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Category Archives: in progress

even greater distances

I don’t know how many textile artists work, when out of the public eye on blog, Instagram and FB, but me, i keep files and a private blog for ideas, sketches, colour and fabric combos, inspiration and possibles. Though little was “accomplished” this year, i’m happy with the results, and the dye play i’ve been doing, BUT i found myself this morning opening a new file and category for “WORK 2018”.

A LOT of the 2017 notes are archived already. Some are switched to the 2018, and a LOT MORE deleted.

I love the little moon series i’ve created over the last two years, and intend to make many more, however i also need to get back to the larger works as well. “Samara” will be one of them, and after seeing her in the sun yesterday, i pulled a bunch of these naturally dyed fabrics.

They may not all get used here, but given the initially planned harder look, i think this is more on track with what she’s saying, softer, still strongly feminine, but with a more “fertile” approach. I want her wings to be more inviting, enveloping, brilliant even. Autumn after all is not just a time of endings, but of rich harvests and warm gatherings. I do need however more autumnal colours so into the dyepots again with some of these scraps.

For other work i’ve wanted to do, i guess i will be making larger pieces of the potassium permanganate dyed cottons after all. I must have cut up the piece i did during residency, thinking it was a “fail”, a lesson learned: leave it alone and the time will come as it needs to!

While digging around in the actual fabrics i still have, i found this, and am thinking to use it as a “marker” for a new series with the PP.

It’s snow dyed, with Procion, but that doesn’t matter. In the grand scheme of things, colour is colour. And the texture of this old rayon velvet is freekin’ awesome. It’s vintage, at least 20 years old and at a yard and a half, is plenty to incorporate into this dreamed of work.

Another week of dyeing, and i figure i will have enough of threads and cloth to “share” and to use.

 

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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 🙂 ), 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?

 

the “Tabula Memoria” journal

Whoa! It’s a good thing that Blurb has easy to follow parameters and diagrams, and a better thing that i was able to bring into play old layout skills i learned in my teens!

I finished this on Aug 13th, and immediately ordered two copies: one for me, and one for the person who commissioned the work. Had to hold my breath until the 24th of August (Actually arrived on the 21st!) ) to have them in my hands, but OH OH OH, i’m so glad i did this.

Right from the beginning, i had all the digital originals in backed up files, and the physical sampling, writing and sketches in a distinct studio folder. The first time i tried to “make book”, i had no idea what i was doing, and tried to upload small photos with low resolution. (KEEP YOUR ORIGINALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And make sure they are properly edited and presented, none of this “there’s my 3 feet of floor around the 1 foot sized piece…. ) Figuring out the layout, the order, and the relevance of specific things for that endeavour was a nightmare, as i hadn’t documented as i went along. I also didn’t hit “save as” when i should have, and that book is gone, except for a few screenshots!

You *have* to pay attention to details, when self publishing. Unless you have a trusted, erudite, educated and very literate friend to proofread for you, trust the guides they give you!

In my mid teens, i worked for a small Canadian “literary” magazine in Guelph, Ontario, and one of my many jobs was actual layout of photos and text. Those were the days when it was “physical” work, printouts that had to be manually manipulated and then pasted down to a master sheet. While i had naive dreams then of being a poet, i never actually thought i could do my own books, never mind have them printed. The exception is a slim “chapbook” of poetry, published by a small London Ontario press, in 1978. “Tiger of a Different Colour” does have an ISBN though 🙂  (That little magazine converted to Communism, and fired me when i wouldn’t go to Ottawa and participate in a possibly dangerous and illegal protest, risking arrest and jail! I was 16 and incredibly innocent, but i wasn’t STOOPID.) Edit: an hour after, i still have *most* of the work that was to be featured in that first book–i *can* rephotograph!

 

 

 

Now i’m thinking i really want to do a How To book after all, possibly from the FrankenStitch classes i have taught online.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2017 in Commission, Tabula Memoria

 

the wings of possibility

Rarely are things set in stone here in the Stately Barr Manor Studio. Evolution, the Baby,  and tossing out part of the bathwater is part of the game as well, to mix several metaphors…….

Samara’s wings aren’t exactly what i’d call problematic, but with a clear vision in mind that somehow isn’t getting to the actual execution, it appears that the plan has to be changed somewhat. When i started her wings, the “feathers” were like this:

Not quite what i wanted, though i like them, so i started these:

Ha, still not quite what i wanted, so i’m going to combine the ideas. I also like both fabrics i used, so redrawing the pattern is also going to have to take into account the placement of both to present an integrated it-makes-sense design.

And no res exhibit for me after all. There is no way human for me to even get enough done to vaguely represent what the whole will be. I can live with that, studio work being the more pleasant result than forcing a deadline.

