Tuesday, March 31, 2009
I've been playing around with the idea of making a scarflette for a while. A mini scarf that buttons up. I've made my first one, and though I still have some bugs to work out, now that I have something tangible in my hands, I can see the different ways it can really work well. The scarflette pictured above is now for sale on my etsy shop.
Monday, March 30, 2009
I rarely get the chance to get out of Corner Brook because we don't have a vehicle. When I do, such as I did yesterday for our West Coast Craft Collective meeting at Urve Manuel's house in Gillams, I am always in awe of the majesty of the landscape on the west coast of Newfoundland. I usually resolve to try and get out more by taking advantage of every opportunity to go for a drive. Yesterday, the view of the Blow Me Down mountains from the south-facing North shore of the Humber Arm was spectacular in the late afternoon sun.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Today was our March meeting of the West Coast Craft Collective, and my last meeting before we make our move to Halifax at the end of April. This group of women have been a very rich and dynamic part of my life here in Corner Brook and I am so grateful and happy to be part of the group and community. We are made up of craft-based artists, many of us fibre obsessed, and our monthly meetings and regular show and sales have gained an enviable reputation across the province. I have learned so much from the experience of these artists, and formed wonderful friendships. Today, three members of the group showed up wearing their Marshall Arts scarves. As I rarely have the chance to photograph those who purchase my scarves, I thought today was there perfect chance! Here is Barb Hunt, Nicki Hollahan, and Shannon Coyle - all looking lovely and happy.....
Friday, March 27, 2009
I'm working on the last batch of four scarves for a wholesale order today. Choosing the cotton colours for my warp is one of my favourite things. Certain colour combinations give me great joy. This is one of them: a rich wine red/brown and a orangy brown. This is the cotton warp on the warping mill, a wonderful tool that makes my lovely work faster and easier......
Thursday, March 26, 2009
I got an email last night from Mary of the Toronto One of a Kind Show asking me if I'd be interested in having a photo of my work featured on the 2009 Christmas flyer being handed out at the upcoming Spring 2009 show. Yes!! Of Course I'd be interested!!! Yay!! They need a photo of my current work, professional-like, against a white background - ASAP of course. Lately I've been taking photos of my scarves on a mannequin against a black background (I think it makes my colours pop), so this afternoon I played around with taking photos of some of my new Wave scarves against white. We will see what happens!
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
This morning I was invited to teach a textile class of Barb Hunt's at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College. I taught the students how to crochet in the round. Lots of fun! It's always good practice to verbalize a visual/experiential activity and explain to others how to do it. It reminded me how important it is to let yourself play and explore materials and techniques and simply see where it leads......
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
This morning I took part in a focus group organized by fellow craftsperson Brenda Stratton who is working on a project for the Craft Council of NL. The discussion centered around skills assessment: what skills and/or resources are important to the emerging craftsperson in the start-up stage of their business. I think one of the best ideas we came up with was the need to have a directory or guide to help launch craftspeople who are at the beginning of their career. I always enjoy participating in these workshops - the great brainstorming that happens, the opportunity to talk through concerns with folks who are in the same boat. There is always lots of passion, important discussion of the nuts and bolts, as well as some philosophical dialogue about why we have chosen to do what we do as small producers of craft and culture.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Sheila Hicks is an American artist and weaver. She is a biggie when it comes to weaving as an art form in the 20th century. Some of her work that interests me the most is how she has brought weaving outside of the studio and made it portable, building her own little hand-looms to construct small woven "sketches". I love these little tapestry studies: the balance between wonky-ness and structure, the colour juxtapositions, the abstraction of landscape, the immediacy of her exploration of curiosity. A few years ago, a book called "Weaving as Metaphor" was published about Sheila Hicks' work - I think it might be a good library investment for my studio......
Friday, March 20, 2009
Thursday, March 19, 2009
I am heading to St. John's tomorrow for the weekend - I hope the weather cooperates for the long drive there and back! Today, it is overcast, but mild and the snow and ice are melting. I wish I could make this weather last until all the snow is gone....but I think Newfoundland is supposed to get hit with a snowstorm on Saturday, hopefully it won't start until after we arrive and will be finished by the time we have to hit the road again on Monday.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
This is the time of year where we all get desperate for sunshine and revel in the delicious anticipation of the coming summer. Green growth, warm evenings, the accessible outdoors. One of my favourite places on the west coast of Newfoundland is Bottle Cove. We made multiple trips there last summer with visiting friends and family and on a sunny evening in June, the place is magical. The water stretches out to the northern Gulf of St. Lawrence, reaching across to the Quebec coast.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
I am in the process of interviewing Armstrong Fox Textiles about their production and design process for Fibre Quarterly's on-line journal. As I was working on my interview questions this past weekend, it got me thinking about those intermediary, transitory steps in creating production craft. There are often points in the production process that pass quickly and function as a means to getting to the end product, but in themselves are quite beautiful and work as a measure of time. This is a roll of six 6" wide Seaweed scarves fresh off the loom, not yet cut apart from each other, waiting to have the fringes twisted.
Monday, March 16, 2009
I used to paint, in fact when I started art school, that's what I thought would be my focus. I always drew and painted since I was very young, and was enrolled in extra-curricular art classes as far back as I can remember. Now I paint with dye, mixing all my own colours, staining fibres in structures into compositions of pattern and colour. I sometimes draw, but rarely do I paint. But coming across an artist like Peter Doig reminds me of why I loved to paint and my continuing love affair with colour. The top painting is "Reflection(what does your soul look like)", and the bottom piece is called "White Canoe".
