Saturday, September 29, 2007

Inspiration and Healing

Since I haven't been able to make stuff myself, I thought I would introduce you to another person who has been a source of inspiration to me throughout our long friendship. May I present Jean Pierre Antonio, artist, teacher and exemplary human being.

J.P. took the above photo this summer as he travelled near his home in Japan. This image resonates deeply within me - the clear green water, the not-quite-straight path leading to another place, mysterious and inviting, tranquil and restorative. This image has become my mental "happy place" slide that I slip into place when I have been having flashbacks of my accident or in other moments of anxiety. J.P. has given me many gifts over the years, but this one is very special.

J.P. has taught English in Japan for over 15 years, but before that he lived in Toronto, which is where we met. My most treasured memory from that time is when J.P. needed to find both a new apartment and another job, but rather than stressing and sitting by the phone he went to the park to lie in the sun. When he returned home there were two messages on his answering machine - one an offer of an apartment, the other a job. I remind myself of this sometimes when I get all worried and wound up about the future - do what J.P. would do - relax.

He throws great informal barbeques and has a wide circle of friends. One might think I was special because of the stream of treasures he sends my way - old kimonos, book, photos, artworks, hand written letters, but he has several friends that he treats just as generously. I think we have all gained an interest, if not love, for all things Japanese through Jean Pierre. He doesn't blog, but I'm hoping he will start posting his photos on Flickr. Share the love, baby!

And I would like to send my gratitude to all the lovely friends and even acquaintances who have sent their kind wishes for my recovery. I am healing on schedule it seems, although I may be in the brace for another two months. I am very lucky.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

For Those Who Might Be Interested...

I have started a new blog focussing on my accident and recovery. It can be found at (Link is over on the sidebar) That way I can keep the tasty fibre stuff in its own gallery, so to speak.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Being Productive

Well, I've had a few brutal days but yesterday saw my beloved Dr. Norrie, the sweetest GP in town, who got my meds sorted and added an antinflamatory that seems to do the trick. Now, instead of lying on the floor moaning pitifully, I may be able to get up and actually do something.

But wait! One of the things I am learning through this injury is that I have a pathetic, perhaps obsessive need to be productive. To legitimize my existence. Why do I look at this time for healing, for rest, to be a wasted opportunity for making things?
Alice, of Lyric Couture and a SORR organizer in New Hampshire sent me a book of her poems and some good thoughts. "It's hard not to feel your life is terribly interrupted and even harder to try to see all this as part OF the life instead, for real, and not in a sappy-fake-spiritual way. Or, more simply, what I mean is, you are not of less value because you are not able to be "productive" or even doing anything."

I don't have any new things to show you, but here's an older piece that was a lot about production. I never felt it was finished - maybe I just didin't know how to stop making tiny invisible stitches.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Another 50 years and the Queen will be sending me cards!

September 15 is my birthday and with the broken neck/back thing highlighting the usual discussion about creeping decrepitude I hestatate to go down that obvious path. But if getting elderly is anything like wearing a full body brace there seem to be few benefits.
Usually I mark my birthday with a ceremonial reading of John Water's 101 Things I Hate and 101 Things I Love, which usually puts me into a suitably feisty mood, and then I tidy the house to clear the way for good feng shui vibes for the coming year. This year I am sorely tempted to put a hex on my next door neighbour, who gave me a nasty look after my dog peed on my own lawn. Friendly neighbour then got out her hose and went to great pains to wash her driveway of any molecules of canine pee that may have crossed the property line.
Ahh, even with a body brace and no front tooth, my life is more fun and glamourous than hers. No hex needed.

Monday, September 10, 2007

My Own Private Braveheart

Here's my handsome Ian off to work this morning. I made his ersatz Utilikilt out of four pairs of old shorts. I'm still working on how Ultilikilt gets that sexy swagger in it's skirts, but this is not bad for a first attempt.
As far as the back and neck go... slowly. Having one's brains addled with opiates, however pleasant, doesn't make for much productivity.. Thank you for all your positive wishes and good thoughts - they really mean a lot to me!

Love to you all xo

Friday, September 07, 2007

Recycling Our Way to Revolution!

Swap-O-Rama-Ramas are springing up all over the place, from Whitehorse, Yukon to Paris, France. If one hasn’t happened in your hometown, there’s likely to be one soon – and if there isn’t one in the works, you’re welcome to organize one yourself! The community clothing swap turned DIY wardrobe re-fashioning event has become a global phenomenon, turning consumers into creators with one fun-filled afternoon after another.

Swap-o-rama-rama (SORR) began two years ago when founder Wendy Tremayne moved the clothing swaps she’d been having in her apartment to a community hall in Brooklyn. Over 500 people showed up, and did more than just trade clothes – they learned to silkscreen, use a serger, make jewelry, alter and redesign their new-found duds into something truly their own.

Since 2005, Swap-O-Rama-Ramas have popped up in more than 50 cities and 5 countries, shared through a Creative Commons license. To be able to use the name, event organizers must promise to include a few essential elements. (Lots of sewing and DIY stations, no mirrors, nothing for sale. A modest entry fee and a bag of clothes get a participant in the door.) Other than these common components, the SORRs are free to reflect the character of each community – from a cosy rural sewing bee to a large urban party with DJs and performance art.

More than recycling (each SORR saves hundreds of pounds of clothing from landfill), the event emphasizes stepping back from habitual consumerism and gives participants the opportunity to experience the joy of making. As Wendy says, “There is no creativity in consumerism. Consumers are largely asked to express themselves by being selectors. Makers don’t make good consumers. The more you know, the more you can make, the less you’re going to buy.”

It can be hard not to be overwhelmed by the temptations of the giant pile of clothes, but Wendy has seen that sooner or later people realize there will always be more. “And not only that, once a person has had the experience of making their own clothes, it changes how they look at the wider world. They start to be aware of how many pesticides are used in growing cotton, and how so much clothing sold in North America is made by indigenous people in third world factories being paid a nickel a day.”

And the outfit a person creates at a Swap-O-Rama-Rama stays in their wardrobe a lot longer too. As Wendy notes: “No one’s kicking to the curb that garment that they spent the whole day having the greatest time making with five of their friends…That’s not going in the trash – that’s hanging around for a good long time.”

Making friends and community building is an aspect of SORR that evolves naturally. The events draw upon the talents of each community. Local reuse designers and artists staff the sewing and workstations. And remember the no mirrors rule? Odd as that might sound, think of how you will know how that fab pink shearling coat you just found looks on you without a mirror – well, you’ll have to ask the person next to you. Before you know it, you’ll be part of a team of personal wardrobe consultants, and by the end of the day may have met many new friends with a shared passion for making stuff.
Wendy’s commitment to re-use has led her to a new project – building an eco resort and retreat centre in New Mexico, using retired shipping containers and papercrete (a mixture of cement and used newspaper) to create the adobe-like structures.
Green Acre has given her a new focus, and she is now sharing Swap-O-Rama-Rama duties with Vancouver artist Heather Cameron. The pair is organizing a SORR as part of Maker Faire in Austin TX this October 20 and 21. To take part, or for more information on starting a SORR in your hometown, visit

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Heather is home

On Monday I received a suprise call from Heather telling me she was on her way home. Luckily my good friend Bodie [drummer from my band] was already there visiting and had her home within the hour she was home.

Heather is still spending lots of time in bed resting, however she is getting more and more active as time goes on. She expects to be in the back brace for at least a month or more.

She did try and sit on the computer for a while but ended up writing jibberish, possibly due to the pain killers :-)

Thank you for all your comments, good wishes and prayers - I printed them out and gave them to Heather.