Tuesday, June 30, 2009

more from Clementsport

curvy trees, dammed bridge, tadpoles

Monday, June 29, 2009

a weekend in Clementsport

Last night I got back from a super lovely weekend in the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia. Very beautiful and lush and green with storybook little towns like Annapolis Royal and Bear River. We drove out with friends of mine from Newfoundland, Ros Ford and Jason Holley, who were in Halifax while Jason finished up a foundry course at NSCAD and offered up a roadtrip to us. We went out to visit friends of mine and Damien, professors from Grenfell College in Corner Brook, Stephen Rayner and Tamsin Clark. They bought a 150 year old farmhouse on 45 acres. It is a little slice of heaven. They have chickens, lots of things growing, are fixing up the place and in their own way, homesteading during the summer when they are not teaching sculpture and photography. They even have a Volkswagen van.....

Thursday, June 25, 2009

in store promotion

I spent the morning today working on a new bio sheet for shops who sell my work. They can hang it where my scarves are displayed. I always enjoy reading about the artist behind the work, and I hope others do as well - I'm sure it can only be positive....

Now onto weaving before I start getting ready for a weekend trip to the Annapolis Valley. Despite the forecast of rain, I am excited to explore Nova Scotia and get out of the city.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

switching gears

In the next week, I'm aiming to get the bulk of my summer scarf weaving finished. Most of these scarves will go shops that sell my work on consignment. Once July starts, I plan to switch gears and devote July and August to fully focusing on my artwork. I have a solo exhibition in November at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery and Museum and have been developing the body of work called "Home Terrain" for that show since January. To really build up momentum in my work and ideas and allow myself the time to play and experiment, I need to be somewhat single-minded and limit any scarf weaving. Though I definitely take technique and colour influences from my production work into my art practice, I do find I need to seperate the two to relinquish the role of counting time in my weaving. Relinquishing time (a quantity essential to production work) frees up my headspace for play and art and discovery.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

cloth, line and colour

Egon Schiele, a drawing of a blanket, scarves drying. Colour for a rainy day.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

flying shuttle

I've been meaning to make a little video of me weaving a scarf for a while. I know I'm moving fast, but I didn't realize how fast until I asked Damien to shoot some footage of my body and the loom in action. Doing production weaving, I definitely get into a tight little rhythm of movement, where my feet pressing the treadles is synchronized with the flick of the shuttle in my hand and the beating of the reed until it is all one fluid series of motions indistinguishable from one another.
My friend and fellow textile artist Robyn Love quoted Anni Albers (one of a handful of pioneer women artists in the Bauhaus movement to bring weaving into the realm of modern art) in her blog recently, and I will do the same as it relates to the process this little video demonstrates: "Breathing does not express anything; one's work should be like breathing, essential to just being." And today being solstice, I see the echos of a rhythmic approach to creation reflected everywhere....

Friday, June 19, 2009

summer berries

Today I'm putting together a small consignment order for Twisted Sisters Boutik in St. John's, NL. They were one of the first shops to carry my scarves and have been fabulous for their well displayed shop (everything has room to breathe), selection of really good Canadian designers and consistent sales. When recently checking out their blog, I was blown away to see some of the beautiful new stuff they are carrying (summer sandals and shoes to melt my colourful heart). These are new scarves that I'm sending to them, part of my new Wave summer scarf design. These are the narrow Wave scarves (5.5" x 65") and are handwoven and hand-dyed from silk and cotton. For the ladies at Twisted Sisters Boutik, I decided to stick to a berry palette of colours: raspberry, cranberry, blueberry, strawberry, bakeapple - the beautiful, warm colours of smoothies. The range of incredible colours I am able to compose when limiting my palette is so very satisfying......I hope they do well!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

a discovery

I've seen a link to Weave Cast on the Ar Cloth Text blog for a while and have been meaning to check it out. I am a big fan of conversational radio and mostly have CBC radio 1 or 2 on while I'm weaving. I've been aware of podcasts for some time, but it has only been my partner's recent interest in putting contemporary art interview podcasts on his Ipod to listen to while he's working that reminded me to check out Weave Cast. It is now called WeaveZine and there are tons of podcasts on there about all aspects of handweaving. The woman who runs the show and conducts the various interviews is named Syne Mitchell and I think she's based in Washington state, along with her sheep. This is very exciting! Weavers get techie....

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

coming together

My father helped me properly install some of my studio shelves this weekend. These narrow shelves that I built last week are perfect for all my bobbins of coloured cotton and natural raw silk, and the six foot long wall shelf I found second hand is perfect for my larger cones of wool. No more digging through a deep shelf or a box to find the colour I'm looking for. I also found a fantastic little filing cabinet that fits perfectly (pure serendipity) under my bottom corner shelf - finally I can organize and file away everything from my book-keeping to my exhibition contracts instead of having a pile of files on a shelf. What's left: putting the guts in my big Cranbrook loom to prepare for a July and August of weaving art, and making some more smaller shelves for those odds and ends that are still in boxes. It sure is nice to see my space (my adult "playroom") coming together so nicely.

Monday, June 15, 2009

colouring outside

It's too sunny and warm outside to do my dyeing in the basement. So, I move all my equipment outside and dye my scarves in the sunshine. The first photo here is of eight Wave scarves after being hand-washed but before being dyed. And then, ta-da!, here they are after being dyed....

