Tag Archives: kootenays

Workshop series – Seeds and the Hidden Life of Plants

The seed is a tiny yet powerful symbol of the life force, our own creativity and the power of small

 

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“Seeds and the Hidden Life of Plants” is a project which includes a series of workshops in my studio beginning on October 21st, 2016 to explore ideas around seed diversity and the hidden potential of living things through drawing, geometry, printmaking and textile/fiber arts.

There is a growing awareness globally and locally about the importance of preserving seed diversity and I have noticed several artists around the world engaging in a dialogue about seeds.  Artists like Sophie Munns have been a huge source of inspiration to me. As well as an artist I am a gardener and a beekeeper – I have also collected seeds and seedpods for years and they have often featured in my art. I am so excited to be able to invite members of my community into my studio to participate in a cross pollination of ideas and inspirations through a variety of art materials and techniques.

Through a series of four workshops I would like to expand on these ideas with artists of all ages and experience through observation, drawing, printmaking and the possibility for natural dyed cloth and bound seed shibori. Over several months I will be working on my own response to this dialogue through drawing and mark making on cloth using natural dye, stitch drawing and printmaking. Participants in these workshops will be able to follow and observe my process as an artists engaging with the same subject matter.

I am grateful to the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance and Columbia Basin Trust for the funding assistance for this project.

 

Culture Tour in the Kootenays brings visitors to my new art studio

 

001 copy‘Old Age Security Blanket’ project in process

On the 13th and 14th of August I participated in the Columbia Basin Culture Tour. Though this is the 8th year that this tour has occurred it was the first year for me. Having a new studio separate from my home made it possible for me to welcome the public into my space for this event. I had a steady stream of visitors come by on both days and I was amazed at how long they spent engaging in some really thoughtful conversations around ideas in my work – especially the Old Age Security Blanket project. After the two days I was exhausted but also really really inspired and grateful for having made such meaningful connections with some amazing people.

I am an artist who likes to explore a diverse range of media. My new studio is quite a large space for me and I was able to show a range of what I do, including some long term works in progress (like my Old Security Blanket) as well as drawings and small wearable art pieces. Before taking it down I tried to capture in photographs how my studio looked for those of you who could not make it for the tour.

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I had several new large ecoprint silk scarves on the walls, draped on models and in other little spaces. On the left is my sewing machine and wearable art worktable and in the background a door going into a small storage room and library. In the foreground is an installation I have been playing with – see the image below for detail.

020 copyPennies stitched in cloth with plant dyed thread and wooden knitting needles, needle and thread – playing with the idea of pennies being the smallest unit of exchange and ideas of slow work, traditional woman’s work and the value of small simple daily contributions to our lives.

Yes, I have a rocking chair in my studio! Though I seldom get to sit in it – maybe this winter.  The piece hanging on the wall is a work in progress and the piece below it is the first completed piece in my ‘Love Letter’ series ( slow slow work) – see detail shown later.

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024 copyDetail of “Embrace me my Obstacle” (Unfinished)

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“Love Letter to Slocan Lake” – a poem in silk, stitches, pebbles and beads

An ongoing project for me is my “Old Age Security Blanket” – a major work in progress which is close to halfway now – you can read the story about it here: OAS Blanket  It has finally reached a size that I can show it on a bed and I have a dedicated space just for this project (which also serves as a small gallery). When this installation is completed it will be much longer than the bed, reaching several feet along the floor –  an exaggerated security blanket. This work in progress is about my personal journey of inquiry into ideas of security, economics and growth. This project began in 2013 at the time that Canadian pennies were phased out of circulation and so it also explores ideas of  loss and extinction. 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.

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Following are a few more images of little sections and views of my studio. There are many threads of ideas and themes that move through the different projects I do – for example  being able to place life drawings next to draped silk brings attention to these links and little water colours and drawings of seeds show up again in my textile soft jewelry necklaces. Simple shapes and patterns like circles, the almond shape (vesica piscis) and meandering undulating lines appear in most of my work.

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Botanical – show and sale – Hidden Garden Gallery, New Denver, BC

I am very pleased to be sharing a gallery space for a week with my friend Nadine Stefan. Her beautiful botanical ‘landscapes’ and my eco printed and botanically dyed silk scarves compliment each other so perfectly. We each have an online version of this show and sale – please see the links below.

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To view and/or purchase Morgen Bardati’s silk scarves from “Botanical” please follow this link:  http://morgenbardati.bigcartel.com/

The view and/or purchase Nadine Stefan’s miniature paintings please follow this link:  http://nadinestefan.bigcartel.com/

Please see our events page on Facebook for updates: https://www.facebook.com/events/1653690094902530/

‘Faces in Places’ – Artist in the Classroom project

Faces in Places portraitsCollage of four student self portraits

‘Faces in Places’ is a project I facilitated with young students (ages 5 to 12 years) who are home schoolers of the Arrow Lakes Distributed Learning School. This was an ‘Artist in the Classroom’ project funded by ArtStarts in Schools and the DL school. It was as a weekly class with these young people beginning in October 2014 and culminating with a showing of their work on January 17th and 18th, 2015 at the Hidden Garden Gallery in New Denver.

