The light has to be just so and your viewing angle must be perfect to see it. The labour of a spider, the web of entrapment is a mesmerizing piece of detail and finery that humans cannot reproduce.
If you think it can’t be done than you are absolutely right.
If you are sure it can’t be done then it will never happen.
I am always thinking about where I will take the rug studio in the next few years.
Metaphorically that is.
What direction? What is the next project?
And I need to remember that if you believe it can happen, then it will.
This sign on the highway is a great reminder of that.
Last spring, Laurie Glenn, who works with me said,”You should have one of those signs on the highway.”
I answered, “I tried to do that but I could not get it. So I am not going there.”
Then I came into my office and I thought. If you think it cannot happen, than it won’t happen.
I decided that it had been years since I tried. I called the Department of Tourism.
I learned that maybe I could have a sign.
Then I did a little dance.
I thanked Laurie for pushing me.
Then I did a little jig…just another kind of dance.
Then I waited for weeks and months until I heard that yes I could get a sign.
Then I waited for months for the sign to get put up. As soon as it did I had oatcakes delivered to the highway garage for the guys who put up my sign. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Then I danced again.
Then a few weeks later I went out and had my picture taken under it. I looked so small…like a little fairy girl standing beside it.
Then the little fairy girl did a little dance, and her little fairy friend took pictures as cars zoomed by wondering what those fairy fools were up too.
Then the fairy girl got in her truck and drove back to Amherst and on the way she turned into herself again and she realized something.
She learned that if she had to keep thinking that she could not have that sign then she would never have. She realized that if you think something won’t come true, than it won’t.
But the big thing she realized is that you have to work at it.
And that when you try, magic happens.
Sometimes that magic might not be exactly what you imagined it to be but sometimes it is just what you thought or even better.
So this little revelation is one I am carrying with me today and into the future.
Because if it can happen for me, it can happen for you.
It can happen for the people we love.
It can happen for our communities.
It can happen.
You have to believe it….but you also have to work at it.
I am two things, actually, like all of you I am many things. People are this lovely combination of many interests, ideas, values, loves and passions. That is what makes them so interesting. What makes them so beautiful. For most of us though a few things stand out.
Myself I am an artist and an entrepreneur. I like creating, whether it is a rug as art, or a job for a woman in my community. It is still making. I can see it. It is real.
Sometimes people wonder why I started a woman’s clothing store. They ask it like it is oddest thing I could have done. This morning I came up with one of the answers. It is about beauty. I think that most people like to feel beautiful. They like to feel good about themselves.
I have loved clothes since I was a little girl and they came second hand as my cousin’s hand me downs in bags from my Aunt in St. Johns. I have always enjoyed picking out what I was going to wear “where”. I remember my life in outfits, my polka dress that I wore to my sister’s wedding when I was three, my gold knit suit on the first day of school, my navy paisley skirt for the speech contest in grade seven, the tan jacket I was wearing the night I met my husband. It goes on. You have your own list I am sure.
Clothes to me are more than just stuff. They can help transform the way I walk, the way, the way I hold myself, the way I feel. Call me shallow. I don’t care. I love a pair of high heels and a bit of lipstick. They are another layer of ornament and decoration, another way of creating beauty. I love working with women and reminding them to reframe the way they speak and feel about themselves as they buy clothes. At 30 Church Women’s Clothing, there are no saggy arms, or fat arses, instead they just part of us, the way we are, and none of us are perfect. We are built for beauty if we want it. We just have to choose it.
I feel that this love of beauty is no different than my love of beauty across the street at my studio. At the rug hooking studio I try to make the wool the best it can be. When I come up with some little sketch, I dress it up with ornamentation and colour and texture. I try to make the most of what I have just like I want the woman who is getting dressed across the street to make the most of what she has. We all have something, we just have to see it and make the best of it. Beauty is what I seek.
So these two things I do, one across the street from each other are really not that different after all. My belief that beauty matters carries the same weight in either place. I am not foolish enough to believe that clothes make the woman, but I am certain that the woman can make the clothes.
I know that the birds in the trees and the flowers in the field are dressed more beautifully than any of us. Yet I believe that I was put here to create beauty everyday, in any way that I can, and that sometimes two things that do not seem to belong to each other are really very integral.
So I cross the street over and over again each day because I believe that beauty matters and that it needs to be redefined, so that as women, and as artists, we can own it.
Why do you do it? Why do you live in a small town?
It is not a question I ask myself because the honest truth is I just found myself here. I never decided to live in a small town. Life does not happen that way for many of us. We live where we live for all kinds of reasons. It might be love, it might be family, it might be work.
Myself I just responded to what came up, love and family then turned into work, which turned into art, then turned into business.
It was never written in a journal. It was never dreamt up. It just simply happened.
There is so much pressure these days to plan out a great life. To seek abundance, to be more, to seek out your dreams, to be the most you can be.
Yesterday I saw a chalkboard that said, “Do something amazing every day.”
Really? How about “Do your dishes everyday.” or maybe “Pack your lunch everyday.”
Maybe just, “Be kind to others.”
I get a lot done but there is no way I can do something amazing everyday.
It makes me think about our studio motto, “create beauty everyday”…let me assure when I say that I mean that a sandwich can be a beautiful thing. I also mean that tidying your sock drawer can be too. Don’t take any pressure from me, beauty is surely in the tiniest of things.
I keep seeing journals with things like “Live your dreams ” written on it. They scare me. I’d rather a blank one so I can write in it things like…”I made macaroni for supper. We were out of cheese so I just ate it with butter. Yum.” I don’t need pressure from inanimate objects around the house.
Even my “think” sign sometimes gets on my nerves.
No one tells you you can end up being an artist and business person just by responding to what comes up. No one seems to say that if you live in a place where the people you love are then you will feel safe and comfortable and you might take a few more risks. People don’t seem to like to say that you can carve an opportunity out in any place.
We so easily forget the little things, that really are the foundation for the big things. You can’t just “dream” cause the cover of the book tells you to. The conditions have to be right.
Everywhere I look there are quotes telling you to seek, to shine, to grow.
Yesterday I saw a box that ” Stuff I pretend is important.” I was tempted to buy it just because it was honest. I didn’t.
Believe me, I love change and growth. I think it is important to dream. I just don’t want pressure to do those things because pressure to do those things is exactly what can stunt it.
“It is okay to flounder.”
“Say your prayers.”
“It can happen anywhere.”
For two years I worked on a knitting book with Megan Ingman’s help. I started out as one idea and over time morphed. I had made all the designs with Megan’s help, done the knitting and written the manuscript.at some point Megan decided that she could not co author it with me and we agreed that I would go ahead with it alone. So the bookstarted out as one thing and morphed into something else.
I even had a publisher all lined up. Last week we were ready to the photography and I just felt that I needed to call it off. I felt as if in doing the book I was not following my spirit so I had to call a halt.
Everything was good with it. Megan and I remain good friends even though she does not work here anymore and the book was ready to go. I just felt that for some reason I could not define I did not want to go ahead with it. It was one of those things that was seemingly right but something was niggling at me about it so I let it go. I stepped back, and in doing that I felt relieved. Sometimes there is no answer about what direction you should go in. There is no arrow, or well defined path. You just have to sift your way through. I have learned that in saying no, or sometimes in stepping back I feel as much as freedom as I do in saying yes and moving forward with something that really excites me.
I cannot tell you why I changed my mind about doing a knitting book exactly. I can tell you however that when you say not to one thing it opens up room for more of another thing. Right after I decided to move on I picked out some lichen and lace yarn and started a new knitting pattern for a shawl to match my new boots. The colour is day lily, and really at night I just want to knit that shawl, and it makes me happy. Sometimes you just need to bring simplicity back into your life. Projects can be tempered and tamed down. Dreams can still happen they just might be different than you anticipated.
