Dolls, Fibre Scultpures and Costumes

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Focus on Fibre Art Show

The show is on now in the Enterprise Square gallery on Jasper (in Edmonton).

My doll won first prize in its category!

Vrouw Holle – Or – When housework Controlled the Weather

When I was a child in the Netherlands, I had a snow globe with a woman shaking a pillow to make it snow. This was Vrouw Holle. When she swept the floor she created the dunes that blocked the sea, when she washed, it rained. When it stormed she rode with the Wild Hunt gathering unwary souls. She ruled her own underworld. Strong women who cleaned “messes” and created change are part of my heritage. This piece is dedicated to my mother (Johanna Breijer 1930 – 2015) who spent decades working for women behind the scenes in Alberta politics.

An original design, cloth sculpture, completed February 2016.

Size: Total height 49cm (figure 41cm), Width 31 cm, Depth 17cm

Materials: Skin; 100% cotton, Dress; unknown fibre, Cape; silk, Hair; tea dyed mohair, Polyester Stuffing, Wire armature, Base & broom; wood, Glass beads, found objects, jewelry bits, assorted paints.

Vrouw Holle

Vrouw Holle Front view


Back view

Vrouw Holle

Vrouw Holle

I am Back!

Well sort off, almost, will be soon.

My mother died in April after a really difficult year of spiralling downwards.  During the last year I haven’t blogged because there was nothing I really wanted to share here.  I shared on caregiver sites but this was supposed to be my art site and all I have done in this last year has been to knit.  I knitted endlessly this last year and my daughters have been inundated with knit goods, innumerable hats, socks, shawls, cowls, and shrugs – even their boyfriends got stuff!

Knitting helped me survive.  It can be picked up and dropped at a moments notice, unlike art work.  It helps me zone out – 1, 2 ,3 ,4 , Yarn over, K2tog, repeat – it requires just enough focus to calm the mind and keeps the hands busy.  The bright colours made me feel good.  Nothing was really original, I didn’t want to think or design, that was too demanding.

Some of the items:

Silver fox scarf

Silver fox scarf



lace hat

lace hat

I am slowly finding myself back.  I cleaned of part of my studio desk that had become the parking place for all sorts of stuff.  I have thought about finishing projects I started the last 3 years but I am not there yet.  Tomorrow my youngest daughter comes to visit for 2 weeks and we plan to do a lot of fun things and sight seeing.  Then in July I am going to Whitehorse to help my other daughter recover from surgery.  In August my father moves to a supported living facility because he is too lonely and feels trapped in the house now that mom is gone.  Once he moves we get to redecorate the house to our liking – and we can deal with the hundred of gnomes my mother collected.

But between all that I will get my art work off the ground again.  I promise.

The Stockings from Hell

Are finished.

Over a year and a half ago my darling youngest daughter came home from a weekend in the Laurentians “Mama one of the girls had these stockings with lace and things that her mom made.  You could do that, right?” .  Since that was the first knitting she had asked for, and not just grudgingly accepted, I was over joyed.  We shared a mother/daughter bonding moment surfing Ravelry together looking at patterns.  We finally settled on one called “Moulin Rouge”  Thigh high lace stockings, to be knit in black cotton.  Yes thigh high, in cotton that knits up at 10 rows per inch….

I measured her legs, traced her feet and traced her legs and made a couple of swatches.  I started the feet, knitting both stockings at the same time on two circular needles and she moved to Halifax Nova Scotia.  I knitted on, while looking after mother, plastering and painting a bedroom, preparing for an art show, painting a stairwell.  I took some time off to knit some Christmas presents, another hat for my granddaughter ,because she lost the first one.  Darling daughter came for a visit and tried on the stocking – now up to calf length.  Let me tell you there is at least an inch difference between someone who wears a size 5 1/2 shoe and a size 9 and I had been trying them on a size 9 foot, mine, because I had put the paper with the tracing of her foot in a safe place.  No I was not going to frog the sock down to the ankle, far too many hours had gone into them.

In the meantime I moved to Edmonton and finished the granddaughter’s hat and I made some fingerless gloves to match the hat (which I put in a safe place – I found it back last weekend) because I had never made any before so this was a good time to try that.  Once they were finished I tried to continue on the stockings but there was the renovations happening and the only comfy knitting chair was in the livingroom where I had to hear mother’s audio books and she prefers those hot, hot vampire books.

Then came the Kangaroo that mother wanted.  I had found a book on knitted toys and for once mother communicated very clearly that she wanted me to make the kangaroo, so the stockings were put aside once more.

At the end of August we decided that we would have a big Thanksgiving with my daughter and granddaughter form Whitehorse and my other one from Halifax in October and I suddenly realized I had been working off and on for over a year on these endless stockings and I was just over the knee.  So I bought some earplugs and settled down to determined knitting every day.  And I made the deadline.  Then  ……  I cut off the toes.  Yes I took a pair of scissors to hand knit lace stockings!    I removed the excess and reknit the toes.