Sunday, March 15, 2009
This week, my partner Damien Worth sold a piece of his artwork to a provincial art collection - the first time his piece has been purchased for a public collection! The Newfoundland and Labrador Art Bank has decided to purchase his wooden sculpture called "Syphon/Replenish", an island-like machinistic mound with wheels and wires and wood. Damien's work often explores fantastical, dream-like landscapes, and I really like this island in three dimensions. Very proud.
...and I woke up this morning to a sale in my Etsy shop: wave scarf in feather fuschia, first one of that style to sell!
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
Having a digital camera and reams of photos on my computer, I love to occasionally mine my image collection for beauty and pattern. I am often pleasantly surprised by what I have on record that I forgot was documented. Today I found these two symmetrical growths that appear in the place where the sea overlaps the land and creative organisms flourish.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
As March gets cold again after a few brilliant sunny days, my thoughts turn to spring and summer and all they offer. Vitamin D, the outdoors, colour and exploration. These are two photos my parents took on their annual September journey to Newfoundland last year. Like myself, they relish the discovery of the seashore and all the fascinations and beauty it offers up as a feast for the eyes and the imagination. Oh, the anticipation of another beautiful summer on the East Coast - it's almost worth the long, cold winter!
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
This is the same batch of six Seaweed scarves (Seaweed because of the gentle ruffle created by felted stripes of merino wool) that I featured yesterday in their pre-felted, pre-dyed state. They are now complete - the colours stacked in the same order as yesterday but transformed....
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
This batch of Seaweed scarves are now off the loom, fringes twisted and ready to be felted and dyed. At this point, I hand-felt each scarf - but, once we move to Halifax in May where we will have a washing machine, I hope (with some experimenting to get the washing time just right) to let the machine take over the felting as it is hard on my body. This is the point when the real transformation takes place in both the texture and the colour of the scarves.
Monday, March 9, 2009
Once my loom is dressed (threaded and beamed), I can start weaving. The warp I have used to dress the loom is long enough to weave six scarves one after the other. In these photos, you can see the back of the loom where the long warp is beamed with a long roll of wallpaper to keep the layers of string under consistent tension while preventing them from touching one another. On the front of the loom, where the weaving takes place, I am halfway through a seaweed scarf. The warp is raw silk and fine merino wool with a navy blue cotton weft.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
I will be working seven days a week pretty much for the next two months. This dedication will be for the purposes of filling some big orders, some smaller ones and making sure my retail clients have what they need for the summer season. Pictured above is my little production loom: a small Leclerc Fanny loom purchased second-hand (both my looms are pre-loved) from Wendy Druet in Charlottetown two years ago. It is a great workhorse and has helped me create hundreds and hundreds of scarves over the last couple of years, supporting myself and my small business. I have had to fix the castle (the very thick wooden dowel that supports the counterbalance of the harness leverage system), but other than the wear and tear visible in the wood (like life lines on a face), it works very very well. What you see here is the reeding (through the comb-like beater), and threading for six Seaweed scarves which will be woven one after the other. The next step is beaming - combing out the long warp threads and slowly wrapping them under tension around the back beam. After that, I am ready to weave - stay tuned, I'll post more steps of the scarf weaving process over the next few days!
Friday, March 6, 2009
All my scarf designs are inspired by the landscape of the East Coast of Canada. The names of my different lines of scarves reflect this: Seaweed (kelp found along the shore), Echo (the reverberations of a skipped stone on the water's surface), Tidal (the rhythm of the ebb and flow of the tide and the balance therein), and now a summer scarf called Wave inspired by ripples in the ocean. Right now I am working with a palette of colours for the Wave scarf inspired by that space where waves lap: where the colours of the rock and sand on the shore are made brilliant by the wetness of the water, and the way the colour of water can change with the light.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Every now and then, I am reminded that when I am guided by my gut instinct in my professional, artistic and personal life, events unfold as they should. No amount of anxiety, worry, planning or fretting can make something happen. Sometimes the most important turns in my life happen in a split second when I am following my gut. This inspires confidence that I am on the right path, that I must trust my own judgement and be comfortable in my own skin. This is the context in which striving for my best thrives and produces the side effect of "success". This is what I thought about last night at 3:30 am when I was awoken by Luigi (our cat). The optimism of doing my best at what I do while having an open heart and mind to nurture the unexpected.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
As March begins, I am diving headlong into a few months worth of hardcore scarf production. I've got a few major orders on the go, new designs for summer, and new retail clients to please. Most shops order their summer stock (in Atlantic Canada, that means the tourist season) for the middle of May so they are well stocked for the summer and fall season. The scarf pictured here is a new design for summer (also featured a few blogs back in a different colour) handwoven with cotton and raw silk and over dyed so that the silk takes on colour (in this case, the graded stripes of blue/purple). Very lightweight and elegant for summer evenings, it can also be worn in the spring or fall because the raw silk in the warp will act as an insulator when there is a chill in the air......this scarf is for sale in my Etsy shop.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
I returned to Corner Brook last night after spending the last five days in Halifax. I was there for the opening of Contemporary Fibres, a four person exhibition involving myself, Joanna Close, J. Penney Burden, and Margaret Forsey. The exhibition is at the Mary E. Black Gallery until April 12, 2009. The opening was great: lots of people, great to see all of my professors from NSCAD Textiles Department and hear their feedback. Joanna Close - who is also focussing on change in the Atlantic Canadian landcape in her practice - and I talked about putting exhibition proposals forward together because of how well our work compliments the other. I am excited about the potential ahead.....