When I’m driving downtown and heading east on Jasper Avenue I say a little prayer to the traffic light gods as I approach the 121st street intersection. I’m not wishing for a green light as you might expect, instead I have my fingers crossed for a red light so I can stop and face the 1960 built Jasper House apartment building. High on a smooth facade sits a sculpted mural I never tire of looking at. It’s stunning and dramatic like a beautiful brooch on a sleek column dress.
I love the collage of colourful squares set atop a doodle of line work. It’s a contraction with lines that look so delicate and threadlike yet stand strong and endure the elements year after year. The shadows intrigue me as much as the piece itself and create a playful kinetic quality.
It was created by Quebec artist Jordi Bonet (1932 -1979). He was a painter, muralist and sculptor. Although he primarily worked in Quebec, his works are peppered across Canada in places like a metro station in Montreal,Quebec or a mural in Moncton, New Brunswick to name a few spots. Often his work is integrated into our landscape and daily routines and because of that we relate to it differently I think. It seeps into our soul and intellect from a different angle compared to when we go to a gallery or museum with an intent to view and analyze. This piece in particular opened my eyes to all the little known gems that live without fanfare in our cities and towns yet offer so much. I’ll let Jordi Bonet have the last word in this post. I’m always moved by this quote.
To often we work in solitude, far from the fields of action where our destiny can blossom, towns are built around us but we are not there. Yet art is as at ease in the streets and public places, as in the museums, it is the collective richness of all men, everyone has a right to find it in their homes, in the objects they use, everywhere in the country where they live.
If as artists, we must express the anguish of our tormented civilization, then our work must, above all, express hope and what we will become.
Close our eyes, open our minds, see
“Art is the scripture of visions to come”
Saturday August 15th is our annual festival
the Beckwith Bash
I believe it’s the 7th edition
over the years our crowd has grown
some years we get a big crowd
some years we get less
no matter what we always have a fantastic line up of musician
early comers can join in a yoga session
it is hosted in live dome that my boys built a few years back
talk about connecting with self and nature
my friend and yoga instructor Mary has graciously lead that practice for three years now
it’s a lovely way to start off
the stretch is followed by a drum circle
this time on the lounge
calling in the people
getting good vibes echoing through the grounds
when the music starts it goes and goes
only to break with a spell of spoken word and story telling
every year we try something new
we’ve had belly dance, circus act, hula hoop workshop
something for all
if you are in Nova Scotia this week end and are looking for a good time
do join us Saturday
gates open (there are no gates) at 2pm
yoga at 3
music starts at 4:30
full schedule and details can be found HERE
have a good week
ps. I will most likely not blog next Sunday
foggy morning, fishcakes and biscuits, company over
my blog is a little late today
I visited Gail this week
Gail, in legal term, is my mother in law
in my term she is a friend
I thought Gail would be a good person to interview for my age series
she will be 77 this year
you may think: she’s 76, don’t need to age her faster
no, but the thing is, Gail cares more about the sound of the number then the meaning we might associate it with
and so 77 sounds much better then 76
actually, really, Gail loves double digits
so far, in the few interviews that I have done, there have been reactions regarding age;
mind association that connects age with physical and mental abilities
beauty, energy, hopes and dreams, curiosity, interest …
often I hear concerns, at any age, be it 20, 30, 40
fear, unmet expectations
our own or others
trying to keep up with the time
and the time ticking
The interesting thing with Gail is that age seems like an irrelevant word.
“ 77, what about it ? Nothing ! I’m grateful; I love double numbers.”
When does one become old?
“ It’s a mental attitude, an outlook …
I find it’s enriching because the wisdom is with age,
because of past experiences …
You have great memories of past experiences and that keeps you young,
in thought, mind …
Then I am just grateful;
I’m still able to be independent, and that’s everything.
Being a woman, when you go through menopause that’s the beginning of getting old
and you know it, you feel it, you sense it
you know your limits little by little
and the thing is not to give into your limits because you’ll loose all that muscle
muscle disappears quickly and you want to keep your muscle more or less ”
Time or age never affected you?
“ No, I had a lot of desires so I just went…
I never needed a lot of comfort, I didn’t need to have luxury.
You can be very vain about your body, your face and your living style
and I don’t think I was enhanced with vanity. “
the conversation will keep going
what inspires me with Gail is her will power
whatever Gail wants, Gail gets some way or another
she has lived and is living her life just like she wants
she has embraced an innumerable amount of projects
art, travel, work
she is creative, curious, passionate
she is demanding to herself and others
and is incredibly generous
her life has been and remains full
Next project? : “ my goal is when I’m 80 I’ll go to Cuba “
I love it
With Craft Year 2015 in full swing here in Canada there’s lots going on in provincial Craft Councils and communities nationwide to celebrate. The Alberta Craft Council recently opened their Language of Craft group exhibit which I’m very happy to be participating in with a new piece of work.
This exhibition’s “call for entry” piqued my interest when it asked “What does Craft mean to you?” Craft is a word with a wide arc of meanings and values so the opportunity to clarify and explore my own thoughts compelled me to apply.
Even though I can be quite content to work and create in my own little nest, I push myself to invest in a small number of show opportunities that resonate and offer a seed for growth. I’ve come to realize the exhibition process is an important part of my creative development even if I don’t always make the cut.
I’m attracted to exhibits that inspire me to take my visual language in different directions and I don’t mind letting a thought provoking exhibit theme drive the bus. It was after a deeper dive into my own thoughts on Craft that I surfaced with the inspiration for the show piece, Maker’s Mark. It draws it’s title from the British practice of stamping gold and silver work to denote who made it.
Maker’s Mark, Diane Krys, 2015 The details in a piece of Craft work are richly embedded with the unique hand and story of it’s maker. This piece may look like a cloud of white texture punctuated with splashes of colour yet on closer inspection it’s a mosaic of individual characters, each one imprinted with a fragment of myself and my experiences.
A “call for entry” can also be a call for experimentation. This concept for this piece challenged me to work with a large number of multiples, 100 to be exact, and to build a flexible sculpture that allowed for different configurations. Future explorations are percolating.
Since I do work quite independently exhibiting feels like taking a field trip complete with a party a.k.a. an artist’s reception where I can connect with other artists, friends, family and interested viewers. Participating in a show creates a different kind of dialogue for me and my work. I delight in those moments when this new context has me seeing things in a new light.
I’ll leave you with a few quotes from the show and a question…What does Craft mean to you?
Thanks for stopping in- see you next month!
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After a memorable stay in the desert (I missed last week’s blog for lack of internet but you will find a post on that experience here if you like) we are now in Taroudant, a town that the locals call “the small Marrakech”. We got off the bus two days ago after a long ride through more Atlas where stunning scenery of mountains and valleys, dry river beds, oasis, herds of sheep, dusty road stands with colorful potteries kept us entertained. The landscapes in these parts are rugged and beautiful.
As we got off the bus I started looking for a taxi when Thami, upon asking me where we were staying, offered us directions then took upon himself to lead us there and carry some of our luggage. When I offered Thami a tip for his service he promptly refused, welcoming us to his town and offering us to take a horse drawn carriage ride with him for a tour of the city the next morning at a very reasonable price. Why not. We’ve never done that.
