Thursday, May 28, 2009

process interview


The online magazine Fibre Quarterly, edited by Joe Lewis, has just posted it's new issue. This issue focuses on process, particularly on the process of creating entrepreneurial textiles. I hope to spend some time reading the articles over the weekend.....There is also an interview with me about my production weaving process. Click on Fibre Quarterly and then click on the image of the new issue, scroll down to "an entrepreneurial approach to textiles in Canada", and you'll find my interview amongst the other articles.
On another nice note of exposure, the blogs of Shawn O'Hagan and myself were featured on the One of a Kind Show (Xmas 2009) blog - two Newfoundlanders!!! Again, you can be anywhere in the world (even the far flung east coast of Canada), and find a following with a web presence.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

new scarves for etsy




Today I went out in the backyard and did my first photo shoot as artist, photographer and model. I'm pretty happy with the results!! The natural sunlight, the greenery, and a real live person does wonders....the three scarves pictured here are all now for sale in my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

hang tags


Tags are really important for my scarves. They set a tone and hopefully demonstrate my design priorities as a textile artist. I have been slowly transitioning to new hang tags since the winter. Shawn O'Hagan tipped me off about this great on-line printing company called Moo, originally based in London, UK, who now have a US shop. Their on-line ordering set-up is fantastic and makes it very easy to use your own photos for your cards. For my hang tags, I've ordered their "mini cards". I now have a garment tag for each line of scarves I make, plus an accompanying business card with all my contact info. The paper stock is lovely too: made from sustainable paper sources and very durable - hopefully meaning the customer will hold onto the garment care tag for years to come or pass the business card on to friends.

Monday, May 25, 2009

first batch


Yesterday I dyed my first batch of scarves in our Halifax home. We have a basement here, and there are two big old porcelin sinks down there, one of which is by a window and is perfect for setting up my little dye kitchen. With a clamp lamp for extra light and my two burner hot plate, I'm back in the business of creating my own colour. These scarves pictured on the line are the ones I dyed yesterday, though I must admit, I actually hung them to dry inside and simply hung them on the line as a nice photo op.....

Sunday, May 24, 2009

the joys of urban living









I know I haven't been posting as much as I have in the past, but I'll try and make up for it by posting lots of wonderful photos of life and art in Halifax. We had an amazing run of beautiful hot sunny days this past week. Damien and I took a trip downtown on Friday afternoon to drop off some of his paintings and collages to the Seeds Gallery, NSCAD's commercial gallery for students and alumni. This was only my second time going downtown in the three weeks we've been here! I've been happily sticking close to home I guess. We took a walk through the public gardens on the way home.
Yesterday was Saturday and Damien and I went yard saling. There were tons of yard sales, there was even a neighborhood yard sale in the Bloomfield area - at least two yard sales on every block! We found lots of treasures: pad of graph paper, soap dish, stainless steel bowl, lettuce spinner, cordless phone, clock radio, books, hand sewn hot dish holders (what are these called?!), and last but not least, at the last sale we stopped at - there was the perfect bike for me. Sky blue, older model where I can sit up straight, fenders - all it needs is a basket. When I asked how much, they told me I could have it as long as I gave it a good home. And finding even a second hand bike in this city can get pretty pricey...I felt like the sun ws shining on me ;) Another customer even gave me a lucky penny, saying he hoped it would help extend my amazing luck. All the bike needed was to have the derailer straightened out and a little tune-up. I brought it to the handy Bike Doctor around the corner and I should get it tomorrow or the next day. Now we need to find Damien a bike too so we can cruise around town together.
And in the midst of this lovely settling, I have finished weaving my first batch of scarves in my new studio. I am looking forward to establishing routine in the next couple of weeks. I found this card at the Seeds Gallery, printed by the Dawson Printshop as part of their series of "Old Trades" cards with engravings reproduced from The Book of Trades, 1568 by Josh Ammon and Hans Sachs. I have put it up right next to my production loom.

Friday, May 22, 2009

the pull of outdoors





The last three days have been gorgeous and sunny and hot. I've been weaving in the mornings and and playing in the yard in the afternoons. We've dug our plot for our first vegetable garden this week and will hopefully be planting next week after some compost is turned in. Everything is alive and green in Halifax right now......

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

spring green



Today, I get back into scarf production and start to find my routine once more. Even though the past six months have seen a decline in the popularity of green scarves and a staggering rise in the popularity of red scarves, I can't help but be inspired by the fresh, feathery shades bursting from the ground and the trees. So, one batch of green wave scarves coming up!
I found this amazing tulip walking home from a friends' house last night. It's like the leaf couldn't decide if it was a petal or a leaf.....

