Dolls, Fibre Scultpures and Costumes

Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Photo Adventure

I worked hard on my entry for the Focus on Fibre  call for entries.  I managed to finish it for the early bird entry. Then came the whole “Fun with Cameras”!

The photos required have to be un edited which meant good lighting and good shots.  Something that is not my forte.  However my sister has taken workshops on photography and video.

Take one:  Everything set up, grey fabric ironed and pinned to the wall, sun bouncing off the other wall and white board.  My camera.  The over all shots are not bad.  Close ups are fuzzy no matter which settings we try.

Take two:  My sisters camera.  Dead in the water.

Take Three: My mothers old camera.  Light is fading and tripod breaks and camera just sort of limply hangs sideways on it unless propped up somehow.  Pictures not bad but resolution too low for the guidelines.  Light goes.

Take Four:  next morning.  Grey fabric washed to remove stain – where the hell did that come from.  Try white fabric to see if more light helps with various cameras.  Still no good closeups and most of the pictures are at an angle due to the jury rigged tripod.

Take Five: Video camera.  Might work if we can find the thing that reads a 3.5 inch floppy.

Take Six:  Grey fabric back up because I suddenly remembered that my tablet also takes pictures.  I shoot a few and they look good.  I email them to my self to get them to my computer because I can’t figure out how else to do this.

They look great.  I do edit them to cut out some edges and to make her stand straight.

All through this we were assisted by the cat and dog.  The cat hiding under the little table covered with fabric so he could attack the dog as she walked by.

Vrouw Holle

Vrouw Holle

More details to follow.

Back in the Closet?

A lot has happened since I last posted.  Holidays in Jasper with my daughter, and six weeks in Whitehorse with my oldest daughter.  I needed that time to try and find myself back somewhat. It has been harder then I expected. Almost 4 years of intense care giving  has left my mind in a rut where it wants to keep me ready to jump up and do everyone’s bidding.  That means not working on my art work because it will get interrupted.  My mind thinks I still need to “thread water” marking time.

My father decided that he wanted to live in a seniors residence with other people of his age so he moved out in August and deeded the house to my sister.  So when I returned from Whitehorse we renovated and redecorated.  We removed the formerly white carpet (what was my mother thinking off!?!), painted, and put down new flooring.  I now have my own bedroom and we moved the studio upstairs.

work space

work space


Sewing area


Cutting space and inspiration wall

What you are not seeing is the wonderful big north facing window.  The very very cold big north facing window, in the coldest room in the house, in Edmonton where it regularly gets down to -25c as a high for the day.

Now my new bedroom is in the centre of the house in a nice warm room.  It is the former study and it has two very big closets, one that was used for the computer with a desk built in so it could be locked away when my parents were gone.  So for the third time I reorganized my studio space.  I emptied the boxes of my yarn to under the very cold window (more insulation), I sorted and shredded a lot of person papers and cleared a space in my closet.

View from the bed

View from the bed

work space in the closet

work space in the closet

Note the space for the cat.  There was another space on the other side but he preferred to be where the lamp was. The body parts are part of a project for the fibre arts group  call for submissions.

So for the first time since 1979 I am back in the closet – until spring.  I am looking forward to spring.

Art for FUN!!!

Last month I got involved with the local yarn bombing group.  We do places like a local Alzheimer centre so they have something cheerful to look at during the winter.

Usually I just help out with assembly but this time we were asked to do a lamppost as part of a street festival and the organizers decided to do a garden.  Now sometime in the distant past I helped create a set for an adult website where I knitted moss.  This was fun, random knitting done on large needles so I decided to volunteer to create the “grass” for the garden.  Of course as soon as I got home and checked my yarn stash I realized that nearly all those yarns had been donated before I left Montreal.  I looked temptingly at the “moss” I had created, that had been returned to me, but the cat made very threatening noises at the thought of losing his soft, fluffy bed.  This of course generated lots of fun FB posts about going out and hunting down some “grass”.  I actually slummed and went to Walmart to buy tacky yarn and I actually used a Micheals coupon too.

It was a blast knitting on 15 mm needles after all the lace kitting I have done lately.  I used two strands of yarn plus a sparkly lurex as the base knit fabric.  I wove green fun fur in and out of the knit – sort of like how you carry a yarn of the colour you are not using in Fair Isle knitting. I used short rows to create angles in the knitting.   The only issue I had was that it was very hot in August and sitting with a thick, furry blanket in my lap meant I only knit in air conditioned spaces.  The finished size was 37 inches wide by 39 inches tall – it wasn’t a project one could stick in ones purse.