If there is something I have to learn about morocco it’s to be open to whatever the day will give (or lead to). The ride with Thami didn’t last an hour as I had expected, it took most of the day. Not only did he show us the city rampart where here and there we hopped off to climb, get a good view and take photos (he knew of all the good spots for pictures) but he made us visit the souk and of course some shops. Now the nice thing about visiting shops with a tour guide is that you are made to feel that there is no obligation or pressure to buy anything. Have a look, ask questions, take pictures.
We visited a women cooperative where several products are made from the argan nut. I already had bought argan oil in Fes so there was no need for more. We visited a jewelry shop and there, since this region is famous for this art, and because we had not indulged yet, Charlotte and I splurged. We went into an ancient synagogue transformed into a art shop where I saw the biggest carpet show room I had seen yet on this trip along with several rooms filled with ancient and new art from Morocco and other African country.We might as well have stepped into Ali Baba’s cavern. I knew nothing there was within my budget but oh my, what a feast for the eyes.
We saw mountain of spices at the market, and several other small artisan shop. But what took the main part of our tour was yet another carpet shop owned by one of Thami’s relative. Soon after we got in and as a gentleman was about to show us some carpets (tea already on it’s way) we did let them know that we had already bought carpets and blanket earlier on the trip. In fact, that was the heavy piece of luggage that Thami helped us carry the night before. No problem my friends, just have a look, no need to buy.
Of course you know what is next. Next comes an array of beautiful thin blankets made of camel hair and cactus fiber. They are light and roll up to almost nothing. When will I ever have a chance to acquire such beauty. We ponder, we do not have enough cash, I plead that we must go back to the hostel and get a credit card if we are to make a purchase. I think that really we should finish our tour first. The gentleman doesn’t settle for that. It is Friday, couscous day, why don’t you join us for couscous. Finish the tour then come eat with us. Hum, homemade couscous is an invite no one should refuse. We agree, we finish the tour, we come back. I know already that we will get those blankets. After couscous and more tea we not only get three but four blankets.
Maybe because we are not good at bartering, maybe because we spend time, maybe because tourism is low at the moment, who knows, not only our gentleman lowers the price a little but he trows in a few cushion covers to go with the blankets and give Eric a Fatima hand for his mom. Hands are shaken, shukran (thank you) exchanged, we are all happy with our day. Moroccans depends on tourism and will do their best to give you a good time. I have seen here some of the most beautiful craft / art there is. Generation of men and women have passed down their skills from fathers to sons, mothers to daughters, and most of what you see has been made by hard working hands.
Thanks to Thami and extended family for a great day yesterday.
Here are some photos for you textile and art lover!
ps. one more thing, we visited Amoon, a collaborative of Berber women in Taroudant today, there was one rug that was hooked!
Here is their website: anmoon.com
If you ever visit Taroudant do visit their shop.
from the archives…
Dear Diary, While my daughter bagged groceries for her hockey team last Saturday I was held captive at the local grocery store. I had a book, but still….
After a half hour of standing I went for a walk. I keep my camera with me now almost all the time so when I found myself in the floral shoppe, I said, “Well there is beauty everywhere, even in the most mundane places.”
Who would think these photos were from the grocery store? Orchids, tulips, roses, gerber daisys, they were all there to touch, smell and see. So I got out my camera and passed the time. When you are forced to be somewhere you begin to see things differently, look at things more closely. I felt a little weird with a big old camera in the neighborhood grocery store but you know, you just have to get over yourself if you want to make stuff. It’s natural to worry what other people think but it’s not good to worry so much you stifle yourself.
So I put that strap around my neck, and started shooting the flowers close up. I just decided that if someone wanted to roll their eyes at me, they could go ahead. My sister used to cross her eyes when she was little for fun, to torment my mother. My mother used to say, “Wilhelmina, if the wind changes while you are doing that, they’ll stay crossed forever.” So I just hope that the eye rollers know the risk they’re taking. No one wants their pupils stuck up under their lids if the wind changes.
The thing is, no one really cares what you are at. They might like to observe it ,judge it, even roll their eyes about but essentially they know that you are you, and they are them, and that we are all really up to our own devices. So if you want to haul out a sketch book, a camera, a rug hook, some knitting needles, go for it. Be yourself, and let everyone else be themselves.
On the ferry we saw the edge of the Rif mountains
looking for a culture shock
looking for extra heat
we had been told many things
the cabs, the haggling, the food, the art, the hospitality
go to: Chefchaouen, Fes, Marrakech
do this, don’t do that
it won’t be much warmer
we experienced the cab first thing
an old Mercedes
the grand taxi
from Tangier port to the city
a good half hour drive
as soon as we step out a young boy is offering us direction
I know where I am going
I have my map
it’s around the corner
still he is one step ahead of me
pointing to where I am going
I tell him I have no money
which is true, I will need to find a bank first thing to get some local change
it doesn’t make any difference
one step ahead of me he goes
we’re at the hostel
still the boy and now another one are waiting around for us to be done with checking in
they want to take us to their uncle or other relative for dinner
we are exhausted and just want to settle in
it has been a long day
the clerk who knows them shoos them off
welcome to Morocco
Next day Chefchaouen or like people say Chaouen
the blue city
the Medina (the old city) is so pretty
just big enough to think you may get lost
but really, small, so you don’t
cats are everywhere
most of them look good
I think it’s a good sign
our hosts at the Riad are most welcoming
our house is your house
we venture around
I click away
every door, every step
every shade of blue
catches my eye
there are shops everywhere
everything is beautiful
I don’t dare let my eye linger too much
the vendors know
they will catch me
once your caught it’s hard to get out
eventually I get caught
come to see this carpet shop one says
I will take you there
innocently I go
sure, let’s have a peak
we are treated the royal way
the place is large
mounds and mounds of carpets and blankets
all of them absolutely gorgeous
two men are busy picking several out to show
unrolling them on the floor
tea is offered
it’s a ritual
it’s also a trap
I really didn’t have any intention of buying anything that day
I was going to be smart and inform myself first
I had been told to bargain
I was not going to buy anything big
we are backpacking
you see where this is going
a couple hours later I came out with a large carpet
two small ones
and two blankets
did I bargain?
