Saturday, September 27, 2014

Studio News: Four New Projects Started

After a very busy summer with a family wedding and lots of company, I am back in the studio. With so much time off I need to re-establish a work routine. Having started 4 new projects this week is helping. I move from one project to the next and studio time flies by.

I can show you only a glimpse of what I am working on because
one is a commission and the commissioner would probably like to see the work before anyone else.

One is destined to be put in front of a jury in the hope of being selected for an exhibition. Until then it has to remain anonymous and unseen.

One is for an exhibition proposal and needs to be work as yet unseen by the public.
So sorry, this sneak-a-peek is all I can show for now. Keep checking and I will post images of the works as soon as I am allowed.
In the meantime I am back in my studio most days, which is a good thing.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Articulation's Victoria Study Session Continues

On the ferry, crossing to Saltspring Island for the day: to visit Articulation member, Shannon Wardroper's home and studio, to check out potential gallery space and time for a little retail therapy. 
Stitches Fibre Art Supplies, very kindly opened up their store just for us, even though it was Sunday.

Continuing our study of railway hotels across Canada, we took a tour of the Empress Hotel.
This is the view from a 6th floor corner suite looking out over the inner harbour.

A table in the present day Empress tea room, set for their famous afternoon tea.
On the tour we learnt the tables were made from the original hotel floor boards after it was replaced.

Articulation taking the harbour ferry from the Inner Harbour, below the Empress hotel, up to the Upper Harbour.

We got off at Point Ellice House where we walked the grounds and toured inside the house with its intact, original contents. All chattels both inside the house and in their archives are thoroughly cataloged making it a perfect place to research the Victorian era in Victoria.

Leann Clifford
We did stop for afternoon tea while sitting out on the lawn but passed on a game of croquet.

We toured Fisherman's Wharf with its floating restaurants and floating houses that make up the village. 

We continued our driving tour around the Victoria peninsular, stopping and walking the historic sights, including Ogden Point breakwater without a breath of wind and barely a ripple of water.
After a week exploring and researching in Victoria we have returned to our respective studios across Canada to make a body of work for exhibition some time in the future.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Articulation Study Session in Victoria - Day 3

Articulation members at work; Lesley Turner, Donna Clement, Ingrid Lincoln, Leann Clifford, in the inner harbour. The Empress Hotel is in the background.
First appointment was a morning visit to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria to see 'Kimono: Japanese Culture in its Art Form' with many magnificent kimonos revealing the complex codes and etiquette of garments in Japanese culture. Articulation member Shannon Wardroper shared some of her extensive knowledge of Japanese culture to give others a better understanding of the exhibits.
A 2nd exhibit 'From Geisha to Diva: The Kimomo of Ichimara'  is a collection of personal effects of one of the most famous geishas, Ichimara. 

Next were visits to the Fort street auction houses Lunds and Kilshaws to see if there were any maritime history artifacts that may be useful to acquire. There were none this week but it was fun looking.
There was a long wait in the line-up to get into the popular Blue Fox for a late lunch.

Next was a visit to the Royal BC Museum to see the current 'Vikings' exhibition and a search through the museum's other rooms for maritime history-related displays (no cameras allowed).
The Victoria International Chalk Art Festival is on. A large chalk drawing is being made on the floor of the museum. The distorted perspective makes it look 3D.

A walk back along the inner harbour, past the Empress hotel...

...and a variety of street theatre acts.

SALTS sail boats (floating schools) in the setting sun with the Robert Bateman Museum (Originally the Steamship Company building) next to the legislature buildings, across the harbour.
It was a day focused on getting a deeper understanding of the importance of the sea in the development of Victoria from a shallow place to pull up a canoe to an urban centre.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Articulation 2014 Study Session in Victoria

Each year Articulation does study in a special place in Canada.
This year they are in Victoria researching the maritime history of the west coast of Canada.

Donna climbing up the stairs from the waterfront to the street full of old warehouses, hotels and shops.

Into The Maritime Museum, up in their iron elevator - the oldest working elevator in Canada... the 3rd floor library and archives.
Donna and Leann doing research.