This was conceived as an artist’s journey through painting, drawing and mask making with an exploration into identity beginning with the self and moving out through family, community, country and global connections, past and present.
I led students through an exploration of drawings and paintings of faces, people, objects and settings which reflect personal and cultural identity. Students were encouraged to look at similarities and diversity in family and neighbours for a sense of place and connection, and to engage with their family in discussions about their own ancestors and family connections. We explored  themes of cultural history and cultural identity by looking at portraits, self-portraits, still life and cultural genres by artists from diverse backgrounds.

Here is some of the art done in this project including descriptions of our processes along the way:

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Drawing expressive faces – monoprints using block printing material

We began on our first day with an introduction to the art of portraiture – we talked about why portraits are made and all the different art medias that can be used to tell the story of a person’s life. We looked at portraits by Van Gogh, Emily Carr, Paul Klee and Picasso. We read from the book ‘Just Like Me’ edited by Harriet Rohmer and on this first day we learned about different skin colours and noticed that the ‘portrait’ colour in our paints did not represent everyone. Artist ‘Daryl Wells’ in this book describes how there is no such thing as a single “flesh” colour. This book contains stories and self-portraits by fourteen artists and the stories and images accompanied many of our classes.

Faces in PlacesFirst self portraits and map of the face.

Next we thought about all the different shapes of faces and together we came up with five. I then showed how to map out the features of the face. Because this class has a very wide age range I don’t spend too much time on technical details but rather an emphasis on the importance of seeing, feeling and responding.

Faces in PlacesSelf portraits in progress by two of the youngest students

We then did self portraits using mirrors and a very simple palette of black, white, “portrait’ colour and a choice of one more colour.

Faces in PlacesDuring next few classes we talked about using objects (or animals) in portraits and what they can say about a person or people in a painting. Students brought in objects from home to draw and eventually include in a self portrait. These were objects that had personal meaning and significance to them. We warmed up by doing self portraits with a mirror and not looking at the paper and then did the same kind of drawing with objects. There was quite a variety of things including a stuffed elephant, a totem pole, an eagle feather with a small toy eagle, a snowboard, a ceramic owl and even a violin.  We learned about lines, edges and contours.

Faces in PlacesSelf portrait with a little duck – see the sketch of mama duck with babies

We looked at a self portrait of Frida Kahlo with her pet monkey. There was lot’s of discussion about her portrait which led to how we can express feelings in art and also how art can help us to say the things that are hard to say in words.

Faces in PlacesSelf portrait with a stuffed elephant begins – see the finished piece top right on the first image of this post.

After a mini lesson in how to draw and paint eyes some students saw their expressive potential in paintings to convey meaning as ‘windows to the soul’.

Faces in PlacesSelf portraits with a violin and a very colourful ceramic owl.

We spent some time experimenting with mixing colours and exploring tints and shades and how they can affect the mood of the portraits. We also learned how to mix different skin colours.

Faces in PlacesThis young artists was inspired by Salvador Dali in his portrait

Faces in PlacesSelf portrait with snowboard

Maskmaking - Faces in PlacesAnother component of our project was mask making which we began by first creating a plaster cast of each student’s face. Some of the students partnered with each other and some had their parents do it for them. Because this is a home school group there are always a few parents present in the class and sometimes younger siblings, which creates a family atmosphere.

Faces in Places - maskPaper pulp clay mask

To prepare for mask making we talked about what masks were for and how they could transform, hide, protect and empower. We looked at a variety of masks I brought in as well as  Aboriginal masks of the Pacific NorthWest Coast, including Coast Salish, Haida and Kwakiutl.  Over the next couple of weeks masks were then cast using paper. Some were done using a paper pulp clay and others used a paper laminate. They were then painted and some had added materials like feathers, twigs and collage paper.

Cat mask - Faces in PlacesCat mask – paper laminate

One student reconstructed his own cast face mask into an ape. Using images of apes, he observed how to change features in his own face to become more apelike by building up areas with papier-mache.

Ape mask - Faces in PlacesApe mask – paper laminate

Face masks - Faces in PlacesPaper pulp clay and laminate face masks

During the last few classes we worked on both masks and paintings which were starting to reflect family, community and environment. We looked at artists like The Group of Seven for Canadian themed portraits and landscapes, and again at paintings of interesting characters by Van Gogh. We told personal stories and how to include them in paintings.

Here are some of the finished paintings from this project:

Family Portrait - Faces in PlacesFamily portrait

Portrait with elephant - Faces in PlacesPortrait with Elephant

Faces in PlacesPortrait combining colour mixing exercise (background) and a remembering exercise (drawing)

Potrait with horse in the sunshinePortrait with horse in the sunshine

Me and my violin - Faces in PlacesPortrait with violin

Faces in PlacesPortrait combining colour mixing exercise (background) and a remembering exercise (drawing) and then worked again on a few weeks later

Portait with snowboard - Faces in PlacesPortrait with ‘cupcake’ snowboard and snowsuit

Eagle portrait - Faces in PlacesPortrait with eagle and family crest necklace

Girl in tree portrait‘My favourite place’ portrait – colour and remembering excercise

Mask and painting - Faces in PlacesMixed media – paper clay mask and painting

Portrait with owlPortrait with Owl

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