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
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.
My Christmas present – my studio is finally ready for use. It is not finished totally but my side is working now. I have even had some time to start using it!!
It is a converted kitchen that has been used as a workshop when the house was renovated so we installed a new floor and shelving. The room has actually been finished for a few months but we needed to fill the space so we could finish the furnace / storage room.
I had bought some fabric last January and it has been sitting and waiting for me to decide what to do with it. This time as soon as I picked it up it told me it wanted to be Pan playing the flute.
So far I sewn the legs in dark green and the torso in light green. Next will be the arms. Getting all the angles right, reversed and inside out is a challenge for someone who is dyslexic!
It feels so exciting to be working again. Before this I was crushing my ideas down. I stopped journalling because all I was writing was whining about how I couldn’t follow through on my ideas, which made me really depressed. Now it is like someone turned on the lights. All my creative ideas are flowing. My cup is once again half full, not half empty.
There were a few painful moments as I had to learn to use the new sewing machine. I whined and moaned until I finally figured it out – I actually had to READ THE MANUAL! Me, read a sewing machine manual! I still feel awkward, I have to think about every move. I miss my old Bernina but really we don’t need a fifth sewing machine here and it was getting fussy. I have had it since 1975. I bought it with one of my first real pay checks, it was worth 6 months of rent.
The sewing machine is in my bedroom because the desk is easier to work on then the high counters.
Remember the post about Blooming Here ? Well it feels more like freezing into place lately then blooming. We have had snow on the ground since the beginning of November, and it is cold, it was -25c when I walked the dog this morning and that didn’t include the wind chill. When Santa comes tonight he had better have his heated long under wear on! And to think winter has only just begun.
Lilac outside my bedroom
This is the view from the sewing area. A lovely white lilac bush and a foot of snow. I keep telling myself it will be so nice in spring when it blooms.
Tomorrow is Christmas and we have respite care so I am going to spend 2 hours of guilt free play time in my studio! Once it is all cut and sewn I can bring it up stairs and work on stuffing and sculpting.
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.