Lunch break at Venus Sophia's Tearoom and Vegetarian Eatery with retro afternoon tea served along side delicious light meals.

Venus Sophia's is in Chinatown, the oldest china town in North America. 
While in Chinatown, Articulation visited Ground Zero Print Studio  owned by Victoria Edgarr and Alain Costaz.

The magnificent gated entrance to Chinatown.

A visit to the University of Victoria's down town gallery, Legacy Art Gallery, where they showcase works from their extensive art collection.

A visit to the oldest tea and coffee company in Victoria, Murchie's.

Murchie's continues to blend their own teas and runs a tea room.

That was Articulation's 1st 2 days of research on Victoria's maritime history.

Monday, September 8, 2014

More Bird Inspiration - From Our Back Yard

Oh oh, not this gal. She chases away the birds. She had 5 baby raccoons this spring.

I have been noticing birds a lot since the spring. 
Birds have always featured prominently in most cultures - in myths and legends.
Birds are health indicators of our natural environment. 
We often first notice a change in the seasons when observing bird behaviour.
In my up coming work I want to explore the history and ideas associated with the birds I see outside my studio window. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Desolation Sound Inspiration

Our summer holiday this year was spent sailing along the Pacific coast and on up into Desolation Sound

I saw lots of inspiring land-seascapes

But i think i feel a bird series coming on

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Building a Lasagna Garden Bed

One of our new garden projects this summer was building a lasagna bed around the base of this Big-leaf Maple. It's roots are exposed in some places and the mower keeps cutting them. They need protection.
Also, this will be the comfrey plant supply bed. We will cultivate comfrey plants here then transplant them to other beds to do the job of building up the soil and providing nutrients for other plants in the bed.

A house down the street put lots of flattened cardboard out for the taking.
It is the perfect 1st layer. It kills off the grass below then breaks down, adding organic matter to the soil.
While building up the next layers we kept the hose running on the cardboard to thoroughly wet it.

In the compost area there are piles of paper, coffee grounds, grass clippings, horse manure and leaves.
All of these were added in thin layers with a sprinkle of glacial rock dust every so often. The rock dust provides minerals to soil organisms so they can do their job.
All of our household paper is recycled except for the shiny stuff  that has undesirable chemicals in the inks.We put that out in bags for the city's recycling program. 
We kept the hose running on the pile as we built up the layers to provide plenty of moisture for the chemical reactions that need to take place.

The pile was covered with cardboard and left to 'cook'. 
A compost thermometer monitors the temperature and a water reader monitors the moisture levels. The pile needs to pass through a number of different temperature zones for a wide variety of soil organisms to become active in breaking down the materials. If the pile gets too dry over these hot summer days we need to water it.
 We have run out mulch so used cardboard to cover the new bed until we get more. As unsightly as it looks, we have found the cardboard is doing a good job at conserving moisture.
We were careful to not build up the bed against the tree trunk. Any soil or other material piled up against a tree trunk will rot its bark and could cause its premature death.
Look out for this project's update.

Monday, July 28, 2014


I have finished my Christmas stocking knitting. Christmas 2013, that is.
Son William's scarf is blocked.

It is made from a lovely cotton and silk yarn.
It is winter in New Zealand so I mailed it straight away.

This was my newly planted Garden Tower back on 10th June.

To date I have harvested over 2kgs of swiss chard, arugula, celery, cilantro and basil.
Tonight we made a delicious vegetable curry.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Wedding Shawls

The bride wanted to give her bridesmaids and brother's girlfriend shawls to wear in case things got a bit chilly standing on top of the mountain.
She asked me to make them. I was delighted.
First the sampling with white mohair.

Blocking the sample.

I knit a sample shawl on the bias using a Church Mouse pattern.
It was decided the pattern worked but the yarn was too woolly. 
So I had to go to the yarn store - oh dear.

We settled on a kid mohair/silk mix in colours matching the dresses.
Seven shawls, plus the sample one, were completed in good time. But I had to watch lots of movies on TV to get in the necessary number of knitting hours each week, to meet the deadline.

Here is Amber wearing her shawl.  Each time I saw her over the evening she was wearing it a different way. She made her dress too. She's such a clever girl.