Author Archives: nurturingspace

Ode to Saskatoons

I only had to look up.
They were there all along.
The ripe and ripening fruit.
Yummy morsels.
Dark purple.

I go out and harvest my breakfast
from my own bushes, nay trees now.

When did the fruit grow out of reach?
How can I harvest?
The tree, if carefully handled,
will bend.
Gracefully bowing its branches
and offering, like a courtesy
its posey to the queen.

Of course looking up at the right time is good.

At first the berries come in bunches,
easy picking, filling my pail in minutes.

There is more fruit there
Waiting to ripen.

Each picking gets more intense.
Berries now ripen one by one
spread over many branches
making the harvest slower and more thoughtful.
For what might be hiding under a leaf?
A juicy surprise
All alone.

I don’t remember losing touch.
When did I stop noticing the fruit
in my own backyard?
When did I become nonchalant?
When did I forget to look up?

Someone walked the path with me.
Someone who knows the forest.
Recites the names,
studies the bark.
Notices the leaves.
Someone who can tell a spruce from a fir.
Someone who made me aware.
Who gave me a new perspective.

I only had to look up.
They were there all along.
The ripe and ripening fruit.
The yummy morsels.
The dark purple.

When all the ripening is done
the last few berries
remain solitary.
How can I possibly leave even
a single berry behind?
Then I remember the birds.
The birds who serenade me each morning.
They need to eat as well.
And in their relief
will broadcast the wee seeds
to more places in my forest
to keep the harvest ever present.

Can I trust this fullness?
The deep ripening which satiates
and fills my soul?

Like a sage writing holy scripture
I notate in my calendar
a year from now.

Look up.

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Deep Woods Words Land Art Project

It all started at a used book sale when I saw a pile of Reader’s Digest Condensed Books sitting in a pile. Some of them had a bit of mould. I asked the organizers if I could just make a wee donation and take the whole lot off their hands.

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I have been inspired to do odd stuff with old books by @book_ronnie on Instagram.  She leaves books in piles or assemblages in the woods and waits to see what will happen to them.

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I am privileged to have a piece of land which has nature paths. I chose these two trees.

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To see what happens to my library in the deep words, oops, woods, stay tuned.

UPDATE June 2018

Thanks to another great yard sale I’m able to add to this project.

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1 Year of Stitches – DONE

1 Year of Stitches FINISHED

1 Year of Stitches

One year ago my friend Lou Anne Sybenga and I started a project called #1yearofstitches or #onestitchaday. This challenge was begun by Hannah Claire Somerville. When I saw this project on Instagram it took my fancy. I had just finished a year long one-a-day project which required me to go outside everyday and make ephemeral art. So stitching was a nice change.

I decided to take Hannah’s idea and share it with my artistic muse and neighbour, Lou Anne. We decided to both start hoops and trade back and forth every couple of weeks. She chose a light pink ground and I choose black. To say she is not computer savvy is a bit of an understatement. And I am the opposite, so I documented everything on Instagram.

1 Year of Stitches BEFORE

Hannah describes #1yearofstitches thusly:

“I am interested in the impact, or mark, that an individual makes on a daily basis. Big or small, our daily activities are often times unquantifiable and intangible. I am approaching this project as a personal map making; the fabric ground represents each day of the year, with the needle and thread representing my actions throughout the day. I will embroider— maybe one stitch, maybe more, (hopefully) every day and photograph the result. The embroidery I create will become a tangible, visual account of the decisions, movements, conversations and sometimes lack there of, that I make each day. I hope to use this project as a means of creating mindfulness and deeper reflection upon the choices we make as a society. ”

Our Rules and Stipulations (adapted from Hannah) were:

  1. Our fabric ground consists of a swatch of poly-cotton in a 10’’ x 10’’ hoop. The thread we use may change daily and we may adhere additional types of media to our ground with thread.
  2. We will embroider something each day and I will try to post a photograph of the result each day on @wavesongart.
  3. It is not required that we make a stitch— some days you definitely do not contribute anything to society.
  4. We are allowed to remove stitches, because mistakes can sometimes be undone.
  5. We will exchange hoops on a regular basis.
  6. More rules and stipulations may be added as the project evolves and lessons are learned.

