Friday, October 31, 2014

Dorothy Caldwell Silent Ice/Deep Patience @ AGP 6

Dorothy Caldwell Wandering Time, 2011; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
Wandering Time and Wet Lake/Dry Lake hang together nicely, like sisters who get along well. A common silkscreen resist grid pattern as well as a dark on the left half/light on the right half composition unites them.
Dorothy Caldwell Wandering Time, 2011; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
As always, Dorothy's sensitive stitching blows me away. She balances fine and chunky stitching with aplomb.
Dorothy Caldwell Wandering Time, 2011; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
Here's a proper look at the silkscreen resist printed grid. Dorothy drew each line of the grid by hand. No rulers or computers were involved.
Dorothy Caldwell Wet Lake/Dry Lake, 2011; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
No sizes were listed for Wandering Time or Wet Lake/Dry Lake. I would guess their dimensions to be 48 inches wide by 28 inches high.
Dorothy Caldwell Wet Lake/Dry Lake, 2011; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
Dorothy Caldwell Wet Lake/Dry Lake, 2011; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
This harmonious arrangement of plain and patterned appliqué sang to me.

All photos were taken with permission from Dorothy Caldwell and the fine staff of the Art Gallery of Peterborough. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Natural dyeing with hickory nuts

Hickory nuts and leaves; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2013
On a recent visit to my parents' farm, my hubby and I gathered 18 pounds of hickory nuts. They are small, so it took us a while to fill two grocery bags.
Hickory nut husk; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2013
Hickory nuts are not mentioned in any of my natural dye books, but I did find a few mentions on the internet. There's probably a good reason for that, but I decided to see if the nuts would yield any colour. I soaked one batch of nuts and their husks in distilled water from the dehumidifier for a few days and am now simmering the vat on low over several days. I've thrown a small square of fabric in to see if there's any colour. My first observation is that the vat is slightly oily from the nuts. I'm confident that they will at least offer up some tannin to the vat. So far the fabric swatch is a mottled tan, nothing to get excited about.

Ninety percent of the husks are brown. Green husks probably yield more colour. Yesterday I separated husks from the nuts and will see if the husks yield any colour in a second vat. Nothing ventured nothing gained.

While visiting my parents, I also collected four pounds of Shademaster Honey locust seed pods and I'll see if they offer any colour once I have an empty dye pot (I also have a vat of black walnut dye on-the-go). I've read that the seeds are tannin-rich and that the pods were a source of food for First Nations peoples.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Quotes: Alan Watts

"Questions that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way." –– Alan Watts (1915-1973), British-born philosopher and writer. From The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Modern Art?

Night Sky; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
My parents' grocery store parking lot faces this building, ugly during the day, but oddly breathtaking at night. The camera was unable to capture the sky's luminous midnight blue.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Halifax Art

Street art in the North end of Halifax; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
These murals are right around the corner from my favourite little street in Halifax.
Street art in the North end of Halifax; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
Each one has its own style
Street art in the North end of Halifax; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
This mural or paste-up is by Aitch and Saddo and is my favourite of the three.
Street art in the North end of Halifax; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
I like that the building owner has invited his/her doors to be adorned with street art.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Quotes: Seth Godin

New ideas should be jarring
"If your new idea is a good one, entrepreneur Seth Godin says the response it should receive is "I don't like it" or "I don't understand it." Otherwise, it's probably popular and obvious – boring and banal – or promising such little benefit it's not worth pursuing."–– Seth Godin via The Globe and Mail, Monday September 1, 2014, R.O.B., p. B5

Friday, October 17, 2014

Halifax Planter Box

Planter box in Halifax; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
I spotted this planter with its colourful painted branches on Gottingen Street in Halifax's North end this summer. The purple branches and flowers are a nice complementary contrast to the yellow building. Does anyone know what the flowers are (aside from pretty and purple)? 
Update: Diana tells me that the pretty purple flowers are Verbena bonariensis. Thanks Diana!