“Embrace” exhibition at Hidden Garden Gallery, August 2014

On August 11th to August 16th I exhibited a showing of my recent work at the Hidden Garden Gallery in New Denver, BC . My show was titled “Embrace” and included my “Old Age Security Blanket” project, drawings in graphite and ink, as well as a collection of eco-surface designed scarves.

10631348_10153114683518709_1361948177_o copy“Old Age Security Blanket” – a slow work in progress (photo by  Isaac Carter)

From my Artist Statement:

“The word “Embrace” presented itself to me as an appropriate description of the energy I try to engage on my life’s journey and it’s expression in my art. It suggests the concept of a joining or closeness to people or experiences we encounter, and how they can change us or shape our life’s path. It also suggests for me the possibility of change through the meeting of obstacles, especially when the organic moving things of life encounter the solid or rigid structures in our path. An example of this is the economic system we are all born into and how it contributes to our personal stories. I visualize our aliveness as a moving changing energy like tree roots, river systems and blood vessels. The systems or structures we negotiate with appear in my art as a type of grid. The way we choose to embrace our obstacles and continue on our path describes the kind of change that can occur at that juncture.”

10578572_10153114686263709_1058176631_o copyStudies of roots and rocks help to inform the movement of the red lines on the blanket. (photo  by Isaac Carter)

“Embrace” is a grouping of recent work which includes an“Old Age Security Blanket”, a work in progress about my personal journey of enquiry into ideas of security, economics and growth. I am making this ‘blanket’ using found natural dye colour, pennies collected and saved in cloth and contemplation through stitching, words and drawings. An accounting ledger accompanies this piece to preserve a written record of money saved and organic thoughts collected along the way. It was the meeting of the red stitch lines and the pennies on my blanket which inspired me to explore the interaction between organic growth and solid obstacles in the natural world. The drawings of roots and rocks are a study of this interaction and they help to inform the movement of the red lines on the blanket.”

10581811_10153114685093709_1364876450_o copyMy “Old Age Security Blanket” is a work in progress and I continued to work on it as it hung in the gallery. (photo by Isaac Carter)

10621717_10153114688163709_1361342666_o copyAn accounting ledger accompanies this piece to preserve a written record of money saved and organic thoughts collected along the way (photo by Isaac Carter)

10631808_10153114683803709_868731343_o copyOld Age Security Blanket in process (photo by Isaac Carter)

My Old Age Security Blanket is a work in progress which began in April 2013 around the time that Canadian pennies were phased out of circulation. I conceived of the idea to create this blanket when I first became aware of the coming ‘extinction’ of the humble penny. Something in this event sparked an interest for me in exploring ideas around the movement of money. The loss of the penny, the first and smallest unit for trade, presented to me a metaphor for the extinction of ‘small and slow’. It speaks to me also of the loss of handmade traditions all over our world. When the penny was deemed ‘worthless’ it awakened an interest for me in the concept of inflation – the idea that money is created from the void between the making and growing to the final point of sale. Our financial security in the form of pension plans, life insurance, savings and investments are built on the idea of never ending expansion.

10602525_10153114686928709_1993420507_o copyOld Age Security Blanket in progress – red lines are hand stitched with tiny seed stitches (photo by Isaac Carter)

This blanket is constructed with squares of fabric; two pieces per square, with 16 pennies stitched by hand between the layers. There are 12 squares in each row and I am considering that the final length will be 28 rows (but it could grow longer).

10612200_10153114684923709_687499659_o copy“Embrace” exhibit at the Hidden Garden Gallery in New Denver – OAS Blanket in process (photo by Isaac Carter)

The “OAS blanket” is designed to cover a bed, though it’s length will be at least twice as long. Hanging it as I did for this exhibit will probably not occur again as this entirely hand stitched blanket grows longer and heavier with pennies. I have seven rows completed so far and the weight is around 10 pounds.

10605842_10153114686508709_787336579_o copyCotton fabric with pennies, plant and metal dyes, thread (photo by Isaac Carter)

Each square of pennies has it’s very own dye adventure with plants from my garden, the neighbourhood or places I visit. In the winter I resort to using kitchen waste and any scavenged berries or leaves I may find in the snow. I also use found metal objects which add colour to the palette and and sometimes leave an imprint of it’s shape behind. The dye process is generally slow as the fabric is bundled in bottles, bags or containers in my greenhouse or near the fire where it’s warm, and left to the slow dye process for several weeks.

10615912_10153114684348709_374312490_n copy“Old Age Security Blanket” (photo by Isaac Carter)

The squares are then stitched together by hand in the order of their making. Colour placements are therefore random and I trust that by the end of the project what seems chaotic and random now may have found a natural balance all it’s own.
The stitch drawing down the centre of the blanket represents the living moving energy of my life and how it travels and grows through the grid like system of the coins. It is a moving river, red like our blood vessels and it encounters objects on it’s journey like roots growing around rocks.

