the Mark, the Thread, the Hand at Leighton Art Centre



This is at the Leighton Art Centre, near Millarville, Alberta. Our theme was based on responding or reacting to work done by Barbara Leighton, and Marion Nicoll from the Leighton archives, work done in the 70’s by these two talented artists.

For the contemporary fibre artists of Contextural, the experience of creating fine craft is an important element to understanding it. Our constant experimentation, planning and preparations allow us to rework ideas and techniques โ€“ and โ€œthe hand of the makerโ€ becomes evident in each step along the way. Itโ€™s during this making process that we learn about ourselves, and how to bring out the best in our chosen media. Our time, effort and passion leave a personal mark that is an integral part of our work.

The large piece in the centre of the third photo is a large, graphic batik by Marion, the one that struck me for inspiration. I love that moon and the crackling around it caused by the batik process, and responded to that.

And apparently, though you can’t see them in the photos, there are Red Dots by some of my work, always a lovely thing ๐Ÿ™‚

EDIT: Nice write up by one of the smaller local papers, the Western Wheel. Note though, our group name is “Contextural_ and we are textile artists, not “textural” artists ๐Ÿ™‚ (Though some of us do have more texture in our works…)

Blue Moon, Leighton Suite Blue done

Done. Round and round i went, round and round it goes and glows.

Leighton Blue Moon

Except for the last bits of stretching the smaller moons to canvases, and signing the big moon, i can now say that my Leighton Suite Blue work is DONE.

Leighton Suite Blue

This is the first time i have done a deliberate series, with work based on each previous piece, and the first (and probably only) based on responses to another artist’s work, and i’m pleased with the cohesiveness of the pieces. I don’t know that the original Marion Nicholl work will be visible during the exhibit, but hopefully, there will be some reference to it, so that the audience can see the antiphon i intended. The whole process, in photos, sketches and ramblings can be found here.

With the deadline of July 30th, i’m well ahead of the game, and ready to move on to new work!

the flower moon

Let Pretty be, Let It Be, Let It be……….


flower moon progress

flower moon C

Sixth in the “series”. I have one more to do in this size, and then with a July 30 deadline looming (because those pesky spare five minutes-es are coming fewer and fewer between) MUST get back to the big one.


Had a dream last night about this one and i wasn’t Disturbed by it—- i *have* done “pretty” before and it’s one of my favourite pieces, so blah blah to the Inner Critic.

iw perfect

pretty (6th) moon

Honestly, i struggle with the concept of “Pretty”. Can it still be art? Pretty i suppose is in the mind/eye of the beholder, but i always feel i’m subjugating the subject….

Sometimes things take on a life of their own however. The sixth moon was made yesterday on a rainy day that prevented me from the annual “May Long Weekend” planting marathon, perhaps in direct response TO the weather ๐Ÿ™‚

6 moon progress

Now to find the perfect background.


new moon rising

The fifth in the “series”.

5 moon progressWill finish this one this weekend, no doubt. And there’s a pile still of them to be done!

(You can see the completed to date moons #1, 3 and 4 on my Gallery 2016 page. #2 is still in progress as a much larger piece.)

Leighton lady done

(But still without a name.)

Whilst Greyman and our dear landlord fixed the plumbing in the laundry room, i did my usual “gotta get it done” thing, and switched the tubage on to a really bad “natural disaster/supernatural” Cheesy B movie. Last night’s offering was “Ba’al: The Storm God”, perfect for chortling at and letting the Inner Needle take over.

Leighton unnamed blue lady C

The Inner Needle always knows what it takes and why, so she did end up with a Corona of sorts, a repeat of snowflakey stars, or star flakey snow thingees, which i quite like. The indigo dyed silk thread makes it luminescent enough to be illustrative, but not overpowering. Being as the Milky Way is represented in that shibori-ed swath, and she’s in the mountains, the interpretation works with the sky area.

Leighton unnamed blue lady detail 1 C

Leighton unnamed blue lady detail 2 C


I’ll be re-photographing her this afternoon, as the light between 1 and 3 is perfect to show off true colours and texture.

For a little break now, i’m working on two more small moon pieces, then must get back to the big moon, also untitled! Normally i have a naming choice from three or four phrases that pop into my head while working on something, but not this time. My thesaurus is well thumbed, but nothing’s popping yet. The deadline is July 30th, so hopefully inspiration will come! I’m not a big fan of “Untitled #1/#2/#3 etc” or “Moon #1/#2etc”.


what shall she be named?

The Leighton Lady is almost done, but i hesitate to name her anything yet. She epitomizes not only a response to the response ๐Ÿ™‚ to the original work done by Marian Nicoll at the Leighton Art Centre that inspired me, but also a connection to the earth and river forces that are so important to me. I’m having a hard time articulating what this really means in terms of simple language.

With the Milky Way behind her as so visible in the mountains, trees and roots from the site, and the river below (which is not at that site, but rather near me personally and physically), whatever she is to be Named must contain all that.

Anyhoo, “art speak” and “concept” aside, the last few inches have me in a bit of a dilemma. I completely veto-ed the first idea (done in photo editing, and imagine the white corona is in blue thread!), as trite, “expected” and a little too religion-y for my tastes.

corona or no 1 C


With photo editing again, i added a few of the circles to the right corner. I like the open lighter space around her, but it’s too loose physically, so will have to figure out a way to anchor it without the stitch being obvious, perhaps in the same silk thread used on the figure itself. I’m also going to remove that semi circle on her left shoulder, as it just looks wrong.

figure head idea 1 C

Here she is in her almost finished entirety.

whole figure may be end treatment may9 C

When stretched on her 24×9″ canvas, some of the stitched edges will wrap around the sides and back. I hate blank edges when i use this method to “present”–painters do this if they care, so why wouldn’t i?