Monday, December 31, 2012

Ending 2012 doing something scary and difficult....

This fearful situation was inevitable.
I have a submission to make and it requires an 

To date my favorite artist's statement was penned by Krista Wells:

I'm  short,
I hate brussel sprouts.
I make neat stuff.

Who can read that and not laugh and appreciate Krista's sense of humour, creativity and courageous non conformist attitude? She's got spunk! I read a lot of artists, statements over the last few days and many are breathtakingly poetic. Others are, to be polite, absolute overly pretentious rubbish.

Facebook friends were wonderful when I sent a grumpy pre-writing post  bemoaning my status. Cindy Mersky directed me to a well named website at Artybollocks where you can generate hilariously overblown artists statements for t-shirts. Christine Dumont directed me to a terrific post on How to Write an Artists Statement that Doesn't Suck. This was much appreciated as I debated how many adjectives to include or delete.

I find it enormously difficult to take something like art making which to me is like breathing or eating- a basic reflex, and devise a complicated explanation explaining why I do it. I decided to use the basic rule suggested for anyone facing a writing project- write what you know. My work does not have an intent to prophesise doom or "juxtapose latent considerations of the differentations between inverted reflective philosophies of benign consciousness  or any other indecipherable intent. It explores texture, simple forms and connections in construction. It is influenced by my environment in its components and theme. If people say it makes them feel happy then all is well. If they say they could make something similar- let them try. I do admit that lately I've been  trying very hard to make pieces that won't be called whimsical or much worse- cute. Absolutely foremost in my objective was to avoid being pretentious or attempt to make my work appear to be designed to have any earth shattering philosophy behind it. If someone thinks it does they can tell me all about it! 
' My favourite artists statements included a consideration of their life experience and made associations from childhood up to the present and I decided to use that opening format My friend Georgia Ferrell stepped up as a real time editor via skype and gave feedback as I worked. Here are some of the the suggestions that she gave that made me appreciate her help-and humour!

"you don't really want to sound like you should have been a psychologist
 or a Jungian
maybe you do..."


just remember it isn't what you know you mean, but what the reader understands"

Iggy and I
It was a fascinating project. The stipulations on the organisation requesting the statement threw me a bit of a curve when I realized that they required information that had previously been in a long biography requested by a different group so I ended up doing a lot of re-writing one some things and starting fresh on much more. I actually ended up with two statements- one pared down and zen like that will work wonderfully on cards and labels- the second which is more detailed will be used for proposals.

What a good way to end the year! 

Stay tuned for the final reveal and- 
I wish you all a VERY HAPPY 2013!!!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Gift for Winter Solstice

As we are battered by bitter winter winds that power penetrating rain with streaks of slushy snow I have a gentle offering penned by Vancouver Island poet Leanne Boschman.  I found this in the Times Colonist a few years ago and as years went by I meant to post it here to celebrate the Solstice but managed to remember too late. I filed the clipping properly this time around and somehow it seems particularily appropriate this year to be able to offer poetic comfort in these hurtful days as we draw ourselves closer to home and those we love and let the season draw to its cold conclusion.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Salt Spring Island Basketry Guild Window Display

 If you are lucky enough to be on Salt Spring Island through the holiday season take a stroll up to the vacated Marks Work Warehouse window to see the stunning display of the Salt Spring Basketry Guild. It was put together on short notice and features the work of Donna Cochran, Joan Carrigan, Heather Martin McNab, Susan Brown, Melanie Thompson, Debbie Magnusson and Judy Goodman .

The Guild is on track for a Guild Show in 2013 - if this is what this guild can do on short notice, the Show is going to be remarkable.

 The Salt Spring Guild generously welcomes new members such as myself from "off-island".

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Polymer Clay and Kelp... continued

Things have been moving slowly here post-Oz. This week I FINALLY got the kelp soaking and made a few baskets. I used polymer clay bead accents in this wall hanging basket. 
I have to say that I especially love making baskets that go on the wall- they are more decorative than functional but there's something about using a wall as a space to accentuate the lines and the use of gravity to affect the composition that tweaks my imagination.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Back from OZ!

I'm home again after two weeks in Australia!

Melbourne- the Yarra River
We arrived in Melbourne just in time to turn on the TV to watch the Melbourne Cup (The Race that stops a Nation ) then head to a sidewalk cafe to watch the fashionistas strut their post race  fascinator bedecked selves on stunning but increasingly wobbly high heels. It is hard to pull off an outfit while limping with tissue paper sticking out of the heels of your Jimmy Choos.
A fascinator is a "must have" in Melbourne!
Only Australia can take the sport of horse racing and spin the accompanying fashions into a competitor sport! There are fashion competitions on race day! The tabloids are filled with salacious gossip about competing milliners.  It's all about the hats and everyone wears them with panache!! I think there was some betting going on here and there too- what a sports mad country!
My husband and I at a Melbourne Dinner Party...fascinator locked and loaded.

 We love Melbourne with it's mix of old buildings and cutting edge new millenium architecture. The innovative repurposing of dreary old lanes to create fabulous areas to shop, make art, drink coffee, eat, see and be seen is a major part of the culture of the city .
I took this photo outside a Melbourne Shop, the "doll" in the background
 was a little girl dancing in the store.
It was pure luck to catch her.
After Melbourne we took a circular route along the Great Ocean Road to Apollo Bay and continued 

to Port Fairy pausing to see wild koalas in gum trees and kangaroos in a volcanic crater before heading inland through Hall's Gap and Ballarat in the Grampion Mountains and back to Melbourne through rolling wine country and Daylesford with its beautiful Convent Gallery

 From Melbourne we took a sleeper car in a night train (which was underwhelming in its romanticism)  to Sydney where we were dumped with a monsoon that soaked us to the core. Our first views of the harbour and Opera House were quite soggy! 