I couldn’t get myself to do it
the craftsmanship shown to me was so beautiful
how could I undermine it
later I felt a bit like a fool
my daughter and I, on another walk, got caught in a different shop
the vendors are so slick
like fine fisherman, they know how to hook you and slowly get you in
I am the biggest fish around
he offers prices that are way below what I just paid
I feel tired, I had enough
we manage to get out of this one empty handed
my daughter tells me what we got was way better
there is much to adjust culture wise
as a foreigner I don’t want to offend anyone
we are in Muslim country
what do I know
much to learn
we are in Fes today
biggest Medina in the world
this time we will get lost
here are some Chaouen photos
It’s tempting to talk about where I am at the moment but I may have to wait until next week for that
on Monday there was an amazing Kings parade in Barcelona
that could be a post in itself
the three kings parade is really the kids Christmas here
That’s who they write their wish list to and that’s when they get their present
the parade was magical
floats, carts, crazy rolling cars, masks, dancers
it was like a circus
Wednesday night we took the train to Grenada and arrived early the next morning
We had rented a room in the Albayzín district, I’ll call it the old quarter
from the shared roof patio of the apartment we had a fantastic view of the Alhambra which we visited the next day
What struck me the most with the old quarter was the stone work
the roads, sidewalk, pathways are all neatly laid with pebbles forming various pattern
some squares look like mosaics
everywhere you walk is like a beautiful stone carpet
it just amazed me
so much time and detail put into the common place
I felt so happy
sure I am on vacation
but I was pondering upon the effect of beauty in your everyday surroundings
the fact that everywhere you look is beautiful
that an artist, an artisan, an architect put some thought, time and effort into making something, the most common thing, like a pavement, beautiful
what does that do to one self
to walk amongst beauty everyday
it sure made me feel good
as if that was not enough
we visited the Alhambra the next day
The Alhambra is a palace and fortress complex
it is one of the most visited place in Spain
depending on the time of year you would have to reserve tickets weeks ahead to get a chance to visit it
The Alhambra is breathtaking
the outside of the buildings are rather plain
the views from the fortress let you admire the city and the snow caped mountains in the distance
eventually you get into the main palace
that’s when your jaws drops
walls and ceiling are ornate with what I thought was carved stone but turns out to be plaster
there is water flowing everywhere
there are courtyards with orange trees, pools with goldfish, palm trees that turned out to be date trees
we walked at a slow pace taking it all in
peace, beauty and serenity emanated from the place
we are now since yesterday up in the mountains near Pitres
the village we are in only has pathways, no roads for cars
we are up in the mountains on the south slope
our hosts are young artists with a lovely 4 year old daughter
I haven’t taken any pictures yet
I will save that for next week
all I can tell you is that I keep falling in love with Spain
over and over again
yesterday we went to visit the Catalonia art museum
I mostly spent time walking through the modern art exhibit
rooms and rooms of paintings, sculptures, furniture, drawings, metal work, photography you name it
the great thing was that I only knew very few of the artists
there might have been one Picasso and one Dali
of course there were some Miro
but otherwise I really didn’t know much
How refreshing and exciting to discovery all this art
here is some of it
when one doesn’t know where to start; start with highlights
Paris is already gone by and I barely said a thing busy we were soaking it up
and before Paris there was Canterbury
didn’t even mention that did I
images are worth a thousand word, I will use this
Canterbury: awe, solemnity, beauty, moved to tears when I entered the crypt
I think the sense of time, history, people, us in some ways passing through, achievement, faith, war, love, peace
I don’t know
and didn’t need to think it
the feeling was there and was enough
I loved Canterbury
later on we went back to hear the choir
we went to mass
I never go to mass
it was beautiful
the whole ceremony punctuated by a mixture of voices all tones and range mixed in unison in this huge sacred place
that was Canterbury cathedral
an overnight bus ride from London that took us on the ferry in the middle of the night
long and groggy is the feeling
in the middle of the night we go through border
the French one
I’m a little nervous again, borders tent to do that
Charlotte is ahead
the officer says “bonsoir”
she says “bonsoir”
he then says “and in the morning you say…”
She is puzzled for a second then responds “bonjour”
“and in the afternoon…”
that’s the trick question, one must know that to go through border
Charlotte answers: “bonne après-midi”
I go after Charlotte
He says: “Bonsoir”
“She looks like you”
“She’s my daughter”
the officer winks, stamps my passport, “Bon séjour”
off I go
I love France already
True things about Paris: people are not rude
or at least no more then anywhere else
also, I was under the impression that there would be dog droppings everywhere
that was an old rumor
Paris is clean, surprisingly clean
Paris highlights: everywhere you look is beautiful, the bakeries, la Seine, the multiple bridges, la tour Eiffel at night, walking and getting lost, our hosts
Paris was thrilling and exhausting
you just can’t help wanting more of it
We are now settled in a beautiful nook in Southern France
up against a cliff looking down valleys
olives trees lined up on “restanques” (dry-stone wall terraces)
a 2 km path takes us to the nearby village (and bakery)
today we’ll explore a different path that leads to a monastery
the monks are known to produce “Chartreuse” and honey
at this point in our trip we have been reunited with my son and his … fiancé!
he proposed in London about a week ago
so it’s five of us for the month in Provence
we will be clearing the orchard, helping out on the land
it is a country where thyme and rosemary grow wild
as my son said “herbes de Provence” could just as well be “weeds of Provence”
we love it
it’s been over a week
of course, as one would expect, it feels like more
in a few days we have done various tasks
painting, cooking, sewing, gardening
done carpentry (not me, that’s what the “we” is for)
London helping our first host
helpx, did I mention it yet, look it up, it’s worth a peek
That was the work part
then we did what tourists do
we visited the: London museum, the British museum and the Tower of London
we walk and walk and walk
we got caught in major tourist jam
they have a place downtown London called Oxford circus
and that’s exactly what it is
as I turn around a corner, downtown, there in front of me is Big Ben
I knew it was big but somehow it was BIG, like bigger than I thought
The British museum entrance
I like these amazing huge entrance
that are so big it makes you feel enlighten
bigger than yourself
like you can pretend for a minute that you live there
that you are that important
it doesn’t matter that you are not; it’s that awe feeling
maybe because it was built by men
cathedrals are like that
something reverential about them
Then of course all the stuff in the museum
saying “stuff” should be criminal
I shouldn’t be using that word
so all of the amazing artwork, history, artifacts, …
is also overwhelming
there’s a feeling of unease
as in why are some of these very precious, sacred relics
why are they here
in the middle of Britain
when it is written how special they are to their place of origin
I gorge on them anyway
isn’t it what we do
highlights: seeing a few live Van Gogh, Monet, Seurat, Rousseau
eating some “proper” fish and chips
888,246 ceramic poppies in the Tower’s moat
words, words that I may not use and I have to adapt to
like “subway” stand for that underground pathway that goes from one side of a street to another
if you’re looking for transportation call it the “tube” or the “underground”
You “queue” if you’re standing in line
which actually is very french as we “faire la queue” for the very same thing
all and all it’s been a lot of fun and quite incredible for country folks like we are
to be immersed in a huge city
we just arrive in Margate for a whole other week of wonder
quite different it will be
and so much to look for
talk to you soon
I recently attended a Maiwa Symposium workshop on Granville Island, Vancouver. Tilleke Schwartz’s free form, graffiti style embroidery inspired me to pick up needle and thread and try my hand. In and out of class I found a feast for my eyes and imagination.
Funny how I can get up at the crack of dawn when I’m away! What a lucky break to find myself in a room with this view of False Creek and downtown Vancouver.
Since I was up so early, I would visit the Emily Carr University of Art + Design library en route to class. It was a treat for a magazine lover like me, to indulge in the most interesting,international art, design and textile magazines imaginable.
Maiwa has also compiled an extensive collection of textiles, books and artifacts, primarily from India. It acts a resource centre and workshop space. It was wonderful to be surrounded by this rich textile history as we took in Tilleke’s presentations and worked on our own creations.
Tilleke brought a work in progress to share. Her pieces are a mind map of her wit, whimsy and response to the world. You can be familiar with something through images but there’s nothing like a personal encounter. Awesome!
I would lunch across the street at the bountiful Granville Island Market. Every basket of fruit and berries was piled meticulously to a perfect peak; it made for a stunning “fruitscape.” I thought this attention to detail was like the repetition of a tiny plain stitch to create larger,dynamic rhythms and patterns. Clearly, I had stitching on the brain.
I never knew what would catch my attention walking back to the hotel after class. It might be a piece of art or a guy making giant bubbles with a couple of sticks and a string. I was as mesmerized as the kids in this photo. I couldn’t help thinking of Janet Echelman’s aerial sculptures as the bubble moved and morhped.
Friends picked me up for dinner one night and we went out for Italian food tapa style. I love sharing plates and sampling-you get to try so much more on the menu! Isn’t it lovely when food looks so artful and appetizing.
On an after school excursion I whipped over to Knit City,Vancouver’s big knitting event. CaterpillarGreen was a find. Their hand dyed self striping yarns are ingenious.
I had the last day to myself so I decided to visit the Museum of Anthropology. They have an extraordinary collection of First Nation totem poles,art and artifacts, as well as, other ethnographic collections. I’m always awed by the quiet dignity and magnificence of totem pole carvings but the simplicity of these Haida bentwood boxes is also beguiling.