Lots of other people knitted flowers, birds, butterflies, leaves and of course sky!  Now normally our creations are put up by some much younger people with significant others who don’t mind standing on top of a ladder at midnight at -20C but this time the whole thing had to be assembled in public in daylight.   Our intrepid installers solved the problem by knitting themselves beards and toques and becoming Edmonton lumber jacks for the day.  Luckily it was not too hot.

The lamppost decorating was actually a contest and WE WON.  We donated the prize to Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts and the Alberta Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Society.

For more details and lots of pictures check out Knitmonton.



Oh my!

Just after I got back from Nova Scotia I got an email from Harcourt House reminding me about a call for submissions for their members show.  Not giving me time to think about it and back out, my sister pushed me to enter.  It was a good thing she went with me because the whole street was torn up and we had to park several blocks away, I would probably have turned around and gone home but she helped carry the dolls.

They chose “Spell for Abundance” for the show.  It is their 25th anniversary show  on from June 13th to July 5th.  It is also part of “The Works“, a city wide arts festival.  The opening reception and open house for Harcourt is on June 20th.  Which means I have to go and  try  to not hold up the wall of the gallery, the walls will hold themselves up quite well without my help.

Spell for abundance

Spell for abundance


Nova Scotia or Rain again

It has been a while since I posted, that was because life got complicated.  Then it got blissfully simple and now it is back to complicated again.

I went for 17 days to Nova Scotia to visit my youngest daughter, Vanessa,  who was starring in her first lead role as Nanki pooh in The Mikado by Gilbert and Sulivan.  Yes my blond buxom daughter sang the role of a Japanese male.  She did a good job of it too, if mother can say so!


Nanki Pooh


Vanessa and Theodore the Tug Boat in the rain


Me and Vanessa on the ferry to Halifax

Actually I thought I had booked to go for 10 days but when I went to pick up the car I was shocked to discover I had a return flight for the 28th not the 21st.  Everyone said that must have been a “Freudian slip”.  So I called the care giver company in panic and booked them for an extra week to look after the parents.

I had a great relaxing holiday.  I slept late, ate too much of all sorts of foods, but especially seafood,I did a lot of knitting and I got rained on a lot.  We did a lot of sightseeing and got rained on a lot.  I had planned to run every morning but it was either raining or foggy every day except 2 and my body didn’t like that – in two weeks I emptied my puffer and my nasal spray, walking was a challenge enough.  Luckily I rented an adorable little car – a Fiat 500 in metallic orange – sort of like driving a tiny pumpkin.  It had a sun roof and on one of the two sunny days we opened it for a few minutes but it was barely 12C so we nearly froze.

Here are some shots – taken between the rain showers.

Daffodils at the Ferry terminal

Daffodils at the Ferry terminal

Halls Harbour

Halls Harbour

The Lookout near Wolfville

The Lookout near Wolfville

Liverpool dock yard

Liverpool dock yard


Halls Harbour rocks and pilings

Halls Harbour rocks and pilings

The Liverpool one was one of the two sunny days. She had a show there and we stayed at the Lanes privateer inn. Very nice with very good food and friendly helpful staff.

Week Two – Again

So I realized I was blocked – again – but in a different way.  Is that progress?  I started “The Artist Way” By Julia Cameron again, for the 4th or 5th? time.  I tried one of the later books last summer but it didn’t really click and I realized I needed to go back to the beginning.

Usually when I do the 13 weeks I look for a way to change my life to match what I want or need.  That is not going to happen this time.  There are too many fixed variables in the system requirements this time.  This time it is all about internal change because the external is fixed.

This time it is much much harder in that I hit a block right in week one.  I have always kind of ignored week ones exercises because I have very little memory of my life before age 13.  They are there but most are not retrievable easily.  High fever and a coma will do that to you.  This time I kind of wanted to look at underlying causes but no go.  I had that problem in the later book in this series too, “Going for Gold”  , most of that is based on digging through ones biography.

This is the end of week two, another really unsuccessful week.  There were days where there were two sentences on the page.  There is in this chapter a lot about the people around me.  Not going there.  I hope week three will be better.

On a positive note, Pan now has fully sculpted legs attached to his body.

Two Hours of Stress

So on Thursday I went to the reception and open house given by the VAAA and Harcourt House.  I wandered through some artists studies, took deep breaths and introduced myself.  Using the “I just moved here in March” as a starting point for discussion helped me a lot.  No, No I didn’t just finally get up the nerve to come out to this thing, I am new here.  I felt so legit.

Why is it so hard to meet strangers and talk?  Sharon at the VAAA introduced me to some people and that made it easier.  Patricia Laing talked to me and took my card.  She passed my email address to some friends in costuming and fibre arts and suddenly I am “chatting” with people and planning on getting together.  So it does work and it is worth the stress.  Why this fear?  It is not like there is a grizzly waiting for me if I talk to the wrong person.  “Stranger Danger”?  Yeah I am not 4 years old either.

