Tabula Memoria journal available, and residency exhibit news

If you are interested in process, rather than project, the journal that accompanies “Tabula Memoria” is available through Blurb now. This was as much a labour of love as the actual work was, and i’m quite proud of it. The print quality is fantastic, and i am liking the response from the few who have seen it “in the flesh”. It’s a bit chatty, but that was part of the point as well!

The actual link is here, because clicking on the photo below takes you to only the preview, with a bit of a counter-intuitive search for the information!


I have yet to figure out the PDF conversion so at the moment, it’s only available as an actual Real Book. I also have not jacked the price very much above the base price, as i’d rather more be able to add it to their libraries! (And remember, the price is in CANADIAN DOLLARS.)

With the timeframe i’d had left to get work done for the end of residency show, i decided instead that since the owner of this work isn’t picking it up until near the end of September, that i could show this instead. Created with fabrics during my 2016 residency, and worked on during the 2017 residency, it suits perfectly in that respect as work done DURING res (because i have seen work in those shows that had nothing to do with res…which kind of defeats the purpose of the exhibition IMHO), and also, as celebrating 10 years of Contextural, it was a perfect opportunity for me to see and show how *i* have evolved in 10 years. (Though i have been a member for only 8!)

To show the scale, i gritted my teeth and had my photo taken with it, hanging at the 371 Gallery at the Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD). I really don’t like getting my picture taken anymore, because it reminds me i am no longer a sweet young thing (yes, i was, a long time ago, and sometimes still, inside ๐Ÿ™‚ ), but it *is* important that people see the Actual Real Artist on occasion!

If you are in or near Calgary, Alberta, or are visiting, the exhibition is up, ready for you view it. The Closing Reception is Thursday, September 14th but you can come into ACAD’s public areas and take it in anytime daily until then between 8am – 8pm, weekends too. Remember to check the two areas – the Main Mall and Room 371. I don’t know at this point if i will be at the closing reception, but who knows?

“You’re doing it all wrong”

Brain farts. Can be good, can be bad, sometimes brilliant, sometimes SO SO SO stoopid……….

Why re-invent the wheel?

Though i will still be using the procion dyes, i decided this project NEEDS fabrics created during my summer residency at ACAD.ย  My evening’s “celebration” includes a glass of good wine, a cheesy action movie and the first 8″ stitched of a large commission that will take most of my next year! So, happy new one to every and all.



push pull

There are no machine made nodules, no “dimension” beyond the tactility of the stitching, but elements of my overly ambitious plans for something else have crept in and settled comfortably.

To hell with “Concept” as i said in an earlier post. I’m tired of trying to write statements that explain WHY i did something, especially when a well written tailoring can adapt almost any piece to any show. Concept can be in the eye of the beholder as well, right? As we develop our style, our voice, whatever you want to label it, certain truths and ideas, interpretations become self evident don’t they. (Not a question, a fact.)

se contextural

When you make 8 pages of notes and sketches, and still can’t quite “git ‘er done”, it’s not the right time for that CONCEPT.

So, this then is the piece i will be exhibiting. Finally titled also as “Original Truths”, since i went back to what i love and love doing. No influence from anything else, any other artist, just me. This *is* me on the other side of the mirror. I’ve heard it said that when an artist draws faces, unless in a deliberate style, that elements of their own face, or their internal guise, are more evident, so though i’m not completely sure what this says about myself, other than the feeling that i have always felt alien, outsider, misfit, stranger in a strange land.

Though most of it is done, there’s something missing. I shall have to pin it up and stare at it for awhile.

OT aug 16 almost done

I need to pull some of the starker white to the left top somehow, but how? Not more hexes, too heavy handed then.

It’s also been a bitch to photograph—-i need that perfect afternoon light, because otherwise there is too much yellow imparted to the golds and browns in this. I’m happy with the detail shots, but the whole, not so much. Since it *is* not quite done though, i’ll worry about that later. The detail shots are good enough to submit to the show organizer.

OT aug 16 detail 1

OT aug 16 detail 2

There are 12 days until the exhibit gets set up, so hopefully i can finalize a solution to what’s missing, execute it, and photograph the whole properly.

place your hexes

Subject to change without notification, but i am betting this will be the most likely configuration.

from behind the mirror a CAnd i’m having a terrible time photographing things this last week–the weather has been strange with dark moody skies and then a burst of blinding sun, and then thundercracks and lightening!

Doing some natural dye experimenting as well. I gathered dock (Rumex) seed stalks, after seeing the results someone else did in a REPUTABLE, SCIENTIFIC, FACT BASED FB group. Currently these are in various vessels with different modifiers and mordants.

fresh dock seedsFresh above, dried and drying below.

dry and drying dock seedThough someone else with 40 years of natural dye experience got a range of colours from yellow green and brown to red and orange, i’m getting some glorious shades ofย ย ย  ————————— ——————— ย  yellow again………..but i like yellow now, and the more threads i have in the arsenal, and to over dye, the better my thread stash looks. Could be the season, could be the weather, could be the soil, could be the stage of growth, everyone gets different results with some things. My rhubarb root dye pot gave me the most luminescent glowing gold threads that i had to try these, and there were good results from burdock as well, but i can find no roots due to recent “herbicide” spraydowns. The bastards.