Given I had just spent a few days stitching, I was drawn to the needle work in their collections. Somebody please stop me if I ever want to take up making bobbin lace!
This bright, little piece of Ukrainian embroidery touches on my own paternal Ukrainian heritage. There are so many stories, connections and history in textiles. I feel a tenderness for it’s hand stitching; the variances all show the maker’s hand and soul.
I’m home now with a suitcase full of laundry and a mind full of new ideas. It’s a good trade. It’s refreshing to take in the thoughts and ideas of another artist, try out a few new techniques and breath in the culture of another city. Vancouver was trip to savour during the cold months ahead.
Years ago I was at the Grand Pre Winery in Nova Scotia and I was blown away by the stone work around the restaurant there. It was shaded with vines and made you feel as if you might be far away. This summer we had some stone work done at my place and now I feel like my yard is a far a way place also. I look out there and I can hardly believe it is my yard. So beautiful.
Eric Fresia, the husband of Catherine Bussiere, who blogs here on Sundays, did the work by hand. Art comes in all kinds of forms. Eric is an artist, as both a musician and a stone mason, he transforms things like artists do. In the past weeks I have been as busy as I have ever been. I love it mind you. I leave the house in the morning and come back at five or six knackered but happy. While I am away Eric has ben working on this puzzle in my back yard. Stone by stone. When I got home last night at 9:30 from a clothing show, it was done. There it was all laid out, piece by piece, a path to my grape vine, the barn, and my woodshed , set up like a little patio. In my own back yard. I’ll send the completed pictures another time, for now you can see the work in progress below.
I think when ever we set out to build something it is important that we do it as beautifully as we can. Whether it be a simple pathway, a lowly woodshed, it does not matter. An artist’s eye cultivates beauty. It can be just as simple to make things beautiful as it is to make things unsightly.
I am really happy with my little stone yard. I dare say, it’s like a little courtyard even. Tonight after work I am going to fire up the coal barbecue on that stone and cook a nice supper. It makes me happy that I was ab;e to work with another artist to create a bit of beauty back there. Every time I walk out the door , drive in my yard, or look out the window I think…”beautiful”.
Things might as well be lovely.
As I sit here on a Monday morning in my office I see many small projects that need attending to, yet the only thing I think I really want to do is hook a rug so that is what I’ll do. I think I will put on something small because we have hardly any small rugs left in the studio right now. I want to always make sure that there is something here for everybody and that my pieces are affordable. It is something I have always managed to do.
We are in the process of creating a new Making Time Journal . It will be Volume two. You can get a sneak peek of it below on my desk. It is exciting to see a second volume come to fruition. Mary Williams has done much of the selecting and editing for it. It is a perpetual calendar and we are creating it rather than a yearly calendar this year. It has a little space beside each day for you to write a little note, or keep your calendar, keep track of birthdays etc. Each week there is a new writing and an image.
We also just got a new online lesson ready, it is a swimmers workshop! This one will include a downloadable pattern. So keep your eyes peeled for the new online course on the Swimmers. Last week we had a real live swimmers course in the studio. Everyone made each swimmer someone they knew or remembered so it was fun to see the personalities develop through out the day.
Many of you have been asking about Thirty Church, The Women’s Store. We are busy trying to get our inventory in and ready but it is coming in slower than we’d like. There are somethings we do not have control over. It is frustrating waiting but twit we must. We are in the process of making a webpage for it so you’ll see what great clothes we have and you can shop online if you like.
So as it rains outside I am here writing you a note, thinking of what rug I might put on my frame, and honestly, thinking about my lunch!
You can’t be inspired all the time. It is ok to be hooking, writing, or creating and thinking about your lunch.
Take it from someone who knows.
With a title like that you might be thinking this is going to be about some wild party or a cautionary tale but it’s not. It’s starts with a safe, responsible drive home though the countryside. On this drive there was a beautiful quality of light where a sunny summer prairie sky was transitioning to evening. My husband was at the wheel and I happened to have my camera on hand. I was moved by the light and the passing landscape so I poked my camera out the window every so often and snapped.
At home I sorted through the blurry and nondescript. I didn’t create any jaw dropping photos but I did find a few that held fragments of the strong impressions I felt. There was such stillness in the landscape it seemed surreal; almost like we were driving through a diorama. The colours were smooth and flat and the whole landscape distilled into simple colours,shapes and forms.
The simplicity of the photos brought my thoughts to the late abstract painter, Richard Diebenkorn’s work. A genius painter’s work and random amateur photos don’t compare but there was a kind of reduction that connected these disparate things for me. After reading a bit about him and exploring his paintings a few months ago I found myself especially mesmerized by the way he captured a delicate space and balance between realism and abstraction in his landscapes. Perhaps it was looking at his work months ago that brought my awareness to these recent moments where a row of old granaries fused into a singular graphic shape. The light at the time of our drive seemed to bath the scenery in a way that removed the extraneous details and left the essence. Perhaps that’s what my subconscious was really responding to when I felt compelled to randomly stick my camera out the window.
That how artistic influences work I think. We may take things in with one intent but we actually have no idea if or how they will expand our mind or views down the road. Often we’re not even conscious when we are under their influence. Influences can be like new windows lined up and waiting in your mind; poised to give you a new view at unexpected moments like when you’re driving through a landscape you’ve experienced many times before and suddenly it feels different.
Sitting in front on my computer with Diebenkorn back on my mind, I took these thoughts a step further and played around with my photographs. A horizontal landscape turned vertical further removes it from reality. There can be a completely new story in a different orientation. It can be a story about process and mining imagery in a new way or it could be a view to the essence of something once it’s stripped of preconceived ideas. I think it’s possible for someone to drive around the world and never really see anything new and yet, you can sometimes find a whole new world on a small stretch of familiar road.
Thanks for stopping in!
I have a new post on my Diane Krys Studio blog, “A Western Wedding”
Why do writers put pen to paper?
Why does a painter put a brush to a canvas?
Why does a baker mix flour with his hands?
Why does a rug hooker slice perfectly good wool into strips and hook them?
Why does a knitter buy hand dyed yarn at twenty bucks a skein to make a scarf?
We all know the answer.
It is because we must. We are compelled.
There is something in the hand work that we cannot find anywhere else.
It is soothing, a time to let go of cares, or a time to figure them out.
It just depends on the project of the moment.
Now I have two things, knitting and rug hooking.
Knitting is a past time and rug hooking is a passion.
Well I knit when I gather with people or talk, or watch tv.
I make small simple functional things.
I don’t have to think a lot about the projects.
Rug Hooking is mostly more complicated for me than that.
I like to work quietly figuring out the colour and texture like a puzzle.
I usually have some idea I want to express.
I am more invested because I see it as art.
Knitting is creative but it is not how I express myself .
It is just how I make things.
Both I find compelling.
Both draw me in.
Both I need to do.
Like a baker needs to bake,
like a painter needs to paint,
like a maker needs to make.
there is plenty going on in August
people getting married, trips, reunions, festivals
do you know about the Beckwith Bash
I did mention it last August and now a whole year has gone by
yes, the time has come again
yoga, drums, music, gumbo, baklavas
there is a lot to do but it’s a lot of fun and it’s next Saturday
on our property in Beckwith
On my to do list:
make roux (for the gumbo)
get the art shack ready for kids
if you are in Cumberland County it’s worth a drive
look for the yellow signs in Port Howe
and outside of Oxford
for the line up and more info click Beckwith Bash
Yesterday I took the day off and drove to the island for pleasure. Long country drives. A little city shopping downtown looking at art and then a stop at Victoria by the Sea. Two nice meals out. Good company , a lovely day.