On another note, My pets have arrived from Montreal.  Despite of all my worrying they arrived safe and sound, if a little freaked out.  The cat immediate hid behind the furnace and even tried to get under the sub floor.  The dog adored everyone but was incredibly hyper.  Everyone has settled down now.  Both dogs are getting along and the cat has emerged from the basement and even teased the dog this morning.


Katie with my mother



Having my pets here really made me appreciate Patricia’s animal pictures:

Blue Kat on Green 20×24 Acrylic by Patricia Liang

Oh and we bought a bed yesterday.  So some time soon I will be having a real bed.

Oh yeah, I guess I am really living here now.

Living Here

Ok so I am not yet blossoming, but I am “Living Here”.  The last of my “possessions”  are on their way – my cat and dog – they are flying tomorrow morning.  I am chewing my fingernails, metaphorically because they taste awful, actually I am snacking, chewing my nails would be better for my health.  I did start working out last week but we are not going to whine about that here.

What I forgot to post last week is that I joined the VAAA “Visual Arts Alberta Association”.  My sister and I went back to Harcourt house to see the exhibition that we thought was on.  It wasn’t.  They were setting up for another one.  So we wandered across the hall to see if VAAA had something.  They didn’t but we got to talking with Sharon Moore  Foster, a potter and sculpture, who signed us up for the VAAA.  We had a wonderful talk about art, time and health.

Next week is “The Works” in Edmonton.  I am planning to go to the VAAA  reception for its “Coming of Age: The Graduates” on the 21st.  We might go to some other exhibits too.

Blossom where you are planted

It has been almost 2 months since I last posted.  I finally have a finished bathroom! Yay!  The laundry room holes in the walls have been closed.  As soon as it is finished being plastered and primed we can get the flooring in and then we can have bedrooms with floor space again.

The other thing that has been happening is SPRING (cue music from Jaws)  The trees have been doing their thing and for the last two weeks I have been surviving under the influence of antihistamines.  Things are finally getting back to normal, I have only a drippy nose without them now.  I can focus for longer the 3 minutes again.

“Blossom where you are planted” is from Julia Cameron’s “Finding Water”  one of the sequels to “The Artist Way”  I started journaling again in the morning and making my way slowly through the book.  Due to my living situation most of the exercises in the book  are not applicable at this time but reading and journaling has helped.  Many weeks ago I cleared desk space and unpacked partially some of my drawing supplies and promptly ignored them.  My mind was being about three years old, throwing tantrums “If I can’t have my fabrics and sewing machine then I don’t want to do ANYTHING!” it wailed.  That was really helpful in dealing with the slow transition….

After weeks of writing that, I finally got past the block.  My granddaughter posted a picture of herself with bright blue streaks in her blond hair.  It is a lovely picture full of her character.  I thought about different ways to play with it but I couldn’t decide.  Then an internet friend Lynnette posted a partially completed image of a new piece she is working on.  All about the phoenix with feathers in her hair and I knew what to do with the picture.

So here is my granddaughter – the parrot girl.  9 x 12 oil pastels

parrot girl

Will I Ever See My Stash Again?

My yarn and fabric stash that is.  It is in the shed.  Renovations are more then 2 weeks behind schedule.  They started off great, walls demolished, concrete broken up, trench dug for the plumbers new drain pipes – and then the plumber showed up a week late.  Which meant that by the time he was finished the concrete guys had left on holiday.  So we still have no concrete in the trench and work is stopped dead in its tracks until the concrete is done.  Since it has been unseasonably warm and it rained, it is now a wet, muddy trench.

Below is the studio – or what will be the studio.  More stuff went into it after this picture was taken.  There is a 2 foot path from the door to the sink now.  Someday my studio will be here

As an escape from the frustrations my sister and I went to check out Harcourt House Gallery not far from where we live.  It is a cooperative and they have drop in life drawing sessions.  As we walked into the main gallery this awful noise started up.  A low droning, vibration that hits one in the back of the head and sets ones teeth vibrating.  I asked “Is there something wrong with your sound system?”  but no apparently it was the installation in the next room.  We grabbed all the brochures and hightailed it out of there.  Which was too bad because the paintings looked very interesting.   I am only surprised nobody had put a fist through any of them because that noise was just right to put people into a killing mood.  Oh and I have no idea what the installation was about.   My guess is that they had a hate on for the person who did the portraits or the staff.

We spent the rest of the afternoon at Home Depot looking at flooring.