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 Front view
Slowly because there will be renovations. We are getting a grant from the city to help with some basic “get up to code” and insulation things. So sometime soon the house will turn into a disaster zone as all the electrical work will be mostly redone and maybe the plumbing and the insulation in the attic.
We had hoped for the windows facing the north side too but there have been too many ” Oh ….um …..my…… Why did they do that this way?” “What were they thinking off?” “How much of this wall/ceiling can we take down?” “Ooooh now that is interesting….” each of which costs lots of money. The electrical will HAVE to be done because the grant people sent an inspector to determine how safe it is……
I have to have 2 quotes for everything – which means calling and leaving message and calling some more. We now have the plumbing covered. One quote for the heating/air condioning, one for the insulation, one for windows, one for the electrical is in the works. The rest are all still in the message holding pattern.
If we can’t do the window in the front then my studio moves into my bedroom and my bedroom into that room. That way I sleep in the cold room and can work in the warmest room. Light isn’t everything and power here is very expensive.
On the good side my doll “Vrouw Holle” was accepted into the “Focus on Fibre” show!!!!
I am very thankful for this! This doll with its deadline was what helped me break the “Ice Wall” around my art. In order to meet the deadline I had to focus on my art work, to find the tools, the fabric, the patterns. I had to develop a way to work, I had to show up at the desk and focus. To have her accepted into the show was the final kick to get me back. The next few pieces are already in my head and as soon as the renos are done I will buckle down, make art, open an Etsy store and do the work.
I am also in the process of designing a knitting pattern for a pair of lace fingerless gloves. More on that when it is finished because writing out and graphing lace patterns when one is somewhat dyslexic is tricky!
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.
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
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.
I got into my studio to work this weekend again and my little helper was there to Purr along with me.
sophie asking for a muffin
As I work it sits on a little pillowcase of black satin, and watches me. In this case it was watching the muffin I also had. Every once in a while it would reach out and put one claw in my arm to remind me that she/he loves muffins.
It is called Sophie. When we got it we were told it was a female, and I never did really check, but I did think it had odd looking genitals….. Then dimwit here ate a thread with a beading needle attached and the vet informed us that Sophia was really Sophocles. But as a result the pronouns are a bit awkward because for 9 months it was a she and my mind refuses to do the gender change.
This cat has totally changed how I work. Before I was a messy crafter who left stuff all over the place but a few months after the beading needle incident, it found some pretty metallic thread to eat and after 40 stitches in its belly I realized I had to do things differently. I need to use boxes which close tightly and smoothly because this darling can open them otherwise, and they have to stay closed if they just so happen to “fall” off the desk! And things that “fall” get chewed up by the dog. Between the two of them I am sooo tidy now!
I use a big Ferro-Rocher chocolate box as a work space when I am beading because I can close it up without having to put everything away. And all threads get tidied up and put away – immediately.
Sophie also insures I take breaks. When we lived in Montreal, they got fed at 5 pm when I started supper, here I make supper at 4 but when they arrived they were still on Montreal time and they never adapted to Edmonton time, so now they eat at 3pm. So at 2 pm it starts bugging me for food. First it purrs, then it starts giving loving little rubs with its head. I tell you it is really hard to sew when cat keeps bumping your hands, the needle goes all over the place, including into me. As a result they get fed at 2:30 when I work in my studio.
I did get the sculpting of the chest and arms finished. Here is Pan with his legs pinned on because this is supposed to be a blog about dolls, not cats. On Sunday I worked on his right leg, finishing the shaping.
Pan with legs
Medusa. The pre invasion goddess of abundance and protection.
Medusa - front
For months now I have been captivated by images of Medusa. I have drawn her several times and just had to incorporate these drawings into a doll. After creating the “Mermaid -Breaking Free” I suspect I am claiming my power again. This lady doesn’t need to break free of anything and doesn’t seem to be afraid of anything either.
She was quite a challenge with all the snakes. The snakes took just as long as creating the figure! Eighteen snakes – somehow seems like a mystical number it is made up of threes and nines.
The base is not yet finished. The pillar is temporary until I get back from Edmonton. I realized that a heavy plaster pillar was not ideal for shows.