Wednesday, September 29, 2010

expanding my library

As mentioned many posts back, my application for a Creation Grant from the NS Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage was successful. I received my cheque for $8000 at the end of August. After Christmas, once the busy fall craft fair season is over for another year, I plan on working full-time on my art practice. This means putting my scarf production aside completely and giving my full attention to the creation and development of a new body of work. This work will focus on mapping shorelines and most of the work will take place on my Cranbrook loom at North Pocket Studio.
So, even though I am not devoting time this fall directly to creating new work, in between scarf production I am preparing so that I am set-up and ready when the time comes. Part of being ready is doing my technical research. Yesterday I ordered all brand new tie-up chords from Schacht Spindle Company in Colorado for my Cranbrook loom so that I can get rid of the difficult chain tie-up system that came with the loom when I bought it second hand 6 years ago. These new cords will make for a much more even shed (the space between the warp threads that opens when a peddle is pressed) and therefore will open me up to really exploring a wider range of weave structures without the hassle my current set up poses.

One new weaving structure that I've been fixated on the last week or two is double weave. This is a technique that allows you to weave two layers of cloth simultaneously and it has been a real brain work-out trying to get a grasp on the pattern drafting and the potential possibilities. So on Monday I ordered two books about double weave, and a third called "Mastering Weave Structures". I'm very excited about expanding my understanding of woven structures, and that grant money is meant to be spent!

Sunday, September 26, 2010


My partner Damien has just started his final year of his BFA at NSCAD University here in Halifax. Most of his recent work has been focused on painting and I feel his work is barreling forward in leaps and bounds. If he gives me permission, I will post some images that are more representative of his current painting practice, but for now, I wanted to share a painting he did of me at the loom. This was an assignment for a Snapshot Painting class he took over the summer, and his first painted "portrait" of me. I especially love the bottom portion, the multiple angles of my hands, the shuttle, and the warp threads in sepia tones. The piece is called Woomph, just like the sound the loom makes when I'm weaving.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I love fall

The past few days in Halifax have been lovely. Warm yet crisp sunny weather with a bit of a wind that makes the leaves dance. My dear friend Mille Clarkes was in town for the screening of her short film Crows and Branches at the Atlantic Film Festival and we got to spend some nice times together in the autumn weather.

Damien and I live right next to Oxford Street School and as we were walking to a local breakfast joint yesterday morning with Mille, we noticed all these paper pinwheels twirling in the breeze along North St. Lovely in the dappled sunlight.

We overheard the kids saying they were "pinwheels for peace" as they kept adding more by sticking them in the grass. I went back with my camera a little later in the day to take these photos.

And this is a shot of my sample Horizon scarf that I've been wearing, great for the fall. This one is over-dyed, but as mentioned in earlier posts, now that I've put them into production, I've actually decided not to over-dye this new design and instead to leave the natural raw silk white. I'll post more photos of the un-dyed Horizon scarves in the next few days....

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

permanent collection

At the end of the summer, the Confederation Centre Art Gallery finally received funding from the Canada Council for the Arts to purchase two of my pieces for their permanent collection. I knew this was going to happen since last winter, but it was nice to receive the cheque in the mail last Friday. Both of these handwoven artworks were part of my solo exhibition Home Terrain, presented at the gallery in Charlottetown from November 2009 to February 2010. These are my first pieces to be bought for a permanent collection by a federal arts institution. Both pieces are based on imagery created by graphs depicting health statistics of the Atlantic provinces.

Cancer Rates and the Use of Chemicals in Commercial Farming, PEI, 1996-2006
25.5” x 38”, handwoven and hand dyed, wool and silk, 2009

Asthma Rates, PEI, NS, NB, NL, 1996-2005
26” x 30”, handwoven and hand dyed, wool silk, cotton, 2009

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010


A shot of a batch of four Horizon scarves, all from the same warp, ready to have their fringes twisted. This is an activity which takes place while I sit cross-legged on the couch, cushion on my lap with scarf secured around it, and use my trusty four-pronged fringe twister to tame the warp threads into orderly tassels. *Some notes on the fabrics in this photo: the red striped cloth covers our old couch, a large cotton blanket that Damien had when we moved in together; the turquoise and black cushion cover is cloth I designed and screen-printed when I was a textiles student at NSCAD; the little bit of gray wool twill you can see on the right is a McAusland's blanket made on PEI given to me by my parents for Christmas about 8 years ago.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday loom shot

Back to the loom today after almost three weeks. Getting started on a few batches of my new Horizon scarves. Really liking the turquoise and mossy green.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

home ec.

