Friday, February 26, 2010

end of February

We are pretty much at the end of the shortest month of year. My exhibition at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery comes down after this weekend. I just got back yesterday from going over to Charlottetown, PEI to give an artist talk about the work in my exhibition. It's always good practice to have to talk about my work, especially to the public and especially when I get to talk about a complete body of work.

I also got the chance to photograph my large blanket, A Dozen Questions, a Dozen Friends, from a tall stepladder. Because it has been displayed horizontally on a riser, it's been difficult to get a full image of it...I partially succeeded, enough to represent the work in its entirety, but not an easy feat.

Kevin Rice, the director of the gallery is putting together a package to present to other public galleries with the goal of touring my exhibit. Very exciting! I'm crossing my fingers it works out.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

last week for Home Terrain

My solo exhibition at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery in Charlottetown P.E.I. ends one week from today on February 28th. I am heading over to P.E.I. this week to give an artist talk about my work on Wednesday, Feb. 24th at 7pm at the Gallery. If you are in the area and can make it, please do!

Friday, February 19, 2010

haptic map quilts

When I opened my email inbox this morning, I found an email suggesting two interesting links to have a look at. One of the links was to a website site called Haptic Labs, the creative project of New York based architect Emily Fischer. Emily makes custom quilts based on maps of cities and towns and was originally inspired when her mother started losing her eyesight.

"Haptic" refers to the sense of touch that includes the entire body, inside and out; it is also the mechanism we employ to situate our bodies in space, feeling the world around us. Haptic designs counter the rapid digitization of our lives by privileging the real, physical world our bodies occupy. Like a cane that safely guides someone down the sidewalk, haptic projects serve as tools for sensation.

Using a combination of machine and hand embroidery, each quilt is made in Brooklyn, NY and takes over 200 hours each to make.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

blanket of white

After a week or two of unseasonably warm, spring-like weather, we woke up this morning to tons of white fluffy snow. All the schools are shut down and the city is moving slower. Outside my studio window, all the branches are cloaked in white.....

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

from the beginning

Yesterday I posted an image of a piece I have on exhibit in Toronto at Harbourfront Centre made up of the ends of Echo scarf warps. Well, today it's time to start some new batches of Echo scarves. Quick to measure out the warps, I always wind about 5 warps one after the other. Echo scarves are a way for me to use up small amounts of coloured cotton that aren't enough for larger scarves. It's also a great exercise in colour as I choose four different colours of cotton to be wound together for each warp. I always enjoy this stage of making Echo scarves: all that potential wrapped in colour.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Labourious in Toronto

Right now, myself along with 7 other fibre-based artists, comprise an exhibition of artwork on the theme of labour, entitled "Labourious". The exhibition is up at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto until the beginning of April. Organized and curated by fellow NSCAD alumni Penney Burden, the exhibition opened in January. I wasn't able to be there to install my piece and I just got some photos of my work "en situe" from Penney last week.

My piece is called The Count: 2008-09, 198 Echo Scarves and is an actual record of cotton warp threads tied end to end and looped into one large chain. Each section of coloured cotton represents the weaving of 3 Echo scarves, my narrowest production scarf. Once I have the loom threaded with a certain pattern, I usually just keep tying on new warps to the end of the previous warp so I don't have to re-thread the loom each time I start a new batch. This creates this amazing length of multi-coloured, knotted cotton wrapped around the back beam of the loom once I am finished the weaving - too beautiful to be tossed and very interesting as a record of production.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

birthday weekend

Yesterday was my birthday. Friends were visiting from PEI and the weather was beautiful. Last night we had a wonderful potluck party with lots of good buddies I don't see often enough. A good time was had by one and all into the wee hours.......

Kyla made me this awesome streamer and sent it to me from London, UK.

My mom and dad made this card full of hearts (that happens a lot when your birthday is the day before Valentines Day).

And dear Mille bought me these beautiful tulips.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

31 cookies

I found a package waiting for me just inside our front door this morning. From my mother, I gave her a call to see if I was allowed to open the package before my birthday this Saturday. I turn 31. Mom said I could open the package now so I could enjoy eating the gift this week. Inside were 31 homemade speculas (dutch spice cookies, my father is half dutch and our whole family enjoys dutch treats). 31 cookies for 31 years. Even though they smell amazing, I can't bring myself to eat one yet, to break up the number. And they look so nice all in a row....

