentle hum of her pottery wheel kept our studio animated all day.  I am sure that Nichole can tell visitors the story of my art-works tomorrow, she has heard them so frequently herself today, poor girl.
Larissa and Annie in the studio opposite have a colourful presentation of water-colours and mixed media and have worked wonders on their studio which was just a bit of a mess when they arrived.

Tiffany Teske   who loves working with polaroid and demonstrates lifting (floating) and transfer of the image off the paper and using it in mixed-media pieces had no trouble pulling a crowd for the show.  Check out her Etsy site for beautiful work.

Sunday Shannon appeared and worked non-stop on her Encaustic pieces and demos.  Very refreshing pieces made in this way.

As well as.....

......Many artist painting en plein air.  And doing the most amazing work... how do they do it?  Did you leave me a treasure gift in the boot of my car, please get in touch... soon.

Patti Dyment, another plein air artist, was kind enough to spend some time with me.  She will have a show at The Edge Gallery shortly - she has lived at Spring Creek with her family and I am sure there will be many local stories told through her paintings.

Here are some shots of my bit of the studio... What a wonderful space to live and work... For those artists out there who want to live and work in a wonderful location, remember the name, Spring Creek, Canmore.
What? an empty shelf - yes... a sale!
And my demo area... very busy zone (... well this was before 9 in the morning). Folks were wowed by the magic of transfer paint!  And look, more empty spots.
It has been a lovely day.  Thanks to everyone for helping make it so. Dana, Frank,  Dave and Kathy, Roseanne and of course my family for giving me the 'weekend off'.
See next blog entry for what I consider to be the outcomes of this day for me....

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Animated Gifs

I asked Arlee to let me know where she got the following animation from so I can use it in my workshops on Sewing Machine Abuse and FX.... and now I am faced with getting inside a Gif, lifting it up, moving and placing it... let's see how I get on...
Da daaa.......

This is how a sewing machine creates a twist between the top and bottom thread - a vertical loading bottom bobbin is shown.... actually the animation is self explanatory... so I don't know why I am explaining any further.
Credit would be given to the animator of this mesmerising cartoon but I am sorry to say I haven't located the original as yet.

Day 6 - 10

What to show for 5 days' work?  Not a lot... but progress all the same, planning two workshops and finishing off the red monster... photo to follow tomorrow (abw).  I have now tamed my sewing machine and can stitch happily into my Nodular Nudibranch's skin.... skin development involved disperse dye, paper resist and now mass stitch on felt...which just feels right.  Gosh I would love to try this method on an industrial machine.
I will photograph tomorrow - I taught English today... so didn't go into ACAD where Noddy lives.
Excitement over possible workshop on Saltspring Island July 2011.... more on this to follow if the appointment is secured.
And a negative decision regarding Michael Brennan Wood's workshop at Maiwa.  Too bad.  But a decision nonetheless.
Took "4 Creatures and It" (Hey, my next series of works has a name) into the English Class at Bow Valley College and they were made most welcome.  Students correctly identified sea-life as the source material for the series.
At last someone had created a machine that does French knitting... and those who follow my blog will remember:-
On which was attached...
...thus creating a toga belt for the Queen of Sheba... and you may recognise French knitting there... but it is French knitting taken a stage beyond French knitting...Now Take A Step Backwards -  as I tried out my new gizmo... Yes that's me, (appearing for the first time ever, nearly, on my blog) I have to come clean at this point I AM the soon to be well-known criminal - 'F' (as in 'Z' for Zorro)  - IF I were a yarn bomber I think I just came up with a name for me - or is the correct word 'handle'?
(funny word that...and from the online dictionary....gizmo |ˈgizmō| (also gismo)
noun ( pl. -mos) informal:    a gadgetesp. one whose name the speaker does not know or cannot recall :the latest multimedia gizmo.ORIGIN 1940s (originally U.S.): of unknown origin.)
Sorry for the rambling nature of this blog entry it is merely because I actually have very little to say.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Now Day 5 ACAD

 Day 5 for me as I work somewhere else for one day a week -
And these pieces are what I can show today.  I am quite taken with the top set.. though not sure if I want to make it two triptychs...  I have an idea for the stitching too which is a bit off beat.
The image below is not blurred, stick with it....
 Talking of off-beat... this is a layered piece with the organza creating a blurry - "I've had too much to drink" - look.  Consequently I am not sure I like this piece... it is too disturbing to the eye.  Rather like when I move the dyed paper whilst transferring the image.  However if I try this with a figurative image I might find I like what it says... Right now they look like skeletal hands trying to grab and it is even more disturbing.
This piece shows how I can manipulate the technique to allow me to create shibori markings on cloth without all that stitching and wrapping nonsense... Don't take me too seriously, I love shibori but am excited by the idea that I can have more control over the colour placement with this technique...  There is more to this than meets the eye...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Second and Third Day ACAD

Replacement table - low level....
It may seem like a small thing - but it will make a huge difference to me... Like Goldilocks said "Just right" and I will be able to both see over the sewing machine whilst keeping my feet firmly on the ground.  You can see how much lower I need my table by comparing with a 'normal person's table' on the right! Oh comfort, oh happiness.

Today the wonderful Tara spent time showing me how to apply emulsion to a screen  - Anne showed my last year, but it is approx 365 days ago! and I am no elephant.

Then Day 3, and this is what I produced from some paint/blow/transfer work.

Then I was left thinking... what next.  So I brought them home.  I am approaching the end of week number 1 and perhaps I ought to bring in the digital ground work, which is what I had hoped to get into during these 4 weeks... I will prepare some designs and apply them to these surfaces over the weekend.  My time at the college is a time to try new things and not be too precious with what I create at the first sitting... Having decided this I am now very happy that the surfaces are pale in colour and excited to see what I can find in our photo albums to marry with these designs.