10617715_10153114688203709_1402314989_n copyStudies in ink of roots and rocks (photo by Isaac Carter)

10602660_10153114686678709_127298187_nMusings on pennies and patterns (photo by Isaac Carter)

I would like to thank Isaac Carter for the beautiful photos of my work. ICandyFilms is a young Canadian/Hungarian film making team who make small production films. One of their specialties is films about and for artists: ICandyFilms artist films

Naturally dyed scarves with mixed techniques

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I’ve been meaning to share with you some of the scarves I made before Christmas but I. Have been having computer issues and avoided doing this on my ipad. I’m still waiting on the computer so here I am trying to configure this post on a little ‘gadget’. These scarves shown here are a collection of silk ones I constructed  myself as well as some simpler silk and silk/ wool blends which I purchased pre-hemmed. Most of the plant dyes used are local here in the Kootenays and include goldenrod, St Johns Wort, black walnut, onion skins and contact/ dye prints of coreopsis flowers, cottinus coggygria leaves, acer( maple) leaves, St. John’s wort, cosmos flowers, oak leaves, rhododendron leaves, strawberry leaves, some windfall lichen. I used a few exotic dyes on some pieces, including madder and logwood.  Techniques used are vat dye baths, contact/ Eco dye printing, screen printing, ‘itajime’, clamped block resist , a shiborI technique. I used a variety of beautiful silks, crepes, habotai, raw silk, charmeuse.

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Some naturally dyed and printed scarves to show you at last.

I have been slowly putting some of my natural dyed and printed fabrics together into scarves with ruffles and pockets.

Cotton and wool scarf with pocket – logwood dye, rusty metal rings, eco-printed and screenprinted with walnut husks.

Silk scarf - anemones and nudeThe colours on this piece I found extremely difficult to capture in a photo – it just does’nt do it justice – the sheen of the silk and the subtle colours I’ve used here are not showing as they should. This scarf is made of silk habotai with raw silk on the other side. Dyed with walnut husks, eco-printed and screenprinted with logwood and walnut husks, this scarf has a drawing of a nude screenprinted on one side. It can be worn with her showing or turned inside. The ruffled anemone printed edges appear on both sides of the scarf.  I have always maintained drawing as a core practice and have especially liked life drawing. Using some of my drawings on garments has been an idea I’ve had for a while. I plan to make a series of these.

IMG_1718 copyClose-up showing strawberry leaf and lichen contact prints and anemone flower screenprints in walnut husk and logwood printing ink.

 

Patterns and Geometry in Nature Arts Project

Earth Art - Slocan Lake

Over this winter, from October 2012  to the end of January 2013 I facilitated a series of art workshops with a small group of home students in my community. You may remember that I worked with these same students on another art project titled the ABC’s of Community. After the completion of this project we held an exhibit at the Hidden Garden Gallery in New Denver. As well, the gelatin plate monoprints which we did during this project, are presently on exhibit until August 13th 2013 at the ArtStarts Gallery in Vancouver in a show of student work titled Botanimalogy. The Pattern and Geometry in Nature Arts Project provided an opportunity for a small group of Distributed Learning students from kindergarten through Grade 6 to explore their community and environment through art and the alphabet. This project was funded by ArtStarts in Schools and Arrow Lakes Distributed Learning School.

Morgen Brdati demonstrates printmakingMorgen demonstrates gelatin plate printmaking.

This project aimed to provide these young students with an opportunity to explore patterns and growth in nature through a variety of visual arts media, including printmaking, painting, drawing, earth art and fibre art. I guided students through a range of geometric drawing explorations and visual art experiences. Students explored patterns in nature as well as geometric design in a journey through the circle. The focus that these young students gave to learning the tools of the geometer: the compass and straightedge, was rewarded by their new ability to create the vesica piscis, triangle, square, six pointed star and polygons out of the circle. They were able to grasp basic concepts of geometry, recognize recurring patterns and shapes in nature and integrate them into their art.

fibonacci spiralGolden rectangle and growing a spiral

This is some of the amazing artwork accomplished by these students:

We made explorations of patterns in natural objects using brush and ink:

pattern exploration

Gelatin Plate mono printing using found natural objects and geometric stencils made by students:

Gelatin plate prints

Some of the painted and block printed mandalas:

Fiona' s mandalaShanna's mandalaCedar's mandalaDrawings from nature and geometric designs:

DrawingsEarth art explorations down at Slocan Lake (on a cold and windy day):

making a mandala

Nature mandalaHand dyed folded paper and marbling:

Dyed paper and marblingHand dye painted cushions which students sewed themselves:

dyed cushionsCushions and mandalas on exhibit at the Hidden garden Gallery:

cushions and mandalasOur final project was hand painted 3D fabric sculptures. Students began with drawing designs in their sketch book and measuring and cutting out strips of fabric. These pieces of fabric were painted with vibrant coloured textile dyes and then sewn into ‘tubes’ and assembled into 3 dimensional fabric sculptures. It required a lot of patience and persistence for these young people to learn how stitch these tubes together, leaving a channel for wire which they inserted before stuffing the shapes with fill. They had to hand stitch the stuffed pieces together. Quite an accomplishment!

Shanna3

Fiona

Juniper's fish

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gallery of student artI feel honoured to have had another opportunity to work with these amazing young people. I am grateful to their parents and to Scott Kipke, the DL teacher, for inviting me once again, as well as to Lucerne School for providing the classroom space and the Hidden Garden Gallery for the use of their beautiful exhibit space.