So here they are – tall black lace stockings with tiny feet!  All finished.  Finally!


stockings from Hell

PS:  Now that they are finished I am knitting bedsocks for my Dad out of thick acrylic yarn that looks like camouflage for walking in dead leaves and mud, but they are almost done and then I am going to knit with a rainbow of colours a hat for my self!

PPS:  The studio is almost finished.  The guests have been sleeping in it.  All we are doing on it now is finding back all the sewing machines and notions and books and magazines and irons and…..  But soon I can work there.



This will be a short note with nothing much about art in it.  My art supplies are either in that “safe place” or in a box somewhere in transit.

I arrived in Edmonton last week.  This week has been all about beginning to settle in and preparing for the big renovation to the bathroom.  I have shuffled things around in the kitchen because both my sister and mother are several inches taller then me and things kept falling on my head when I was trying to reach for them.  Also climbing on a chair in front of the stove while cooking, to find an ingredient really wasn’t safe.  The most interesting thing about this process was a jar of crunchy peanut butter from the 1997.  I have not yet had the courage to face the canned goods which are everywhere.  In case of a major problem we have enough canned beans, soups and fruit to last for many weeks if not months.  Last spring I tackled the packaged food, much of which had expired five or more years ago, some of which were growing interesting new life forms.

My boxes are still somewhere between Montreal and Edmonton with all my clothes, art supplies and stuff, which is good in a way as we had no place yet to put it.  We finally cleared a lot of the studio to be and it is actually bigger then I had expected.  The light is better too, even though it is a basement it gets the sun most of the day and the windows are quite big.  We found some oil paintings I did way back when I was 16, they have been recycled so don’t expect to see any pictures of them.  We did some reno work on the furnace room so we could store a lot of the tools and screws, nails and other bits in there.   I won’t be able to get set up the studio however, until after the bathroom is renovated as we need this space for storage for what is in the bathroom right now.  It is like a giant messy Rubics cube.   Reno starts in about a week and will commence with the breaking up of lots and lots of concrete to fix the plumbing issues.

So right now it is all about hurry up and wait.  The only “art” work I am doing is designing a pair of fingerless gloves/wrist warmers for my granddaughter to match the hat I made.

One thing though, my asthma is much better then it has been in months.   Where in Montreal last month, walking several blocks made me breathless and gasping,  here I am hauling boxes of flooring, doing light reno work without difficulty.  I guess the stress of the situation was really taking a tole on my health.

Life Happens

I have been in Edmonton now for 2 weeks.  Watching – looking after Mom, feeding Dad and dragging my sick sister shopping.  I realized I can’t walk away.  After long discussions with everyone I am moving to Edmonton. It means giving up my lovely light filled studio.  I will get another space eventually but first we have to finish some renovations.  So it will be a few months before much new art work will show up here.

I have to go back to Montreal mid February, pack up my life there, move to Edmonton, supervise the renos and re-arrange the house and garage and get my pets there too.  But my mind will be in one place and I will have the peace of mind that I am doing the Right Thing.

In the mean time I had a birthday and today I went to spend my birthday money at Sew Divine in Edmonton.  A lovely friendly quilt shop.  They had a selection of to die for greens. The photo doesn’t do them justice.  There will be more mermaids and Medusas to come.

birthday fabrics

At Con-Cept this Weekend!

I will be at the Sci Fi convention Con-Cept in Montreal this weekend.  I will have the small oil pastels, the Mermaid, the Sacred Twins and the Dieing Troll at the art show as well as some small pin dolls.

A new oil pastel is Medusa.  I got new oil pastels while in Edmonton and this was the piece where I experimented with Ink and oil pastels:


Finding my feet

I finally managed to clear off enough desk space in the room I am occupying to spread out the mermaid.  Two weeks of knitting and listening to mom’s talking books is enough.  There are hours when not much is happening and I can work on her as long as I can hear the other room (but the talking book is fuzzed out).  Mom likes vampires, fantasy, adventure or hot romance.  I find it hard to focus between the throbbing manhood, the exploding body parts and castle sieges.

My art should hopefully be on display at the Gaia art show this weekend – both the “Sacred Twins” and the “Spell for Abundance”.

The attack of the blank page is not going well.  I picked up a sketch book and after much confusion drew one of the plants Mom has.  It didn’t work at all.  I much prefer drawing people but nobody will let me.  I tried to sneak up on mom but her hearing is still very good.

Edmonton – flight and arrival

The flight was good.  Calm with few clouds.  I again marvelled at how empty Canada really is as we flew over the middle of Ontario and the Prairies.  The Canadian shield is so pretty from the air.  It would make such a beautiful abstract quilt.  All swirling lines of shades of green and random lakes.  I wish I had packed a sketch book in my hand bag – I packed the pencils and erasers but the pad was left on the desk.

At the last minute I couldn’t leave the mermaid behind.  I threw out some sweaters and packed yarn for potential hair (enough to make a Wookie), the body parts,  bags of beads and tools.  I could always borrow clothes from my sister.  Next week I will pick up some stuffing for the head and tail fins.  I also have to find something to make the net out of, I want thin, shiny black something.

I was stunned at how much my mother has deteriorated since I last saw her – but that is not what this blog is about.  Besides I can’t dwell on this right now – maybe in a couple of months…….