Lou Anne’s hoop

Ev’s hoop

WHAT WE LEARNED:

  • We both had to give ourselves permission to be more flexible and less anal. Some days we just forced ourselves to stitch. Some days, fuck it! Who’s gonna police this but us?
  • The hoops became fluid. Meaning we had to drop the notion that the pink one was ‘hers’ and the black one was ‘mine’ because at first we were both afraid of screwing up each other’s hoops. The funny thing is, when the year ended, we decided to keep the one we each began with.
  • The pink hoop called out to be filled in totally. The black hoop called out for more negative space or background showing through.
  • Lou Anne’s default was to complete a little area with a scene or object. I tried to create little objects and I didn’t enjoy it. Chain stitch, running stitch and back stitch were my go-to’s.
  • A year is a long time and SHIT happens. Sometimes you just don’t feel like carrying an embroidery hoop into a hospital waiting room.
  • Everyone who saw the hoops was very inspired. But it was less inspiring in some ways for us. I was glad to get back into hand stitching actually though and I realize I abandoned it for my machine a number of years ago. So I am looking forward to more hand-stitching.
  • Where does inspiration come from? Ah, the eternal artist’s question and still waiting to be answered!
  • We always enjoyed what the other person was doing more than our own work.
  • We were very glad to FINISH, to see the year through to the end! If we hadn’t had each other to be accountable to we may not have finished.
  • We make our mark on each other. Our friendship is very important.
  • I don’t need to do another year long one-a-day project for a l-o-n-g time.

Chloe’s three little bugs

Purple Rain, Cabin in the Woods and Vancouver Island forest

Lou Anne’s paisley and Ev’s Aurora

texture

beading

Lou Anne’s jumping fish and Ev’s Ombre

 

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Autumn Contemplation on the Bruce Trail

I spent the weekend with these harmonious souls walking a wee part of the Bruce Trail on an Autumn Retreat with the theme, Letting Go. The trail was quite difficult in parts and because of the drizzle, it was also slippery. This meant that I needed to pay attention to where my feet landed.

This part of the trail is in wine country. So one is constantly hearing the boom of canon’s being set off in order to keep the birds from eating the maturing grapes. It’s an interesting juxtaposition of nature sounds and booms.

One of our retreat facilitators led the walk and the other came behind to make sure no one was left behind or in trouble. This was very comforting.

We sat on the moss, without words.

This is what I wrote:

Long before….
long before.
Long before your were conceived of I Am.

I Am the falling water.
I Am the smooth rock.
I Am the soft green moss, carpet for your weary rambling.

Long before…
I Am the smell of the decomposition.
I Am the fragrance of my tears on fallen leaf.
I Am the sound of rain dripping from the canopy.
I Am the swirling eddies.
I Am the calm pool.
I Am the water against stone.

Long before…
I Am the ancient gnarly roots.
I Am the hidden nest in the branches.
I Am the cool breeze.
I Am the cleft in the rock.
I Am the canon boom protecting the harvest.

Long before…
I Am the rich hummus.
I Am the skirt of yellow.
I Am the blanket of red.
I Am the evergreen.

Long before….
I Am the joy of birdsong.
I Am the slippery foothold.
I Am the steep climb.
I Am the glacier’s path.

I Am your deepest longing.

Long before.

Because I did not take my camera I have used this photo from Richard Olley’s blog.

 

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Eye of the Storm – Land Art Project

Another offering in the woods. I found some nice green grapevine. Green vine is easy to weave, leaves and all. When I find a pile of grapevine I interpret it as a free art supply, just waiting for a challenge.

I featured an old clock, minus the mechanical parts, in this weaving. It has metal sails.

“Eye of the Storm”

Lately there have been lots of hurricanes in the Caribbean. So the phrase ‘eye of the storm’ has been particularly poignant.

It started to rain half way through the process, which is actually fine. Because it’s easier to weave the vine when it is supple. But sucks on the hands.

I chose a place in our woods which has two paths converging, sort of at a fork in the road.

Grapevine walls are notoriously difficult to photograph. But here is an attempt from a distance as you approach it from my path.

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