Saturday, February 6, 2010


This is how a hem stitch looks on the loom, at the end of the woven web of the scarf.

Same scarf, off the loom, silk and merino warp dyed, felted and fringe trimmed.

Friday, February 5, 2010

new on Etsy

I've been experimenting with the length of my Seaweed scarf this week. The first batch were a little too long, and the second batch are just right. I've just listed the extra long medium Seaweed scarves on my Etsy shop - they are a generous 74" long including 4" twisted fringe. I have also listed some that will be my new standard length for all my Seaweed scarves, 72" (including fringe), 4" longer than my scarves of yesteryear. Because these scarves are hand-felted after I weave them and shrink 25%, that extra four inches of woven cloth in the finished scarf is actually 5-6" of extra weaving when the scarf is on the loom.

I am now playing around with the diamond pattern itself on my loom. My goal is to narrow the warp stripes of raw silk while keeping the stripes of merino wool the same. This is a stripe proportion I used when I was making my plain weave Seaweed scarves. The objective is to create a scarf that will wear longer and is less likely to have the strands of silk pulled through wear and tear.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

cultural geography

This afternoon, Joanna Close and I had a meeting with Cathy Conrad at St. Mary's University Geography Department, after being put in touch by Robin Metcalfe, the director at the university's gallery. Joanna and I are putting together a proposal for a two person exhibition of our work and Robin thought Cathy might be interested in our work and vice versa.

I had emailed Cathy before and today we were meeting to talk about our work (mine and Joanna's textile art projects/interests and Cathy's geography projects/interests) and to see where there was some overlap and potential for shared resources. It was great! Cathy's focus is on cultural geography, a subject I now want to learn more about: "the study of cultural products and norms and their variations across and relations to spaces and places. It focuses on describing and analyzing the ways language, religion, economy, government and other cultural phenomena vary or remain constant, from one place to another and on explaining how humans function spatially." - wikipedia . wow.

The Geography Department at St. Mary's University here in Halifax is the only university geography department in the province of Nova Scotia. Each person who works there has a slightly different focus to their work as Cathy explained to us. We met Greg Baker, described as their map resource guy - a map resource guy! They have two other colleagues whom we haven't met yet who focus on urban planning, statistics and more cultural geography. They all seem ready and willing to help us out with our exhibition by finding us the maps and information we need for our work.

Joanna and I are both exploring the mapping of changes in familiar geographies in our work and it's pretty cool to meet the people who make and chart the maps and information we are using in our "tool kit" of meaningful resource materials. Meeting people in a compelling field of study that is different from my own is refreshing. What I am surprised by are the parallels between my own interests /investigations in my artwork and the areas of study of the geography department. The subject of geography straddles the arts and the sciences - kinda like weaving.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

winter's influence

January and February seem like a good time to re-assess work and life. I've been tweaking my scarf designs and considering new ways of doing things. In a post a few weeks ago, I showed an image of a custom order Wave scarf finished in a 1" hem-stitched fringe, instead of my usual 4" twisted fringe. I liked this so much, I have started finishing all my new Wave scarves in that way. It allows me to increase the woven length of the scarf (more cloth), while not increasing the amount of materials used. And I think it looks pretty darn classy. In the last week, I've been finishing up the last of my New Year's custom orders, a shorter Seaweed scarf for Kim in St. John's. She had seen the new hem-stitched fringe on the Wave scarf on my blog and requested the same finishing for her Seaweed scarf. A little hesitant at first because of the shrinking of the merino wool during felting, I figured out a way to make it work. I made a small sample scarf to test out the new fringe and gave it to Damien - he's been wearing it since the weekend. What do folks out there think of this new shorter fringe? I like it, but I would love some feedback.....

In other news, I have been loving the way my friend Shawn at Island Sweet coordinates an image of her handspun wool with an image of her colour inspiration. There is so much going on visually in our daily lives, and it's nice every now and then just to stop, and really take a look, and watch how that kernel of influence takes flight in our work.

Monday, February 1, 2010

re-stocking my colour box

I received a big order today from my yarn supplier in Quebec. Coloured cotton, two weights of raw silk, and merino wool. A chance to tidy up my shelves and re-stock my palette.