Thursday, March 31, 2011

good ole sackville nb

I'm really looking forward to A Handmade Assembly this weekend. I'll arrive tomorrow, so I will sadly miss some of the events and happenings, including the wonderful artist, spinner, fibre-holic and yogi Robyn Love's talk this evening. The lovely Joanna Close, my friend and studio mate, is giving a natural dyeing workshop Friday afternoon which will be fantastic (I might try and slip in to be her "assistant"). If you're in the area, please check out the schedule on A Handmade Assembly's blog. As I mentioned in my last post, I will be at the Heart and Pocket Revue with my scarves (for sale) from 11am - 5pm both Saturday and Sunday at the Royal Canadian Legion, 15 Lorne Street.

Monday, March 28, 2011

new scarves and A Handmade Assembly

Today I'm getting ready for a week away from my home in Halifax. I leave for PEI early tomorrow morning where I will have my interview with Parks Canada on Wednesday. From PEI, I head to Sackville, New Brunswick on Friday for A Handmade Assembly, a symposium all about the rise of craft and DIY culture in contemporary art practices. I'll be participating in the Heart and Pocket Revue, a craft fair running April 2-3 as part of the symposium.

Last week, I did a small production run of a new square scarf that I will be bringing with me to Sackville this weekend. Woven from cotton and raw silk on my 8 harness Cranbrook loom, this scarf is like a giant hankercheif: meant to be folded into a triangle and tied behind the neck....I really like the look and feel of these: nice to have a scarf that's not a long rectangle but keeps your neck cozy in all the right places. Perfect for spring.

Friday, March 25, 2011

the path ahead

Back in February, I applied for a position at Prince Edward Island National Park. After an exam almost two weeks ago, I now have an interview in Charlottetown this coming Wednesday. In my preparation for both the exam and the coming interview, I am overjoyed by how much of the knowledge base required for the position is already of great personal interest for me - particularly the vulnerability of PEI's shoreline ecosystems and the inherent cultural heritage of a landscape - subjects I have been exploring in my art practice for the past few years. This is a seasonal, (hopefully eventually) permanent position that could change many aspects of my life, but still allow me to continue my weaving and art practice during the off-season from October - May....we shall have to wait and see. In the meantime, I am working hard to prepare myself for a stellar interview next week.

Monday, March 21, 2011

unexpected dye pot surprise

My technique of over-dyeing my scarves can sometimes lead to some surprising and beautiful results. I over-dye each of my scarves after it is woven to colour only the white raw silk with acid dye (meant for protein fibres), leaving the cotton colours untouched (cellulose fibres). But, every now and then, one of my cotton colours, pre-dyed at the factory, takes on the dye pot colour in a strange and interesting way. My guess is this is because the cone of cotton was exposed to a sizing or starch that made the fibres more vulnerable to acid dye. Whatever makes the cotton more receptive to the acid dye, it often occurs in intervals on the string, resulting in patterns that are very reminiscent of ikat dyeing techniques. Sometimes a new cone of a particular colour of cotton is completely receptive to the acid dye, resulting in an overall shading of the weft cotton.

For the scarf you see here, I used a peachy coloured cotton for the weft, some of it from a new cone, and some of it from an older cone - all the same colour before the scarf met the dye pot. Once dyed, a really interesting zig zag pattern appeared, as well as whole block of weft that turned an almost solid dark grey.

Friday, March 18, 2011

shifting shores

I've been slowly embroidering my piece depicting the carving of West Point, PEI by erosion from 1958 - 2000. I have layered the profiles (or contours) of the original shore in 1958 and the 2000 shore over each of the four woven aerial images of West Point, embroidering the two profiles in a simple running stitch, the 1958 shore depicted in light grey and the 2000 shore depicted by dark red.
This week I started "filling in" the overlapping shapes where shore will either disappear or be created.

Really happy with the direction this is going as I integrate mapping, patterning and imagery.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

juggling on the cusp of change

It's been a busy time lately. I feel like I've been keeping many balls in the air as my mind contemplates what's to come in the very near future. In the midst of trying to sublet our lovely Halifax apartment, find someone to take over my studio space at North Pocket Studio, find an apartment on PEI, waiting on a potential job interview for me for Parks Canada, Damien finishing up school - I'm also working on a large scarf order, working on some art pieces, taking that one class at NSCAD, getting ready for a craft fair in Sackville, NB. Phew! But times are exciting and I feel optimistic about a new chapter.....

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

exponential growth x3

I've kept going with the exploration of exponential growth using crochet. I was supposed to have a crit last week in my sculpture class at NSCAD, but three of us got pushed to this week because we ran out of time. And this gave me more time to keep playing with string, a crochet hook, crochet stitches, and mathematical growth scenarios.

The black one was made using a thick 3-ply wool, crocheted using single stitch, with exponential growth applied so that each row doubles the number of stitches that were in the previous row (2:1 ratio). The gray one was made using a 1-ply wool, crocheted using double stitch (slowing down the rate of growth), with the same rate of exponential growth as the black one. The red one is made using two colours of one ply wool, spiraling around each other. The dark red wool crocheted using a double stitch growing at a 2:1 ratio, while the bright red wool was used to slow down the exponential growth of dark red using a single stitch at a ratio of 1:1 after each row of dark red stitched. Really interesting how the ruffles end of making new circles in the red piece, emphasized by the two tones.

Monday, March 7, 2011

state of the studio

Some of the work waiting to be done in my studio:

First sample for a square scarf....

Sable Island waiting to be embroidered, warp for square scarf production waiting to be put on the loom, and lots of white cotton waiting to be warped and dyed...

Piled crochet islands, more embroidery to be done in the disappearing shorelines piece, and scarves to be woven for a big order going to the Craft Council of NL in April.

New to me stash, delivered by my friend Jenny yesterday as she was attempting to downsize her yarn collection. So much potential.