Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Getting Knotted

It is with pleasure that I continue to tie knots whilst reflecting on the day.  Very quickly my headspace moves to one of serene contemplation.  Based on the Rosary Knot those shown contain only a double twist.  Why the computer keyboard background?  So that you would ask "Why the computer keyboard background?"..... This piece of work holds a question for me: what do the thoughts of a day look like and how can artificial intelligence come close to, or surpass, that complexity of thought processing and storage?

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Taking Down The Show Tonight

Below are some images from my show with Ilse Leader
Driftwood of the Mind

The Salt Spring Gallery was excited to show Memory Hive again and it stimulated many an interesting conversation, not just about memory but many ageing related topics, general biology, art and science matters.

Some of the pieces that I showed were older but there were an equal number of new creatures (30 pieces in total, like the little snail and the spiky bangle-shaped creature mid shot above.

This delightful young woman was a breath of fresh air - I hope to work with her on another project shortly.

Ilse's daughter donated this piece of driftwood on which my miniatures were displayed.

This one named for Joan Radven - Vesparum Perterget radvenii, from the Latin meaning Raven's wasp with brushes (or eyelashes.... reminds me of you Joan)...
I think the show was successful Ilse and I both sold works.  And tonight I hope to get a photo of Ilse and me at the show and find out how many footfalls we attracted.
Thanks to everyone who supported us in this venture, especially Ilse for inviting me to join her in the space.

Thursday, July 19, 2018


In another parallel universe I am working on a theatre production.
Here is my latest - a mock up for a 2' x 5' vinyl banner for a scientific research group call Gemstar.
I learnt to use Photoshop with my son years ago  - and I'm still learning.

Probably this item needs to be supplied as an Illustrator file... so the learning curve continues.
Anyway here it is for perusal and comment only.

Vectors by Vecteezy!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Such a Relief

It has been months since I could access the photos neither those on my darling Olympus OMII (- you know the one.. it look like it uses film. And should be on a film set circa 1950..... Oh dear, its sensor got zapped and when I was trying to photograph the Transporter Bridge in Squamish I got lines over the image....
nor those stored on Aperture we have been locked out of that software for weeks....

Oh happy day - today we found that the fabulous John has solved the issue after many reloads.  And an attempt to switch to Lightroom... which we will have to do.

I mention this here because without access to my images I wouldn't have been able to build this didactic for the show.  I hope it explains for all and sundry what I get up to in order to create my creatures.... (maybe  you will have to click on it to enlarge and maybe it will be legible then??)  I think this will make a good blog entry for Evolution of Moral Progress, so I had better put it up there too......

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Invitation to Meet Curious Creatures

I am so fortunate to have been invited to show alongside Salt Spring Gallery Member Ilse Leader.
The gallery (and artists' collective) does fabulous work for the community including fund-raising for those in need.
In my case I am an invited artist showing my shibori-based textile art along with Ilse's fabulous weave/felt/fabrics, clothing and three dimensional constructions.
My work will include some 30 nudibranchs or creatures based on marine slugs!!!!!!!  I just love them. Also a showing of Memory Hive.
Both Ilse and I feel very connected to the sea, both of us having lived most of our lives by the seas of the world and now we are connected by our fibre art too.

I hope you can make it to the gallery on Friday 13th  (yikes!) July, the show is on for 3 weeks.
And if you can' make the opening maybe consider coming over to the Artists' Island of Saltspring for the Fibre Fair.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

I'm a proponent of cultural appropriation in art - How politically incorrect is that?

I'm thinking of using knotting in a piece of work, researching Quipu and thinking about the political correctness of avoiding cultural appropriation in art. Cultural appropriation is a thorny issue, one I have been made keenly aware of in Canada. I hold in my heart regret for those whose culture has been appropriated whilst under colonial rule, or subjected to an imbalance of power.  This is not what I am involved in here.

Quipu are best known from the now lost civilization of S. America, but also from China and Hawaii... and thought to be a method of recording data, stories and double-entry accountancy.  Who would have thought that when researching for a mixed media/fibre art work I would need to read from The Accounting Historians' Journal?

Is cultural appropriation a bad thing?
Though the word appropriation has negative connotations, I argue that cultural appropriation can be a work for good.
Where would we be, I wonder, if no-one had picked up the idea of making marks on a cave wall and run with it?... Hmmm? (The latter remark to be said with a James Keziah Delaney intonation), to lighten the mood a little).
This, below, from Wikipedia (of course) says the same thing, a view expressing when cultural appropriation might be seen as a positive activity...

"A different view of cultural appropriation characterizes critics of the practice as "engaged in a deeply conservative project: one which first seeks to preserve in formaldehyde the content of an established culture and second tries to prevent others from interacting with that culture"   Proponents of cultural appropriation view it as often benign or mutually beneficial, citing mutation, product diversity, technological diffusion and cultural empathy as among its benefits."