 

 

 

progress on Samara

A samara is a winged nut or achene containing one seed (ash and maple for example, though there are many others that are unfamiliar and unexpected shapes), and it’s also a feminine name of Hebrew origin, meaning “Guardian” (or protected by God). I don’t believe in God/*A* god, but i do believe that Mother Nature is a powerful force, one i hold with reverence and fear equally. (The Calgary flood in 2013 shaped a lot of my attitudes to my art and to my environs.)

 

I digitally manipulated my own photo to get these colours, more suited to the work than the original:

And though i don’t think i have quite enough naturally dyed threads, i have some that will work, and will couple nicely with the commercial ones i’ve already used on the body. (If i had known i would get that far with dyeing my own threads, they’d all be used, but c’est la vie: it doesn’t bastardize the idea, so i carry on with both for this piece. I ain’t such a purist that one is better than the other.)

Originally i had deliberately created “filler fabrics”, small motifs with clearer imprints, but now i’ve found this chunk, and fell in love with it. There’s *just* enough to use for both wings! (The main fabric she’s on now, and this, were all created during my 2016 residency.)

This doesn’t look like wings (yet), but when you see how they come together, it will make sense in the grand scheme of concept 🙂 While i know i won’t “finish” the piece in time for my deadline, these are portable enough and easy enough as i go along, that i may have enough progress to make it worthwhile showing an “incomplete” work.

I’m excited again about working in the studio. That’s more important than a deadline.

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On a side note, since this post is *sort of* about this summer’s residency, i’m pretty sure this is my last one. As much as i loved having the space to spread out, with ACAD having fixed the air conditioning (!) in the dye studio, it means there’s not the right environ now for that wonderful process that occurs between iron and oxidization. It’s not something you can force, and waiting for days instead of overnight is neither productive, nor satisfying. And honestly, since most of the results go into my commerce site (which essentially “pays” for my residency, and sometimes gives me a little “gravy”), i might as well be doing it at home. I’ll be back to fighting with the wind, shooing birds away so they don’t make deposits, chasing squirrels so they don’t borgle everything up as they try to build their stash (HEY, that’s MY stash!), but wth, the backyard is very hot and sunny this summer, so, wth again.

The last couple of years too, some have been been very lax about the security of the home studio. Sitting across the hall with the doors open, does NOT give a clear view of who’s going into the home studio, often people who do not have any clearance to do so. And anyone who is to lazy to spin the numbers on the combination either, after shutting the door, is really an ASSHAT, because this week i discovered that someone had gotten in, and rifled through my suitcase of supplies…..buried at the bottom were two Maiwa dyes that are now missing. (I refuse to believe that it’s any Contextural member, as i know *most* of them.) I’m out $73 bucks there, plus the shipping……thanks.

This all being said, i have decided to buy my own potassium permanganate (expensive initially, but not with “cost per wear”), build my own steamer with parts and pieces i already have, and as i mentioned, set up in the backyard again.

Of course, now the damned weather will turn again…………………………

 

 
 

i *can* “just can’t do it”

SIGH. Well, chalk it up to “know your limitations”, whether they’re skill set or interest.

I’m sure you’re all tired–hell, I’M tired, of all the blah blah about the end of res exhibit. *Nothing* i’ve pulled has really got the crank turned, even with the possibility of using the recent naturally dyed threads. And since we’re now down to 18 days until the show is hung, well, whatever……………..

SO, instead of beating myself up, and worrying about what i might Finish (in 18 days??? yeah, right…) , i’m going back to this:

Started last year, however much i get done on her will be my goal, and that’s good enough. She may have to be hung “creatively”!

Her body is almost done, though who knows what else may happen on those large alabaster thighs 🙂 ?

I’m going to be doing her wings similarly to what i did on “Strange Soul Take Flight” (left), and “The Weight She Carries” (right), but not so slavishly that i’d be repeating myself.

Yeah, yeah, what will be, will be.

 

making book

A real learning curve! I tried several years ago to do a Blurb book, but got so bogged down that it’s still sidelined.

However, i’m older and smarter now :), and have more patience and persistence, so i go i go i go–for hours, working on the accompanying journal for “Tabula Memoria”.

I knew from the beginning of this project that i didn’t want to send off a haphazard accumulation of the writing, sketches and samples i did as i went along, that it had to be something that would last, possibly be passed on (to “heirs”?), and that looked professional. From the start of this to the end, i kept a separate file for the physical work (said writing, sketches, samples) and a digital one with folders and sub folders (and sub sub folders….!), planning somehow to collate and correlate at the end.

Once you learn the program, it *is* easy. The hard part is picking and choosing what truly is relevant, deciding what should be featured and what is less “interesting”, writing coherently and in a timeframe sense for each photo, and then deciding how many pages really are needed.

From the initial query from Mr X, to the first concept scribblings, through process and progress, thoughts, changes, references and honestly some blah-blah, i’m up to 45 pages, with only a few left to do. You have to know when to stop too! There could always be another book for the “extras”, incorporated for a “how to” maybe…..

And maybe, just maybe, i’ll finish that first one, because there are others i’d like to do too.