Monday, September 18, 2017
I have been an admirer of Carol Nelson's work with acrylics for some time, so when I found out she was teaching a workshop at the Pacific Northwest School of Art on Whidbey Island, I signed up right away. It was time to learn something new, I thought. My friend Dale MacEwan was keen to take the class too, so we drove down to Coupeville on Wednesday, and then proceeded to immerse ourselves in an alternate universe (acrylic paints instead of textiles), for the next two days.
Am I glad I took part in this class? Yes. It's only by trying new things from time to time that I learn where I truly belong and have firmed up deep inside me what I want to do and how I want to spend my time. And it's good to recognize that skill in any medium doesn't come easily, that it doesn't arrive in a neatly wrapped bundle that you simply unwrap and then produce work just like the people whose work you admire. It all takes time, and practice, and commitment, and the making of many, many not-so-great pieces, before some level of success is achieved. So what did I do when I got home? I finished my latest African collage piece, and I dreamed about creating more trees from my fabrics.
Monday, September 11, 2017
This need to sum up what happened over the summer must date back to those after-the-holidays essays we were required to write every September in elementary school. Or maybe it's that the summer goes by so quickly that I want to capture the memories of those blissfully sunny days before they disappear entirely. Yesterday morning I had to put on my fleece-lined slippers in the coolness of the day, and sitting in my comfy chair, I could hear a flock of Canada geese trying out flying in formation overhead. Certain signs of the change in season. But the summer was a good one - the last week especially, spent at our family cabin on Hornby Island. Two of our four children pictured here,and two of our three grandchildren.
This quilt, with the inner blocks embroidered by two of the women, and borders added by a third was for sale, but hasn't found a home yet. Soon I hope.
Monday, August 21, 2017
This week saw the opening of the Fibre Art Voices (FAV) exhibit at Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery. I have been a member of this small local group of fibre artists for some years, and we've had small exhibits in the past, but this was our first big show. The main focus of the exhibit were the pieces we made for A Fine Line - each of us making one larger piece and two smaller complementary pieces, in which we interpreted the theme in our own individual ways. Here are some of them:
Hennie Aikman, Margaret Kelly, Pippa Moore
And a closer view of mine. I realize now that I am missing a closer photo of Margaret and Hennie's work, and the images I have of Gladys's pieces don't do them justice, but his gives you a sense of the flow around the walls. While the themes varied, the line was continuous - a concept borrowed from a SAQA exhibit whose catalogue had fallen into our hands.
A Fine Line filled two walls of this large and light-filled gallery, while the two remaining walls held work that responded to the theme, Indigo. A few pics of these:
Hennie Aikman, Margaret Kelly, Karrie Phelps, June Boyle, Pippa Moore
Gail Tellett, June Boyle
Gayle Lobban, June Boyle
It was terrific to meet those of you who were able to come to our opening reception yesterday afternoon, but not too late for more of you to visit us in person during this coming week. It's been a terrific experience to mount this exhibition, as well as to share it with the public.
Monday, August 14, 2017
This week, I came home from two weeks of camping and travelling. First I joined a friend in driving the loop from Duncan to Cowichan River and then over what used to be logging roads to Port Renfrew, then south almost as far as Victoria before turning north and homeward again. The weather was glorious, and we camped first by the ocean and then in the rainforest of the west coast of the island.
Look at all the shapes of those leaves. So many in such a small area - all turning their faces up to catch what sunlight they can. Specimens were gathered and pressed and will find their way into my work at some later date.
The fireweed at the side of the road reminded me of my growing up years in Ontario, and that it's now August.
We hiked up into an old growth forest - Avatar Grove - where many of these giants live. Amazing!
Until we came upon this tree, reputed to be the gnarliest tree in Canada, and is found at the end of the trail. Well worth the climb. It was so good to get outside in enjoy these warm summer days, to live simply and to take time to notice the world around us. Good too to be away from the internet, in fact we didn't even have phone reception. I couldn't have been happier. And while I didn't get any work done, I did have some hand-stitching with me, and more importantly, I'm learning not to feel guilty about what I'm not getting done when I have these opportunities. The work was here waiting for me when I got home, and I feel immeasurably energized by all I experienced.
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
I have often included both doors and windows in my quilts - they are such a wonderful metaphor for the path to discovery and adventure. Which door indeed?
Back in my twenties, I spent the better part of a year back-packing around Europe. I didn't have a list of places I must go, destinations that I needed to check off on a list, although I had some notion of what might appeal to me. I headed off from New York city on a Greek freighter, only because I wanted to experience first-hand how big the ocean is. And the only reservation I made for myself in that year was the very first one, in Athens. After that, I chose where I went depending on who I met, and what they told me, and what I discovered on my own. It was a wonderful, wonderful time. Sometimes I stayed in the same place for 2-3 weeks at a time.
Yes, this is me, on the ferry to Mykonos. Where I soon met a fellow Canadian and a Kiwi, who became my travelling companions for a month or so. Where I learned about ancient history for the first time - touching stones that had been carried into place three thousand years before. Where I felt what it's like to run across a bed of sea urchins with bare feet, and then have the caretaker at the youth hostel painstakingly remove them one by one. Where I first tasted baklava. None of these things would have happened if I hadn't chosen the Greek freighter door. I couldn't possibly have guessed at all that would follow that, but that choice, the first of many, led to so many amazing experiences. And so it is, perhaps, with the creative life. We need to make choices about which direction we'll go in. We need to take that risk. And then we can open up to see what happens. How marvelous!
Monday, July 17, 2017
I am only just home from a week of camping.
Beautiful sunshine, and life pared down to its essentials -
a comfy bed, good food, and good company.
Looking through the trees to the lake,
watching the squirrels and listening to the birdsong.
And looking way, way up to the trees whispering overhead.
Collecting new leaves to press, and later to print,
Noticing the dappled light on alders along the shore,
Marvelling at the unique shape, not only of each leaf, but also of each branch.
Taking a little time to hand-stitch an indigo piece in progress,
And to jot down some of my ideas for possible future work, as well as getting back to my early morning journalling practice.
Sometimes I forget how important it is to get outdoors and live amongst the trees for a time.
So sweet. Such a gift. So thankful.