I would add the word  progress to this list.
I can imagine a world where Quipu continues to be created in its original form as a tribute to the now, lost civilizations that practiced it in South America and others eg., China and Hawaii.  Alongside this I would advocate its progress and development in the same way I work with Trapunto (Italian), Shibori (Japanese) and Shisha (India) and other techniques that are traditionally associated with a specific culture (see names in parentheses), where I have studies the traditional form, and then moved it to a new and innovative use.

Please do comment as this is an area I would like to continue thinking about.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Working towards a show with Ilse Leader

"Slow-Stitch - Snail Shibori”

Materials: Fabrics, dye, wire.
Techniques incorporate: Shibori and a deep affection for the colour blue.

After encouragement and an invitation from Ilse Leader, I am joining her and showing works in the latter part of July, on Saltspring Island.
Blog link to follow shortly.
This little guy, is based on an amalgamation of memories from diving in the Gulf of Oman, researching the most fabulous of creatures (Nudibranchs) after Foraminifera who as single-celled sure take the biscuit, and walks along the SW shores of England... the Jurassic coast!
It was 'put together' after spending a morning of art-talk with Ilse and finding a light bulb had gone on.

More on this soon.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Teaching at Gulf Island Secondary School

The Gulf Island Secondary School (GISS) has a fabulous reputation... check out District 64's school on Saltspring Island.
I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to teach 3 days this week, during the Flex Period when students get to actually choose what to do.....
After meeting many None-Schooled and Home-Schooled kids recently I have learnt that many people prefer to have their children choose what to study as opposed to study via a hard and fast curriculum. I liked what I heard.
GISS appears to be walking the middle road in this.

My workshop followed on from the lecture "Paper to Puppetry, Shibori just Doesn't Cover It".
I gave a presentation and showed a video on Day 1 and the students had time to create paper arashi shibori sculptures.
Day 2 they formed shibori surfaces in synthetic fabrics and these were steamed.
Day 3 the students took the surfaces and either embellished them with stitch and beading or formed them into three dimensional beings.

It was a pleasure to share my knowledge with these enthusiastic Grade 9-12 students.
Here are some more photos.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Thank you to my dear friend.

What a wonderful gift:-
So excited to discover I had a letter to collect from the Post Office in Fulford.
It was no letter, it was a beautifully packaged selection of silk fabrics from Japan.
The burgundy one is more or less flat.  The orange and red one is still puckered from the tiny little shibori bundles tied prior to dyeing.  And the second parcel is of pieces of fabric, one printed and one ?dyed by a method I do not know.
Lots to learn about, lots to share.
I am teaching a high school class, at Gulf Island Secondary School, next week.
So I will take these fabulous reference materials in for them to share the joy!  and these fabrics will give me so much pleasure from here on in.

Thanks again to you darling people with big hearts.  I mention no names for fear of causing embarrassment, but do not underestimate the gratitude I feel. xx

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Presentation at Mahon Hall

News - Workshop Sold Out
Sorry there are now no places on the workshop.
If you are interested in a subsequent presentation of this workshop please message me.
Looks like it will be repeated, so you too can be there!

Come and hear the presentation (instead).
Saltspring Island - this Thursday evening , 6:30 details below.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Sewing Machine Abuse and How to Stitch in Thin Air

A 3-Day Workshop 
On Saltspring Island, British Columbia
With Karin Millson
This course is suitable for all skill levels

When: April  27, 28 and 29th
Where:  Mahon Hall
Time: 10 – 4  (1 hour lunch break)
Cost: $290 + Booking fees
Materials List will be supplied

Maximum class-size 12

Examples of what you will learn
Have you ever thought :
“How do I get this sewing machine to sew how I want it to?” 
or even, 
“How can a sewing machine sew in space?”

Sign up for this workshop with Karin, and you will learn how to do these things and more. Karin likes to challenge the instruction manual.  She will teach you the rules and then how to wilfully break them.
Judicious use of sewing machine needle types allows challenging threads can be worked concurrently.  Here thick DMC crochet cotton with fine metallic machine hread

Join Karin and you will be able to make your machine stitch in ways you didn't know were possible, with threads that you would have thought were of no use to a sewing machine and on surfaces that one doesn't naturally think of as sewing machine fabric.  You will use the machine as an art tool.
Machine stitching on multiple layers of ironed bubblewrap

One participant’s partner remarked “Honey, I think there is something wrong with your sewing machine” after he was surprised by the textural stitches that had been produced during the class.  

In fact there was nothing wrong with the machine and the course participant was able to make adjustments, at will, to create flat stitches, even stitches and looped stitches in patterns and shapes that were not even in the instruction manual and she could even make stitches in thin air.
And so she had learnt how a sewing machine sews in space.

