Friday, April 24, 2015

Of Note

Happy Friday y'all! This week I've had my nose to the grindstone finishing a series of mixed media tags that I started early this year. By tonight I should have at least 75 completed and by Monday I should have all 122 resolved tags finished. The challenge of working with multiples is the completion part––the scut work of applying backs, labels, and then final coats of varnish. It feels good to finally tackle this. 

Here are some things that inspire me:

• Lindsay Cameron Wilson's essay about finding voice. I'm not a food person. I don't read cookbooks or restaurant reviews. The only things that I enjoy making begin with the letter "S": soup stocks, salads, smoothies, sangria, and salad dressing. But, I do make an exception for Lindsay Cameron Wilson's food writing. Man, can she tell a story and tell it well. As I have been finding my own voice in the writing of this blog, I've had Lindsay Cameron Wilson, Anne Lamott, and Rebecca Solnit in my head. They've proved to be fine company.

• Writer, avid knitter, and die-hard cyclist Claudia Manley from Proper Tension's Centerpiece: a short story on discontent. It's brilliant and has stayed with me since I read it several weeks ago. How she "materializes" an emotion is making me think sideways about what some of my own emotions could look like in material form. As I said, it's brilliant and it makes me think.

• On the fibre front, Rieko Koga's stitched work gets my creative juices flowing. Check out her website or her Facebook page.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Frances Dorsey @ BIG in Nova Scotia, MSVU

Frances Dorsey Dragon's Teeth, 1994; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
Last September I saw the Big in Nova Scotia exhibition at the Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery near Halifax. The show, curated by Ingrid Jenkner, ran from August 23 to September 28, 2014 and featured the work of nine artists. Painting, sculpture, and textile-based work made within a 33 year time-span (1980 to 2013) were included and, as the title suggests, all the artworks in this exhibition were BIG.

Frances Dorsey's Dragon's Teeth, one of several textile-based works in the show, was made in 1994 and was pieced with fabrics that were coloured with dyes, pigments, discharge, photo-silkscreen, and mechanical and paste resists. Its dimensions are 2.7m x 3.96 m x 8 cm and was purchased by MSVU Art Gallery in 1999. If memory serves, Dragon's Teeth is from a textile series about her father's experience as an American soldier during the Vietnam War.

Frances Dorsey (b. 1948 Tuscaloosa, Alabama) lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia and is an Associate Professor of textiles at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University. 
Frances Dorsey Dragon's Teeth detail, 1994; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
All the photos were taken with permission.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Quotes: P. D. James

"The underlying message [of mysteries] is that no matter how difficult problems are in life –– in your own or in the life of a country or society –– in the end they can always be solved, not by divine intervention or good luck, but by human intelligence, human courage, human perseverance." –– P. D. James (1920-2014), British novelist
Source: 2010 interview with Elizabeth Renzetti (Renzetti, Elizabeth. "P. D. James was obsessed with death, but her life was well and heroically lived." Globe & Mail, Saturday November 29, 2014, p. A2) via my book of commonplace.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Poster: Kenojuak Ashevak

I found this poster from The Owls of Kenojuak Ashevak (1927-2013). Sadly, the exhibition is over and I did not see it. The poster is pretty sweet though.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Susie Brandt

A few years ago I wrote about the lecture and workshop that I took with Susie Brandt during the 2004 International Creators conference at Harbourfront. Last week I found my notes in an old sketchbook. At the time I noted four main attributes of her work:
1. Transformation of materials
2. Uses readily available and cheap materials–– "materials at hand"
3. Invention–– she invents new techniques and new ways of putting things together.
4. Scale––at the time of the workshop she worked in the double-bed sized scale (54 inches by 74 inches), so theoretically her pieces could function as a bed covering, although she acknowledged that they wouldn't likely be used that way.

Today I'd add:
5. Humour/Playfulness–– Brandt work reflects her wacky sense of humour and playfulness.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Quotes: Aristotle

"There can be no thought without an image." –– Aristotle (384 - 322 BC), Greek philosopher
Source: Alan Morantz. Where is Here? Canada's Maps and the Stories They Tell. 2002, p. 2 via my book of commonplace.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Danish Poet by Torill Kove

The Danish Poet by Torill Kove, 2006

I first saw this short film in 2007. The Danish Poet by Torill Kove (b. 1958), a Norwegian-born Canadian, won the 2007 Oscar for the Best Animated Short Film. If you need some enchantment for the weekend, watch this. A bonus is that it is narrated by Liv Ullmann.