Sunday, August 17, 2014

How Art May Come Into the World

A new piece has begun. Several months ago, Chris of Words In Edgewise was meditating, and the phrase, "The kingdom of heaven is within you" came to her, along with the idea that she might commission me to stitch it on cloth. I loved the idea, and was honoured to accept, but with trying to finish the Wheel of Life piece and packing and unpacking I have taken a long time to get going on it.

But now it is top priority. I auditioned several pieces of vintage linen and settled on the one you see above, a drawn thread table runner in a beautiful crisp off-white linen. As is my usual practice, I played with the line of text in various fonts in Word, ultimately choosing Gabriola, mostly because it was so elegant and flowing, but also because it was named for the island I live on. Chris was in on all these decisions - even though she said she trusted me, I like to think of a commission as a co-creation, and hope that ultimately the finished piece will be more meaningful to the owner because they know what went into it.

So here you see the text pinned into place on the cloth, ready for tracing. The cloth is 16" high and 50" long - quite long - but the floral drawn thread work brings the eye closer to the centre, and the scalloped edge softens the severe proportions. It almost looks like a cloud, or a thought bubble.

Now, to choose the colour of embroidery thread. I am tempted to work white-on-white, but even with the dimensionality of the stitching, fear it may be too subtle. I am sure it will be a light tint of some hue, though, a darker shade would be too slogan-ish. I will get out my tote of floss and thread, and look forward to spending some time out on the deck choosing just the right one.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Photo Fest

Dome Interior, by famous post-modernist Geoff Wahl

Giddy Gardener, by famous portraitist Arnie Magus

SuperMoonForest, by famous compositionalist Rolf Gibbousson
His'n'Hers, by Me

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

I Like....

Wendy van Riesen © Copyright (c) Postmedia Network Inc.
 Vancouver's Wendy van Reisen of Dahlia Drive Designs has written a wonderful description of making curtains for her sailboat. Her website is pretty cool too.

I met Wendy when I produced the first Vancouver Swap-O-Rama-Rama, many years ago. Her clothing is amazingly creative and very beautiful. Here's what she says about herself on her website:

Many things inspire me. The ones that stick, that beckon me to reinterpret and transform them, are transitory in nature. I delight in and hold a tight fisted fear of evolution; embracing change but fearing the absolutes that accompany it: life/ death, value/ inconsequence, messy/ clean, beautiful/ugly. My theatre background houses this process as an ongoing quest, a splash between the brackets, where I endeavour to live life as it reveals itself to me and continues its spin into the world.


1. Respect for the environment: The most important value is to conserve waste by transforming what we already have before creating more.
2. Art is affordable: The second-place value is to make art and art design on clothing available to consumers who want it.
3. All women’s bodies are beautiful: The third-place value is to create clothing that celebrates all shapes and sizes of the female form.
4. Integrity: The fourth-place value indicates Dahlia Drive’s aspiration to create quality fashion that is based on conservation ethics and principles.
5. Vision: The fifth-place value is to print images and textures on slips which reflect the beauty of the female form while implying the inherent value of what lies beneath and above the simple layer.

The Simple Life

Hey there, sorry I haven't been around for awhile. I'd ask you in for tea, but unpacking has been very slow going. Frankly, I am quite tempted to just take the boxes directly to the recycling centre - Do Not Unpack, Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200. It's either that or a big yard sale. We'll throw in a tour of the Dome for anyone who spends over twenty bucks.

Moving always brings me uncomfortably face-to-face with my stuff. No matter how much I try to downsize, there I am, trying to find places to put crap (which was considered, before the move, to be valuable art supplies). Do I seriously think I will get back into silkscreening after 25 years away from it? Would my life be changed in any way by getting rid of this box of squeegees, or that carton of doll-making supplies, or this veritable crate of small bits of cloth that might be useful some day?

At this point I would happily join some sort of benign cult that only allowed me to own a bowl, a spoon, and a muumuu. I could then spend the rest of my life clearing out the mental vaults, which, believe me, are far more cluttered and cobwebbed than any house I have ever lived in.

Blissful as that sounds, I fear that I am not quite ready to let go. But I do realize that sometime in every move, there is a point where I must confront the gap between who I imagine I might be, and reality. There may be a few tears, but this time, for sure, I will accept the limitations of both my [storage] space and my [days left on this earthly realm x number of projects hoped to accomplish] time.

And I will whittle away at the stuff until I am left with one bowl, one spoon, and maybe just one tiny basket of sewing materials that can easily be hidden under the muumuu.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Home in the Dome

This is the only spot in the house that isn't stacked with boxes.
We're in. And absolutely exhausted. I was shampooing the carpets at the old house last night at 10 p.m.. Now I am sitting on the deck at the dome enjoying the cool breeze and vowing to relax for at least ten minutes. That's it, I can't think of a single interesting thing to say. My brain must still be at the old place.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Notes on The Tour

Hello, hello. Welcome to the Summer Breeze Art Tour. Never mind the dogs barking, just come on in.
We have set it up as sort of a mini-retrospective. The main thing that ties everything together is that I like to work with old cloth. This quilt is made out of linen shirts and pants I found at the Lasqueti Free Store.
And these pieces are all made with antique Japanese fabric that layered and worked into, sort of a Canadian-Japanese co-creation.
The painting of a flying Afghani carpet is one of a series I did during the second Gulf War.
If you stand the middle of the living room, you can see the pieces from the Codex Canadensis that I have been working on for the past two and a half years. Yes, I seem to have developed a certain amount of patience.
Over here is the Sampler Room. I have worked with the idea of the traditional sampler for a long time.
These pieces are part of a series I began after a serious bike accident, when I was thinking a lot about fate and infinity, you know, those larger-than-life kind of issues.
And I made this tablecloth after ending a particularly bad relationship. A lot of people seem to be able to relate.
And James's work is upstairs...

Thanks so much for coming by.
  • Total number of visitors: 16
  • Number of visitors we had never met before: 5
  • Number of works sold: 0
  • Cost to participate: $95
Was it worth it? Well, I met some lovely people and because it wasn't busy was able to have some really nice conversations. We weren't expecting to sell anything, and in fact seriously considered bailing on the whole thing, since the event seemed to be minimally advertised and we were the only studio in our neighbourhood. Trying to pull this off while in the midst of moving was completely insane.

But it was kind of satisfying to see our work up on the walls and the house clean for once!
The Thanksgiving Tour will be much better.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

One Thing I Know For Sure...

...nothing beats linen pajamas in the summer. Especially if you are a middle-aged woman. I was lucky enough to pick up a Magnolia Pearl nightshirt at Shelagh Rogers's* yard sale last summer, and believe me, it has been a miracle.

* Shelagh lives on the island. Just down the hill. I'm not supposed to tell.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


I'm too busy to blog these days. But the garden still needs to be watered, and some pretty flowers begged to be photographed. In all their natural and un-Photoshopped glory, I give you:
 A hydrangea.
 A poppy.
Another poppy.