Monday, May 18, 2009

modelling


I tried out a new approach to photographing my scarves today. I wanted to document a custom shawl I just finished and see how it worked using myself as a model while using the timer on my camera. Once I get more scarves ready to put up on my Etsy shop, I'd like to do this outside in the backyard - but for a rainy day, the kitchen worked pretty well!

a work in progress




After ignoring the boxes in my new studio for the past week and a half, I finally started tackling them yesterday. Usually when I move into a new home, I have an intense urge to nest. You could even call it a little obsessive compulsive. With our new home this time, despite it being probably my favourite place I have lived so far, that nesting urge has been kept at bay for some reason. I think part of it was wanting to simply live and work in the space before deciding how my stuff should be arranged. After weaving my first project this past week, I now feel naturally inclined to unpack and organize. I still need some more wall shelving to keep a lot of my stuff from simply being stored in boxes in the basement or closet. Today I think I will work on putting in the "guts" of my large Cranbrook loom - a satisfying rainy day activity.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

sunny skies


The sun has finally stuck around the last couple of days in Halifax. I have taken advantage of our backyard clothesline and our washer and dryer to hang out a couple of loads. I've been enjoying sitting in the backyard in the sunshine listening to the hustle and bustle of neighborhood activities: lawns being mowed, people doing home repairs and gardening, and the sounds of children on recess and lunch from the school nearby. It's hard to stay inside when the sun's shining.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

weaving again



It is so nice to have my loom up and going and have a project on the go. Today I started weaving the commissioned/collaborative shawl for Susan Furneaux. She dyed two different weights of silk for the weft: the thicker silk dyed with indigo, and the finer silk dyed with logwood. I quickly realized it wouldn't be a matter of me choosing one over the other for the whole weft as I had underestimated how much was needed for a piece this wide (my production scarves are ususally about 12" wide - this one is 24" wide). Instead, I am alternating shots with two shuttles: one shot of fine purple (logwood), and shot of thicker blue (indogo). I am very happy with the results, the combination of theses two rich colours creating a very nice depth to the woven pattern.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

projects



My studio is still piles of boxes, but my two looms are up and in place. I set up my little one and put all its guts back in (harnesses, heddles, treadles, counterbalance beams) so that I can get back to some production weaving. I hope to figure out some more wall shelving solutions to get those boxes unpacked and create an efficient, comfortable workspace. So, amidst a bit of the chaos that is still my studio, I have started to create order out of silk and cotton. I am threading the loom for a handwoven shawl commissioned by Susan Furneaux, a textile artist based in St. John's NL. It's a bit of a collaboration actually. After designing and measuring out the warp and weft, I mailed her the cotton and silk. Susan, using her incredible mastery of natural dyeing, then dyed the fibres using logwood and indigo and sent them back to me. Rich, deep colours, unlike anything I have seen in my limited experience with natural dyes. This is what is being now beamed onto my loom in the picture above after the reeding and threading. I really enjoy doing commissions, and especially one that involves collaboration.
Last week, I used some of my grant money for my upcoming exhibition in PEI next fall to purchase a book of essays about craft and modernity. Called "Neo Craft", it was published to coincide with a conference held at NSCAD University in 2007. I am enjoying reading it immensely and I feel parts of my intellect springing to life and becoming engaged with my work and the broader scope of craft in contemporary visual and social culture. "The choice of craft is not anachronistic. It is a statement that we still live in a body rich in potential. In a sense, craft always tries to perform a metaphysical revision: the return of labour to equal status with thought." - Bruce Metcalf

Monday, May 11, 2009

mother's day



Damien and I went home to PEI this weekend and just got back an hour or so ago. It was a surprise visit for both of our wonderful, amazing moms. My mom asked to see some pictures of the front of our new apartment in Halifax, so here they are. One shot is of the park across the street from our place and the other is of our home taken from the park. We came back today to find these amazing purple flowered bushes (which I should probably know the name of) in full bloom.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

settling in





Another rainy day in Halifax, but not so chilly. Apparently they had great weather before we arrived last week, so we can't really complain. Plants are blooming and the trees are about to burst. We're settling in nicely, each day another room gets set up and ready for living. On Monday we found a great second hand living room furniture set including a couch, a stool and an armchair. The got delivered yesterday and the set has made our living room cozy and comfortable. Our first real furniture set! Thinking about our backyard garden that we will hopefully start getting ready for planting in the next couple of weeks.
ps - sadly, that magnolia tree is not in our front yard, the photo was taken a couple of blocks away on Duncan St. But our neighbor does have a wysteria tree right by our backyard fence which will be amazing when it blooms....

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

the move





well, we made it safe and sound. We arrived in Halifax Friday afternoon after a crazy last few hours on the road in high winds and pouring rain. Aside from that last stretch though, everything went perfectly. We even got a good night sleep on the ferry! Now we are taking the time to settle into our new home, reconfigure our furniture, build some shelves, acquire some chairs (we came here with none), and slowly get used to the joys of Halifax living again. We love our new home. It is bright, spacious, with a big backyard and basement. It feels like a home - that's what I felt when I first saw it back in March, and all my lovely daydreams are being confirmed as we discover and get used to all the wonderful little surprises of our new home. I'm starting to get the weaving itch after about three weeks or so of not weaving. My studio still needs some work (shelves shelves and more shelves are in order), but my little loom should be ready to get going soon....
Pictured above is Damien in our empty apartment just before we left Corner Brook, the amazing Long Range mountains on the way to Port-Aux-Basques, my new studio shelves for my scarf production materials, and our bright and inviting kitchen where I have already drunk many cups of coffee while watching the (already very green and bright, the trees are about to burst!) backyard through the window.