Then this morning I slept a bit late, took my walk, phoned my friend Lily for a chat and wandered into the studio. I was stunned for a second when I walked in the door. There was a big black iris on the back wall. I had hung it on Tuesday and liked what I saw but this morning after a day away I was surprised by the beauty of it. It was like seeing it for the first time.
I looked twice as I rounded the corner to come in to the studio. I saw the iris like someone else , someone who did not make it. Suddenly I was taken aback by it’s beauty. This happens only once in a long while but I can tell you it is worth the wait.
When we make things we are close to them. They are familiar and the familiarity gets in the way of really seeing things as they are. When I started this rug I had an image in my head of a single iris on a coral diamond background. The coral diamonds felt too much like Kaffe Fassett’s work so I had to change that. He had just been here when I started the project. It was Brandon Mabley who said, Imagine your work as a big black iris. His comment made me want to see it for real. So this piece was influenced by their visit yet I did not want to make it reminiscent of their work, but of my own. It is a tricky balance. You want to have influences . It is how you grow, but you do not want to imitate. Imitation stifles me. It is only good as a practice as a way to learn. When you want to show yourself and the way you see things imitation will not work. For this you must find your own way .
I hooked the coloured diamonds because I thought the iris would be too serene just on a white ground and I was right. It is called Iris in the Rough because where I was a child irises grew in the ditches. I have always been surprised that they were so beautiful growing in such a rugged spot. It is a metaphor of course, like so much art.
When I feel this way I am so grateful. It must be the way a writer feels after a great sentence, or a guitar player after a great riff. Satisfaction in creating art only comes once in a while. When it does you’d be a fool not to be thankful.
Sometime in the eighties I came across the work of Kaffe Fasset and like most of the people who see it I was stunned. Over the years I ran into it again and again and always I was inspired when I saw it. Mostly , like an artist I wanted to deconstruct it. I looked at the layers of colours , the materials used and tried to see how he did what he did. That is how artists often look at other artists work.
After reading his biography, A Life in Colour, in 2012, when Megan Ingman asked me if we could bring anyone to town, without hesitation I said Kaffe Fasset. His biography told the story of his life and his art and I was interested in meeting him. I liked the way he created so much and there was so much abundance in his work. I knew he had to work fast and instinctually and that is the kind of artist I am most interested in. I was not dissapointed.
I think that if anyone has any questions about craft being art Kaffe Fasset has already answered them in his work. He is an artist with a vivid imagination. He makes knitting art. It was great to have him in town for five days. He did a talk on Friday night with a slideshow at the Baptist Church. Because of the stained glass windows and the evening light filtering in we could not see the colour as well but that was no fault of theirs. Still people had a good time. He talked mainly about his inspiration for colour and how he found it .
The bonus of having Kaffe is that Brandon Mabley his studio partner joined him on this tour. Brandon is as astute and sensitive an artist as I have ever met. He sees and he does, it is as simple as that. Together they create art quilts, needle point, rugs, paintings, drawings, knitting, the list goes on. They have been partners in the studio for nearly twenty five years and they work together daily with immense respect for each other.
The following four days were workshops. Three on Colour with Kaffe and Brandon and one on knitting with Brandon. Before they came to town I had no assumptions about how it might go. I just assumed they were artists who when not teaching would want to do their own thing. My job was to get them here so they could do the workshops. It turned out that my job was also to feed them, and in doing so I got to enjoy their company every night. We’d eat a good home made supper at my house then sit and do handwork for an hour or two. It was lovely.
The workshops themselves used rag rugging as they refer to it to help you understand colour. What they wanted was to help people identify colour and use it in their mats freely and easily. They were not the typical workshops we are used to where it is a bit of a free for all. One woman said, “You just have to be ready for it, this is a workshop with a true artist, not someone from your local guild.” Those were her words not mine!
I knew what she meant. You were working in the presence of a master, some who had devoted his whole life to colour and textiles. It wasn’t just a hobby for him it was the meaning of his life. He used textiles art to express himself, to create meaning in his life, to show himself to the world. Together they played a good cop , bad cop role with Kaffe being the task master and Brandon softening the blows. They wanted people to get right down to work. They played lively music through out the day and they discouraged talking. As Brandon said in his knitting workshop, “Don’t ask the woman next to you, ask me, that’s why I am here.” He explained to me that he wanted people to get into their projects and he did not want their rhythm to be interrupted. They worked hard all day. It was the same in the colour workshops, they discouraged chatting, no time was wasted with introductions and where you are from, they just got right down to business. It was a workshop about being an artist because that is what being an artist is really like. You put your head down and go at it, diligently and sometimes with fervour. You work alone mostly and you let the rhythm of your work and the colours lead you.
This was a shock for some who have attended. As rug hookers we are used to a gab fest. Kafffe and Brandon really promoted a quiet environment where you worked diligently along. The harder and faster you hooked the happier they were. Everyone agreed it was an experience, and the majority loved it. A few were taken aback or imagined that it would be different. Most people who came had been planning it for almost a year. It was an event in our community and I am proud that I got to host it. Just spending the day with someone who has contributed so much to creativity in textiles was the experience. As one participant Sally Austin said, “Really, it is just about hanging out with Kaffe.” If you read his books you would quickly learn that the way the workshop was presented was how he works himself. He looks outside of himself for colour and pattern inspiration and that is what he was trying to inspire the participants to do.
For me I can tell you it was a beautiful week because I got to spend time with two great artists who know so much about the textile industry. They were generous and sharing of their thoughts and ideas. They were easy to please and to feed. On the third night I said, “Tomorrow I can get you lobster.” They said , ” Sure.” but as the conversations continued it came out that they’d be just as happy with chicken. They did not want to put me out and did not need a fuss. Chicken it was. I liked that very much. Simplicity and ease.
The week was an definitive experience for everyone who particpated , including me. I learned stuff. On the last night when Brandon and Kaffe took Megan and Denny out to dinner we were talking about knitting and I said something about my yarn getting tangled, Kaffe, the tall man that he is was standing over the table and in a very firm and clear voice he pointed at me and said , “You need to read my book.” Then he held out his strong arms about two feet apart, and admonished me, “manageable lengths…it’s in the book, manageable lengths.” I heard him, it made practical sense, and I smiled. There I was being bossed around by Kaffe Fasset.
Brandon is leaning in about to offer some advice. One woman said she got up from her chair. When she cam back she found Brandon hooking on her piece.
Erin Mckenna and Susan Morin working away.
Charlene was lost in her work. That is what they were aiming for, trying to get people to that “flow”
Celia Charlton finished her piece in record time…Kaffe and Brandon kept chanting hook faster. They were not worried about the loop but the whole. Kaffe is looking on at a someone else’s work.
The Cape Breton Contingent are hearing what he has to say. They were ready for it. What a marvellous group they were.