I've been thinking about painting parts of our apartment since we moved in well over a year ago. I just never felt I had the time. Our front hallway has been a dirty beige/brown, and our living room is a tan/mocha colour. The front of our house doesn't get lots of light anyway, and these sombre colours never helped.

So after getting the go ahead from our landlord this week after spontaneously emailing him on Tuesday, I impulsively devoted almost three days to painting our hallway. The living room will have to wait for now, but we're both so happy with how the hallway turned out. A very light, bright and airy heather white for the walls and a coral/burnt orange to cover the chipped, dirty white trim. It changes the space completely and really opens and brightens it up.

Damien and I also went to the brand new Halifax Farmer's Market yesterday to check out the new eco-friendly space right on the waterfront and to search for tons of local beans, dill and hot peppers. We spent the afternoon pickling our beans and are now well stocked with lots of dilly beans to get us through the fall.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

the shores of PEI

Some snaps from my time spent on the Island. An interesting week as changes are in the air. Lots of discussion from my parents about buying a house in New Brunswick on the Bay of Fundy. Something in my own relationship to PEI has shifted and this new idea made me look at this place and my space in it differently.

Damien and I did lots of exploring up the south east coast through Cape Bear and Murray Harbour. We found an amazing spit of sand, a beach stretching out into the mouth of a bay, uninhabited by only terns and other birds where we spent the afternoon swimming in perfect saltwater.

Damien's parents' property in Alexandra, south east of Charlottetown on a hot Saturday afternoon.

Cape Bear lighthouse look-out. Where the first signal from the sinking Titanic was received.

The warm water of at the mouth of Murray Harbour. A long sand spit called Poverty Beach.

Only other footprints besides our own are birds.

After exploring the south east coast of PEI, I looked up some real estate online and discovered this gem on 4 acres along the shore in White Sands. Looking out to the water, where you can see the highlands of Cape Breton on a clear day. Fodder for daydreams.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

home again, home again jiggidy jog

Wow, what a couple of weeks it's been. I just arrived back home in Halifax on Monday evening after almost two weeks away. I wanted to share these photos from my booth in Fredericton at the NB Craft Council's Fine Craft Festival. This was a different set-up for me because there were no poles and drapes to hang my display from, so I had to re-configure the racks for table-tops.

This was only my second outdoor craft fair I've done and the big lesson learned is that the weather determines everything. Friday was very very hot and humid, much too much for my poor heat rash and eczema prone skin. Nobody was really in the mood to try on scarves in the heat, and besides, everyone was distracted by Hurricane Earl who was supposed to hit the Maritimes on Saturday. So, Friday evening, it was decided to cancel the fair for Saturday which meant taking our booths down and then setting them back up again on Sunday morning.

Saturday was very rainy and windy - though Halifax got hit much harder than Fredericton - and I was happy to have a day off to get my body back on track after days of feeling extremely itchy and uncomfortable because of the hot weather. Sunday was sunny and beautifully cool - the perfect weather for September. And it was a great day for scarf sales.

Thanks to everyone who came by my booth, bought a scarf or just chatted....if only we had three full days like Sunday! But, that is the nature of outdoor shows: you never know what you're going to get.
While I was home on PEI, between making time for family, friends, exploring and finding beautiful beaches (more photos to come), I got a chance to stitch my new screen-printed cloth labels (by Keeley McLean, my lovely studio mate at North Pocket Studio) onto all my scarves. I'm really happy with how they look, especially how the colour of the label plays off the mixture of colours in the scarves.