I was too cold, wet and miserable to attempt to take an artsy shot of my first view of the Opera House.
I had packed for Australia, not the west Coast of Canada!
The Medusa Hotel  was a lovely refuge for warming up and getting our bearings. It was also a feast for the eyes for anyone with a passion for colour !

...and speaking of colour, don't get me started on the flora!! 

When the rain stopped we enjoyed our days in Sydney- particularly the galleries, gardens and weekend craft markets in Paddington and The Rocks and a  beautiful afternoon at Bondi Beach where the ocean is a riveting shade of blue and most bodies are buff and if they aren't no one seems to care.

Sun bathers and surfers- Bondi Beach
Art? Oh yes!! I saw lots of terrific galleries through the entire trip and the Aboriginal art was joyful and inspiring. here are a few venues and items that got me of my favorites was the breathtaking Aboriginal Gallery at the Rocks in Sydney.

I loved the woven willow house  "Ballroom" by Patrick Dougherty which is on display at Federation Square in Melbourne.

Woven wire at The convent Gallery- Daylesford

Figurative sculpture- Daylesford

...window shopping in Sydney

On Monday the 19th our flight left Sydney at noon and arrived in Vancouver at 7:30 am on Monday the 19th so if I'm a bit confused these days that may explain why! I took heed of the stern reminder that this kangaroo gave me as we headed to the Air Canada Gate to head home to begin preparing for the Christmas festivities!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Interested in Basketry?

If you are interested in Basketry or know anyone else who might be I highly recommend the Northwest Basket Weavers Spring Retreat. Registration is open as of today!  I went last year and had a dizzyingly fantastic learning experience. I see Rae Hunter will be in attendance again offering her Wild Lamp Class which was such a stunning success last year.

If you plan to go let me know- I just sent in my registration!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Three New Muses...

Here is this week's trio of Muses heading up to The Pottery Store in Chemainus. From Left to right- "Celeste" who wears an iridescent feather headdress,  "Shai'Lei has a spiky pine needle hat and Gailea's costume is adorned with burgundy hued huckleberry twigs. They are all about 11 inches tall including millinery.
I'll be heading up island on Friday to deliver them and will pay a visit to Rathtrevor Beach to do some serious beachcombing to get some more head dress combinations.... driftwood, lichen, cedar, kelp....can't wait!
Just had a request for six from Artemesia in Westport Ontario- I'll be busy for another week or so!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Busy Monday!

This has been a very productive day! I made and boxed  eight FuSion Bangles- they are currently my only production item. Then I made the first of my ethn'Zen Series of figurative Sculptures. My plan is to incorporate organic materials in these. This one has a headdress made of huckleberry twigs. 

polymer clay, alcohol inks, huckleberry twigs, 14" tall

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Old Friends- something sort of new

These little beings have been re-appearing in a lot of pieces lately and these three broke free to stand alone. They look like some little characters I used to make many years ago- I recall a spirited discussion many years ago in the Clayamies chat forum as I considered a name for these little ethnically inspired citizens of my imagination and someone suggested "Ethni'Zens".
polymer clay and found organic materials 6 inches tall
They are much more serious and mysterious than my whimsical little Muses. They seem to have a plan so I'll see where they decide to take me...
These three are prototypes- I've got ideas stemming from the suspended vessels and kelp baskets to apply to them. It's going to be a fun week!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Polymer Clay and Kelp- finally!'s a very modest start but here's the first kelp basket with some polymer clay- just a little button but I think it sets off the kelp colours well.
I'm pleased to announce that I have kelp baskets for sale at Artemesia Gallery in Westport Ontario and  at the end of October there will be a nice selection at the Pottery Store in Chemainus BC.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Compu- Archaeology

I was going through some very old documents in my computer and ran into some images of pieces I made in the last century! There are lots of memories with these Secretive Women. It's funny but I'm drawing the most inspiration for my current basketry focus from those funky pre-Muses! 

I always loved this piece and the photo taken by Genevieve Primeau- the starry glint was caused by sunshine on a crystal and was pure serendipity that delighted both of us!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

John Garrett- masterpieces

Visit John Garrett's spectacular website and prepare to have all of your mixed media instincts and aspirations  electro-shocked.  His instinctive applications of found objects to create multi levels of texture and colour have me reaching for my sketchbook. I'm on the constant lookout for a class with him- it would be life-altering.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A HUGE Confidence Boost!

I recently joined the Salt spring Basketry Guild and was able to enter some baskets into the Salt Spring Island Fall Fair. I received the baskets back today and was absolutely thrilled to recieve 2nd and 3rd place ribbons  in the Novice and Contemporary Categories. I took my first ever basketry class around one year ago so along with the two pieces that went into the Sooke Fine Arts Show and sold! 
This is a nice way to complete the cycle.
To be continued.....

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Open Art Surge- An Inclusive Studio for Victoria Youth

The Open Art Surge workshop is opening again at 3:00 pm this Monday. It's in Fernwood and welcomes youth ages 14-25. Participants are able to show their work in associated exhibitions too!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Crocheted Kelp Basket

I was crocheting wire for the suspended vessels so I had to try my hand at crocheting kelp. Here's the result. Kelp is such a fascinating material  to work with. It's very malleable, a lot like clay in the way it can be noodged into position and there are always exciting surprises with colour and extent of shrinkage after the final drying.
I'll be weaving today!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Dried Stash

It's hard to believe that when fresh this kelp filled 6 extra large green garbage bags and would easily have weighed over 100 lbs. After a week of sunshine here's my Galiano Island stash all dried, sorted and ready for rinsing and re-soaking.
My weekend involves basketmaking!