Brandon jumps in after Kaffe has his two cents worth. We laughed because Brandon would say one thing, then Kaffe another. It was part of their charm and honesty, confusing but the truth is you ultimately have to decide for yourself what goes here in your piece.
my daughter and I had a delightful time at Kaffe Fasset’s presentation the other night
what a fantastic feat to be able to get such inspiration in our little town
the things I took home from Fasset’s presentation is that inspiration is everywhere
in your garden, in that old faded rug, at the flea market
it’s about having your eyes open
having an urge to create
to process what you see and put it into your own creation
it is for everyone
everyone who dares
it is not limited to the educated
it does not have to be thought out
it just is for whoever wants to embark and do
it may takes years
it may take a moment
it does not matter
the church was full on Friday evening
filled with people who makes art and craft
what a soothing sight
thanks Deanne and Megan and everyone at “this world class shop” to keep engaging people to create beauty everyday
Abstract: existing in thought or as an idea but not having a physical or concrete existence
can abstract be a feeling
can I be feeling abstract today
this word is imposing itself as I sit down to write
I went outside this morning not knowing what my post would be about
today is the first anniversary of my sister’s passing
what does that mean anyway: today
as if any other day didn’t matter
as if abstract doesn’t apply to that situation every single day
I went out with my camera realizing I hadn’t taken any pictures in a few days
I walked around feeling rusty
it’s only been a few days
why can’t I see anything
by the pond the most simple of roses
the wild one with four or five petals
was attracting all sorts of pollen hungry critters
I like critters
I stood there for a while snapping away
guessing none would be keepers
yet, as if stretching, I clicked away
I thought about the color pink
(I really thought “rose” because that is the word used in french for both the color and the flower)
pink isn’t my color of choice
not in clothing anyway
but what a soothing and beautiful color
I went on to look for more
other roses around
I looked into them
looked at texture, hue, qualities
today framing wasn’t about representation
it reflected how I felt
without really knowing
it summed itself up
in abstract and pink
If you read my previous blogs you know that I spent some time with family in Quebec.
I’ve been back for I week now and I miss them all already.
During my stay I spent a lot of time with my nephew Eliot and my niece Léonie.
It was precious.
For them I made this short video. It’s about passion, creativity, beauty, nature. It’s a little dreamy thanks to the music by Chan Wai Fat.
The commentary, by Eliot, is in french.
Here is the translation:
“I make flies since I’m 6 or 7. It’s my dad that showed me. I like it a lot. Since then I make lots.”
“I like to know that this fly will go on the water, fish will see it. It’s fun when you catch a fish and it’s you that made the fly.”
“I like to fish because; you’re on the water, you see fish, you’re in nature, all of those things that brings you close to nature.”
“When I’m fishing… I feel like… with all my equipment, in the middle of the river… I feel good… I don’t know how to say it… I lose a bit the notion of time… I can stay there a long time… so much I like it… That’s it.”
Mary works here on Tuesdays. This week she is gone off on a short vacation. A few weeks ago she was tearing up a pile of green wool with her brightly coloured shirt on and it struck me as beautiful.
Finding the beautiful in the everyday.
Knowing it when you see it.
I am thankful for people like Mary,
who though retired likes to keeps busy, and works with me.
She is another kind of beautiful.
Having good people around you,
that support you, but tell you the truth,
reminds you that people are good
and we are lucky to live in communities
where we can help each other recognize the good
in one another.
well there’s making rugs,
cooking a little,
being a mom,
oh and being the birthday girl…that was fun
being forty nine
writing in my journal
drawing, but not enough,
planning a new book,
getting ready to proof a book newly written and due out in September,
shopping and nesting, fixing up my house a bit
smelling the roses, literally
looking closely at poppies,
searching for fireflies,
listening to the pileated wood pecker and the peepers and the waves
all in no particular order, all important.
Some years my backyard patio is chock full of blooming pots and other years I feel like I only need to plant a few for colour. For many summers my plant containers were found objects like vintage kitchen canisters or rusty buckets from my dad’s farm. I’ve even used old metal bedsprings as trellises. Lately, I’ve taken a simplified approach with a few groupings of plain terra cotta planters. My patio is not so different from the interior of my home where I like to change things up.
Our outdoor spaces are another canvas for our creativity and they can evolve over time. My back yard has dramatically changed over the years. When we realized we couldn’t keep up the giant garden we inherited we consoled ourselves with all the great farmer’s markets we could support and went for a “clearing in the woods” look by planting an abundance of hardy, low maintenance trees and shrubs. For a city space my yard might be considered over treed and a little on the wild side but I love how it attracts the birds and makes me feel like I’m living in the country instead of a hop,skip and jump from downtown.
I used to keep thriving raspberry canes in check using discarded black metal store fixtures until our maturing trees obstructed the light and dwindled the raspberry patch. I enjoyed this black tubular “sculpture” intertwined with tasty raspberries until our butternut tree grew into it’s full magnificence. We now enjoy it’s waterfall of graceful palmate leaves instead. I find it incredibly beautiful to watch nature take it’s course; the energy and vigour, and the quiet recessions. Gardening is like a call and response dance between nature’s impulses and our own; ever changing and always surprising.
I marvel when we can harmonize with nature and bring our own creativity to the mix. When I travel I love taking photographs of these artful expressions. Here’s a few photos that inspire me from trips I took to our east and west coasts. What’s going on in your garden?
I’ve launched my new blog on my new website, pop in for a visit if you have a minute!
I was out first thing this morning
the sun just at the rim of the tree line
lighting up every piece of greenery
all covered with dew
the air still fresh from the cool night
beauty filled my eyes
urgency to capture the light
isn’t it interesting how we can marvel over and over
how many times
how many blossoms
it comes again and again
yet I marvel every single time
Deanne’s Fiddleheads rug.
it’s busy time at the moment
my mom is over for a month visit
yesterday we all went to Halifax for my son’s graduation
he now holds a degree in fine arts
he’s my first to graduate from university
in a card that I gave him I was saying how proud I was
not so much (of course so much, but also) of his talent and achievements
but so happy of the man he has become
caring, attentive, responsible
It’s interesting to see kids grow
their impetuous nature
the challenges we must deal with along the way
It is spring and in this time where all is blossom and growth and promises
I feel so content to see my young man
like these blossoms
fresh, filled with potential
ready to embrace the world
Last month the Royal Alberta Museum opened it’s much anticipated Western Threads exhibit in their feature gallery. Western Threads celebrates the history of fibre art in the western provinces. The exhibit showcases the Heritage Rug Hookers of Saskatoon, Studio Art Quilt Associates (Western Canadian Branch), and a retrospective of the Focus on Fibre Arts Association’s biennial exhibitions.
It occurred to me when I was dropping my piece off for the show, the majority of this work would most likely never be shown together through normal channels. This show was mixing work from artists at different points in their careers and development, as well as, bringing together technique specific communities. It was going to be a coalescence unique to a museum setting and it filled me with curiosity and excitement.
The excitement really started a few days before the opening with a yarn bombing at the museum grounds. There was a great vibe to the event with museum staff, artists,friends and family all chipping in. It was a pop up fibre community that perfectly reflected the spirit of the exhibit.
Featured artists gathered the following day for an exhibit preview where we heard remarks from the executive director as he showed off his new fibre lingo (apparently, embroidery floss and yarn bombing are not in everyone’s lexicon!), as well as, a speaker from each of the three organizations represented in the show. Listening to the presentation I felt a great sense of pride to be part of this event and the larger fibre art community.
The Western Threads exhibit is a feast for the eyes and one I will see a few times to fully absorb. My piece, Roundabout(2007), is exhibited as part of the Focus on Fibre Arts Association’s retrospective. Roundabout’s experimental nature helped pave the road to the artwork I create today. Participating in the Focus on Fibre Arts Association biennial was also my training ground to learn and experience the “call for entry” proposal process and show my work for the first time in a juried event. All three organizations offer important developmental experiences and provide gathering points that bring various guilds, fibre artists and artisans together through their programs, events and passion for fibre art.
I believe there is great power and goodness in these “Western Threads” beyond the visual beauty so dynamically displayed in the exhibit. These threads connect us and build our sense of community enriching our lives, artwork and culture. Wherever my fibre art journey takes me, it’s comforting to know my grass roots were planted in this warm and fertile soil.
