Ephemeral Objects

Yesterday I went to see the exhibit Black Diamond Dust at the Nanaimo Art Gallery. Curator Jesse Birch has taken a very engaging approach to this look at coal-mining, once the driving force of Nanaimo's settlement and history. It was fascinating to learn that the ground underneath the city, and in fact some of the surrounding seabed, is riddled with the tunnels and mine shafts of this now-abandoned industry.
What really blew me away though, was Vancouver artist Stephanie Aitken's 8'x10' rug based on her painted studies of decomposing plant matter. (Which, given enough time and pressure, turns into coal.)
Photo: Canadian Art

Aitken had the rug made in a fair trade factory in Nepal. It is of wool and silk, and these photos do not do justice to the colours and textures. But, believe me, it is a stunner.  There was nothing on Aitken's website or in any artist statement I could find about her intention of turning her paintings into a textile work - it would appear from the placement in the gallery and in a couple of pictures on her Pinterest page that they are intended to be used as floor coverings. She describes herself as a painter, and her paintings are interesting, but feel rather slight in juxtaposition to the power and energy of the floor piece.
Black Wood Rug by Stephanie Aitken
Anyway, here's a photo of a little composition of found objects I made on my last visit to the beach. Once the picture is made, it all eventually washes back out to sea. Gracie kept the orange-y red ball/float thing though - it makes an amusing toy. I have come up with a new salutation for her: "Hail Gracie, Full of Beans".


  1. Wow! What a fantastic rug! I would want that where it could really be seen, it's so dynamic and so beautifully composed.

    I also love your beach assemblage, and that you let it simply wash away.

  2. You just BE pedantic! I'm with you when the technique listed is just wrong. I don't know how many times I've corrected someone who thought knitting was crochet or vice versa. If a gallery or museum can't get something that simple correct, then I tend to start disbelieving everything they say.

  3. love the beach composition!

  4. Hello Heather! have just seen your thoughtful comments about my work in Black Diamond Dust. I'm embarrassed by my mistake, have corrected on my web site.

    Thank you!


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