And why am i harping on PROVEN DYE methods again???? Because this kind of crap is still around:

gag me with a spoon full of stoopidThere’s a whole chunk of “dyes” listed for various colours (some are REALLY dumb…), but ANY site that immediately tells me i can use SALT and VINEGAR as a MORDANT or “fixative”, is IMMEDIATELY scoffed at by true natural dyers. Do a little research. (For one thing, vinegar is a MODIFIER, (and a Ph adjuster)not a mordant. Go look up the definition of mordant, you idiots.) Just because this is “Pioneer Thinking” doesn’t mean it’s true. “Pioneer thinking” also includes a hell of a lot of old wives’ tales. There are SO many good books, fantastic teachers and methodology sites, there’s no excuse for this ignorance. Stop perpetuating it, UNexperts……………

Back to regularly scheduled stitching again while things stew and rest.


res day two: nature and/vs technology

I had this bright, ambitious idea while playing with Dreamscope, to build some fabrics reflecting the different effects a photo editing application can have on a particular design. Since i make specific designs anyways whether i ecoprint or rust, it’s a natural progression in my mind. My hand drawn sketches are at best thumbnails and notes, (my handwriting is very difficult to read after 39+ years of taking orders over the phone that had to be done fast so as not to piss off the sender….) but sometimes they’re so obscure even to me, that developing some 21st century skills felt right.

I initially had plans first for this one.


res 2016 challenge

rebar 1

Still going to try it, as i envisioned it in piecing, and the photo of the fabric directly above this paragraph will come into play there,but i thought i’d best start with an easier task in designing the “base”.

ink face plansMy first try sucked.ย  I gave up half way through and this is the miserable result:

bad wiring

Trying to get the wire on to begin with was a bitch, trying to get it off is even worse!!!!!!!!!

The second experiment with the addition of a circle/moon. Kind of wishy-washy, but a start.

first facesThen i i knew what i wanted to do and how.

tr 1

atlan face 1

face doubles C

It’s quite satisfying to take old work and put a new spin on it, in a style that has developed over the years since first creating this one. It was made 10 years ago, in my “burning, machine-stitch-only- ’cause-handwork-is-tedious-and-not-artistic, use lots of glitz” phase. I pooh-poohed digital manipulation a long time too as it seemed like “cheating”, but hey, it’s just another tool. The original designs are mine after all, and if i had the skill to paint them by hand, would it have been any more “pure”? The initial work took a long time, the manipulation a very short instant gratification app online, the natural processes took overnight to react, and then the stitching will take a lot of time, so how can this not be hand-made, hand created, mindful, deliberate, satisfying? Working this way to me is like prepping a canvas: lay the base layer of primer, the first jots of colour and then interpret and extrapolate your subject.


res day one

After a week of thinking and being at the Day Job after the May 29th orientation at ACAD, i finally got in to the school and some WORK done! I know some of my compatriots have already done HUGE amounts of their particular practice (and no, it isn’t a competitive sport, so don’t get me wrong), but hopefully this week, i’ll have something to show i’m doing something too. Day one was yesterday, because as i mentioned yesterday, results are always seen the next day ๐Ÿ™‚

The major benefit of this residency is the space available. I could set up in my backyard in the summer–and have in some years—but the fact that i don’t have to battle with breezes, bird poop and not enough flat surfaces, is a real treat! And the school has some fascinating well rusted metal bits donated by various other studio practices in the annex ๐Ÿ™‚ For the second time ever, i had company in that studio as well, so the time passed quickly with good conversation, and shared bitching about the heat ๐Ÿ™‚ I find it very hard to concentrate if it’s too hot. When it’s cold you can always put another layer on, but if it’s too hot, you can’t take your skin off!

I’m not going to show you but one piece today. Not because i haven’t good results to show, but because i am so pooped from the heat, that i didn’t take the time to photograph all, or well.

feather C

I’ll be offering the feathers again in my shop, sometime next week probably, after they have “ripened” and been washed and pressed.

I am VERY happy with the pieces i have slated for my self given challenge, and will definitely be using one (or several) in the residency end exhibition “Self Edge”.ย  I realized half way through the day though that i need to stop making them–how many faces do i need?????


the waiting is the hardest part

Day one, Res 2016

Speed Bump by Dave Coverly

Speed Bump by Dave Coverly

Sweltering heat in the dye studio, none of the windows are openable. (WHO designed the gawddamned place anyways??????????? NONE) I managed three hours in there and melting, decide to come home. Day one is always a waiting game anyways as natural processes do what they will.

I brought one thing home with me to speed up the experiment, and all i will say about that is NEVER lick the end of a metal thread when trying to load the needle. I’m not so hip as to want a pierced tongue.

And i have to pass by the cowboy’s ass again everyday……………………

Ha, made ya look.