During the workshop you will also be encouraged to make marks on white fabric in an innovative and non-intimidating way:-
-: and then mimic those shapes, lines and visual textures with the new stitch techniques that you learn.
Black, white and silver drawing, mimicked in varied machine stitchery on organza, paper and metal
with some machining in free space

Do I need to bring my sewing machine? 
Since this class is based heavily on the use of a sewing machine, participants need to bring a machine that is suitable (see below)
Karin has 2 such machines available for use in the class.  Email her at to book one.

Exploiting the possibility of changing tension settings to create looping and dotted stitches

Can my machine do this?

If your machine can do the following it will be suitable, I will teach the less experienced how to do these things:-
The type of machine that is optimum (though others are suitable) for the studies is a basic, mechanical, sewing machine.  The ability to do zig zag, free motion, vary both stitch length and width at will and easily adjust top and bottom tensions (a vertically loaded lower bobbin is usually the best, but other machines can be accommodated) are required.  If you are new to free motion stitching, please contact me (details below).  Even a machine that you think cannot do free motion can usually be given a disguise to make this possible.
There is no need for numerous fancy stitches.
·      The machines will be worked in free motion setting for some of the class.  A suitable foot should be brought to class, or a modification might be possible Karin is happy to discuss this. Karin has several free motion feet for Bernina and Pfaff machines for class use, contact her to book one.
Do I need any previous experience?
Certainly not.
For any other questions contact Karin at to arrange for a chat

Karin is the recipient of a 2018 Saltspring Island Arts Council Grant.

She will bring elements of her current work on an adult puppet show to the workshop to help demonstrate the usefulness of the techniques learnt.
Skeletal creature - machine embroidery in space
Machine embroidery on waxed paper.
Register for the workshop here:-  Follow the instructions to obtain your ticket.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Gone Live

I have just gone live on the Saltspring Arts Council website. Here
And here is a taste:-
Fish Fence Canmore
Karin Millson
Photography Manipulation Image floated on aluminium

Not new work but good to see it again - me thinks!
There are 6 more images on the Arts Council Website

Tuesday, February 6, 2018


This post carries a Parental Guidance Warning.
My latest artwork will go to the gallery tomorrow for display from Friday.
Be at the opening if you can, see previous post for details.

Karin Millson  2018
wood, silk, threads, leather

After “Treasures Hidden in our Pockets: An Easy-to-Understand Sex Guide for Obedient Wives” by Keisai Eisen, mid 1830s  - early 1840s.

Original drawings in public domain in country of origin and where copyright is author’s life plus 100 years or less. {{PD – Japan}} {{PD – Canada}} {{PD -1923}

Ribbon-Rope-Chain is a scroll that the viewer turns to reveal the imagery of the artwork.
It is a 2” thick piece of live-edged wood - beautifully finished/polished etc.
On which are supported two scroll holders.  There is another block of lovely wood over which the parchment is supported.
Wrapped onto the scroll holders is a ‘parchment’ = silk fabric on which I have embroidered the (short) title of the work and accreditation and 5 images from 'guidelines for the obedient wife'.
They are taken from 18th Century Japanese woodcuts by Keisai Eisen, entitled Treasures Hidden in our Pockets: An Easy-to-Understand Sex Guide for Obedient Wives. (The latter information will appear on the label, on the plinth in the gallery).

I have varied thread-thickness to give the character of the line some of my own, subtle, commentary. Also the expressions on the man and woman's faces and their fingers and toes are my own, sometimes comical, stitchery.
I am hoping that Ribbon-Rope-Chain will stimulate some discussion when thinking of The Edo Period's "Floating World" philosophies and  also the current Me Too Movement.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Erotica and Grant

Here is the information I promised :-
Please don't ask me what the photo relates to, but it is what they decided to illustrate the announcement with... maybe the play development with N Meisner... or the Scrooge project.  Well done and good luck to all the other recipients.

My project will allow me to get to Calgary to work with Wendy and reconnect with the hardware of the show EMP, work with her on various items on the To Do list and (even more excitingly) work with a sound engineer on the soundtrack - hence the Create, Compile part - and I will then be able to Ship some of the set pieces to Saltspring Island and Share them with the community via 2 workshops, one in a school, one a 3-day workshop on sewing machine abuse, and two one hour talks about sculpture in textiles and creating part of EMP.  A lot of work lined up for this year!

And another announcement:-
So !excited! to be asked to participate in the SSG's artist collective exhibition.
(I would love to join the group, but haven't the income to support the membership fee!)
Thanks to Cinda Helm  for inviting me - it is quite out of my comfort zone. I’ll post a photo of my piece when it is complete. It is rather more erotic, I think, than this tame miniature yet,  truly charming, oil painting.
Wish you could be at the opening!