Sunday, June 14, 2009

garden growth

After two weeks since we planted almost all our garden from seed (with the exception of a few transplants), things are coming up....I sometimes wish we had planted a bigger garden because I would have more to do out there puttering in the dirt. But, so far, no weeds to pull. Plans for next year's garden: bigger, start seeds inside for transplants. I'm very happy our radishes, beets, lettuce, spinach, peas and beans are coming up - it seems miraculous as a first time gardener!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

grey days

Yesterday, today and tomorrow are gray days. The June temperature has dropped to a mere 10 degrees and it is dark. I think we're supposed to get thunderstorms today. As I like to do on gray days, I have mined my library of images for connections and interesting juxtapositions. Even gray subject matter can lend itself to inspiration! As usual, I found some interesting shots that I took in Newfoundland, where the gray rock and shoreline offers incredible opportunities to contemplate. Along with a typical wharf construction and rock strata, I chose a picture of a selection of my Echo scarves, arranged to emulate a vertical, graph-like composition.

My parents and brother are making their way to Halifax today from Charlottetown, PEI - their first visit to our new home. So before they arrive late this afternoon, I'm doing a little weaving, some cleaning and baking for tonight's desert. My father will help me install some of my studio shelves tomorrow. I am really looking forward to having them visit and live in our little hospitable world for a couple of days - despite the non-cooperative weather.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

surprising colour

Getting my shelves back up for my many bobbins of coloured cotton is on hold. Until then, I've been trying to sort them in baskets according to size, or amount of cotton left on the cardboard bobbin. I love seeing piles of colour.

I'm still weaving the narrow version of my Wave summer scarf, and though I am mostly sticking to berry inspired colours, I decided to group a yellow and orange warp (along with the natural white raw silk, which will be dyed) with a mint green weft....the result is surprising and if you squint, it creates an almost mossy brown green. I am so happy I can experience the incredible magic of colour!

Monday, June 8, 2009

my weekend's labour

After humming and hawing for weeks about how to go about building wall shelves for my studio and working amidst piles of boxes, I decided this weekend that I could build my own shelves. Armed with a hand-saw, a screwdriver, a drill, some lumber, screws, wall plugs and brackets, I set to work on Saturday. First off, I needed shelves for my studio library to fit behind the door in the corner. I installed them yesterday and am very proud of the result. I also built long, narrow shelves (re-making the ones pictured in earlier posts so that they would be more secure and not so wobbly), but this morning, all gung-ho to mount them on the wall, I'm having trouble getting the wall-plugs to go all the way into the drilled holes. I got pretty far in this endeavor by myself, but now it's time to call in my good buddy Jordan, who is a wall shelf expert. He has a massive vinyl collection, much of which is organized on wall shelves he built and installed himself.....

Friday, June 5, 2009

more blooms...and scarves

Well, the floweres keep getting more glorious, and I keep taking pictures of them. The lilacs are even more full than they were earlier this week, and in the past few days, our neighbour's wysteria has started blooming along the fence we share. Yesterday I finished my first batch of narrow Wave scarves (about 6" wide) for some of the shops that sell my work on consignment (Twisted Sisters Boutik, and Luna in PEI - a new one)....this family of colours really makes me think of bright indian saris.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

in bloom

Everything in Halifax is lush lush lush right now. The beginning of June is a magical time for life, colours, smells and being outdoors! Damien and I went for an amazing bike ride at dusk the other night down to the richy rich part of town with the huge, old victorian homes sloping down to the Northwest Arm, the body of water that reaches around the peninsula of Halifax from the harbour. The smells in the air were incredible as we were whizzing past lilacs, crab appple blossoms, and other blossoming trees in full bloom. Our own backyard boasts a total of five different lilac trees, and the one right outside our bedroom window is in all its glory right now....

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

scarf for Australia's winter

The last month, I've received a few custom order requests through my Etsy shop. It amazes me how Etsy is able to provide me with a calling card to the world for my work. And I love hearing from people all over the world. Last week, I received a special request from a woman in Australia who wanted to replace a scarf that her partner had lost in Holland. Because winter is close in Australia (as we're soaking up our brief but glorious summer here), she wanted it to have some wool in it. Also, she wanted the colours to be burnt orange and dark brown. I looked back over my many many photos of Newfoundland shoreline and came upon a shot of seaweed in the sun. Burnt, cayenne orange and brown. Woven with alpaca, raw silk and merino, I finished the scarf yesterday and took this photo while it was hanging in the sun to dry. I adapted the undulating herringbone pattern of my Wave scarves and over-dyed the scarf to give the silk a rich orange colour amongst the darker stripes of brown.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Yesterday, Joanna Close and I planned and planted our garden. We planted seeds and even some transplants (the woman at Halifax Seeds told us it was okay to put them in). Green, yellow and black beans (pole and bush - we want lots of beans), carrots, spinach, lettuce, radishes, beets, peas, squash, onions, leeks, and chard. It looks beautiful! After it was planted, I stuck rose branch clippings around the perimeter of the soil (along with angled bamboo sticks) to keep out the cats - so far it's working! I can't wait to see the garden grow....

Monday, June 1, 2009

hanging cloth/drying cloth

I've been thinking about how we organize stuff, the objects of our productivity. This is a result of living and working in my new studio for the past few weeks, despite the lack of storage and shelving infrastructure. Over the weekend, I found a wooden towel bar in someone's pile of free stuff (Halifax is great for curbside free stuff). I'm thinking of using it in my studio to hang one of my booth display racks from - I could use it for drying scarves after they've been washed or dyed, and I could use it for displaying a selection of scarves for particular clients or visitors.

Today is the day that my friend Joanna Close and I plant our vegetable garden. Joanna is a textile artist who has been weaving these amazing vegetable garden blankets since we went to NSCAD together...she's just the right person to help plan a real vegetable garden. Organizing and arranging through repetition of rows of seeds, predicting how things will grow and making sure they have enough room to prosper. This morning, after a night of rain, the sun is out but it is windy. The clothes on the line were throwing beautiful shadows on our plot of rich, ready, dark soil.