If you happen to be in Edmonton between now and August 4, I encourage you to explore Western Threads for yourself. And if you feel inspired to try your hand, they have something going on for that too!
I have a new website with images and more information on my contribution. dianekrys.com
Thanks for stopping in!
I chose the word sage, not because it grows outside my door, not because it goes great pan fried in butter over ravioli, but because t ha a dual meaning.
Sage is a herb often rolled together and burnt and used in smudging ceremonies to heal negative thoughts. That is interesting but not the reason I chose it.
Sage smells beautiful. It is a beautiful colour. More great reasons to choose it for this word rug, but not mine.
I chose it because it also means someone who imparts wisdom, and we all need a sage in our life.
The definition follows….
a profoundly wise person; a person famed for wisdom.
someone venerated for the possession of wisdom, judgment, and experience.
adjective, sag·er, sag·est.
wise, judicious, or prudent: sage advice.
1250–1300; Middle English (noun and adj.) < Old French < Late Latin sapidus wise, tasteful ( Latin: tasty), equivalent to sap ( ere ) to know, be wise, orig. to taste (see sapient) + -idus -id4
1. philosopher. 3. sagacious.
There are sages around us. We miss them sometimes because they might be getting on our nerves or trying our patience. Yes , even sages can do that.
Sometimes, about certain things we might even have sage like qualities ourselves.
Wisdom is often in the obvious. It might not be common but at the same time I do not really believe it is obscure.
It is all around us and we may need to ask ourselves if we are seeing it .
It is often in the simple things, a mother’s words or a child’s story.
ps. Our website is down we are working on it.
Friday and Saturday I went to the acadian community of Pomquet.
I had a video workshop to give to a small group of teens at the local school. I’ve never been to Pomquet before. It’s right past Antigonish, on the way to Cape Breton. You wouldn’t really know it’s there driving on the highway. It’s easy to miss.
I took a left on Taylor road to what seemed like a road to nowhere. After a few kilometers I found a good sized new looking school. It’s a primary to 12 school, one floor, two wings, brightly colored inside. Nice, nice school. Inside I found something for you: a beautiful hooked rug depicting “Le grand dérangement” which, as you may know, is when the acadian were deported.
The youth I had the chance to meet and work with were simply wonderful. Knowledgable, pleasant, talented. What a treat. And, as it is a french speaking school, I had the pleasure to lead the workshop in French. So much fun.
The first evening, before going to the local B&B I went to look at the area a little. As I approached the harbor I found a lovely community bordering the main street. The iconic Catholic church stood nicely in the middle of it. Around it a cemetery with graves dating to at least the 1800. A little further I found a beach road to the local provincial park. Originally I thought I’d grab a bite to eat at a restaurant located on the highway but the site of that beautiful empty beach enticed me to go for a walk. I had some snacks, I decided to have a little picnic on the beach.
Nova Scotia is filled with gems. Next time you visit, or if you live here already, go for a drive, take a left turn on a unassuming road, it’ll be worth your while.
Sometimes when I look back over things I have made I can hardly believe my hands were involved with it. Do you ever experience that?
These rugs were some of my first attempts at Abstract and modern design. They have all been sold except for my Chasing Klimt, the first picture you see here.
I like to review my work, whether it’s rugs , or just the growth of the studio. It makes you feel like you have been somewhere and that there are places left to go. Review is important, whether it is your sketch books, your scrapbooks, old pictures.
Our rugs sort of review our lives the way a photo album might. Instead of remembering what you were wearing you are more likely to remember how you were feeling, or what stage you were at. When you look at the design you can remember the place you were in when you were making it. You can see it by the design and colour that you used.
In these rugs I can remember the trepidation I felt venturing away from the pictorials towards more abstract design. I wondered if I was heading in the right direction. I wondered if they would ever sell, thinking…maybe not but that is no reason not to make them.
We need to look back and see where we have been to appreciate where we are.
Sometimes I forget that I started my rug hooking studio in a trunk with a two thousand dollar loan from my mother. That’s the truth.
Sometimes I forget that my first rugs were as simple as they were.
Sometimes I forget that twenty two years is a long time.
Sometimes I need to just go back over things just so I can remember.
you’ve heard them sing
you’ve seen it thaw
it’s crazy how fast a season can change
one week we are buried under a blanket of snow
and the next the narcissus are poking their noses out
I was busy in my green house yesterday getting the ground ready, planting a few seeds
lettuce, spinach, beets
early greens that I hope to munch on in a month time
this morning thinking of Easter coming up
I looked for the eggs that were decorated last year
I wrote a blog then and I will share it again
if you have some old silk ties, or scarfs, or any silk with pretty patterns on it
round up some kids, empty a dozen eggs, and be ready to be awed
oh yes: the LINK
I was out to lunch at the Art of eating Deli and brought my computer to work on the new online course I am creating. I was focused on my work . The restaurant was busy and a couple came in so I told them they could sit at my table. I kept on working and they enjoyed their lunch. It would have been easy for us to ignore each other but somehow it did not seem right not to engage in just a little conversation. I had my head down and was working so a polite smile would have done it.
The deeper we get into technology, the closer we get our laptops or our phones, the less likely we are to encounter each other. I notice it everywhere. There are no dull silences anymore because we have our phones. We don’t feel alone so we are less likely to strike up a conversation with each other. Some of you do not feel that way I know, but many of us find our phones good company. We are not plugged into the phone, but to all the people it connects us with.
Anyway today at lunch after I worked a bit and they had finished their meal I lifted my head and said, “Are you visiting?”….
and the answer was “Yes, we are here on a tour. I wrote this book about writers.”
I immediately said, “Ah I read about it…”
Happily he smiled, “Really you did?”
“Yes, tell me about your tour” I said, and he did, and his partner chimed in and told some stories too. We had a sweet visit. It made my day so much more interesting. I wanted to ask his wife what she did but I find it such a nosy question ( I hate asking that question) that I refrained. They were both charming. Full of stories about interesting things.
If I had kept my head down I would have missed having lunch with Douglas Gibson, whom Alistair Macleod once spoke about and said, “No one has done more for Canadian Literature than this man.” He is one of Canada’s most famous editor’s and publishers, former president of McClelland and Stewart, and editor/publisher to Alice Munro, Hugh MacLennan, Morley Callaghan, Mavis Gallant and a host of famous authors.
So here’s the thing…enjoy your phone or your computer
….but remember to keep your head up and engage the people around you cause it makes for a nice story when you do.
Douglas Gibson’s book is called “Stories about Storytellers” and comes out in Soft Cover on April 1, with an extra story about Alice Munro’s Nobel Prize for Literature. I plan to read it. You can visit his website here.
I like how winter is going by
days getting longer
How many minutes a day again?
only a bit (about three)
and so in a sneaky way
day by day
we get more light
I like this time of year because I can look up to things
Spring, summer, garden, heat
All things that I love are in the horizon
There is a lot penned down in my calendar for February
It’s almost surprising
Wasn’t I hibernating
This week will be my daughters birthday
how come it sounds so much more then 16
funny how numbers are
she asked me to make her a tiramisu
that in itself is rather exciting
Tiramisu is an italian dessert that involves ladies finger (the cookies), fine chocolate, mascarpone cheese (like a rich and creamy italian cream cheese), whipped cream and whipped eggs
it may involve brandy
it’s light, it’s rich, it’s scrumptious
This past Monday my son had an opening
he will be graduating from art school this year
he is a creator, a sculptor, a designer
he is a fine artist
my photos this week are from his show
it was called In(ter)action
the premise: you may touch the art
in fact it demands to be touched