Category Archives: art

My original artwork.

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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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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Square Foot Art – Westland Gallery, London, Ontario

Westland Gallery is an amazing place for art. In the heart of London, Ontario’s Wortley Village the Westland hosts new, original art shows each month.

Their biggest show of the year is undoubtedly The Square Foot Show, opening July 12th, where you will see over 500 pieces all measuring 12″ x 12.” That alone is reason to go see this unique show.

Square Foot Show 2016

You will find all manner of artistic media, from painting to mixed media. And all at very reasonable prices.

Here are my entries for this year:

Old Tears Series: Time Moves Fast So Make it Last

Detail – Old Tears Series: Time Moves Fast So Make it Last

Old Tears Series: She Spilled the Flour

Old Tears Series: Letter to Mabel

Pop into The Westland sometime between July 12 – August. You will not be disappointed. Make sure you meet owner Karen Stewart and tell her I sent you.

 

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Reflections on a Year Long One-a-Day Ephemeral Art Project

I spent all of 2016 focused on an endeavour called One-a-Day Ephemeral Art Project*.

Every day for a year I went outside and had a short conversation with nature. I made a piece of art with foraged objects and left it for someone to find (or not) celebrating whatever the environment offered me each day.  I documented the entire year on Instagram by posting two photos each day; a close-up and an in situ shot (Leonie Barton gave me that idea.)

best nineThe project was a discipline and became like a daily meditation for me, visual prayer. It was a combination of contemplative photography, long hikes, strategically placed garbage and pushing the limits of imagination. I promised that I wouldn’t use any tools (somedays that would haunt me!)

And believe me, it was hard. Some days I had to force myself to go outside. Some days I couldn’t get past my own yard. Some days I hit it out of the park. Some days was a struggle to forage in 20 degrees below with frozen fingers. Somedays it was like finding mana (like the afternoon I came across a whole box of jelly-filled donuts in a parking lot).  Somedays I felt like a pirate, somedays a weaverbird.

tree ladder

Somedays I felt on the edge of vandalism and trespassing. Most days I was just a small town sleuth and magpie.

I tried not to censor my work but just take the first idea which came along and try to work with it. I found myself becoming repetitive and doing mandalas and lines of things a lot.

screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-7-18-03-pm

“Sum 115, divide by 4113 = 0.92796”

Then I would try to push myself out of that normalcy into something I didn’t really think was beautiful. And especially on really cold days….just make a mark, dang it and get your hands into your mittens again!

I jumped right in on January 1st, thinking what a neat project this was. Being in a northern clime I really never thought about what I would do the deep winter, even though it WAS deep winter when I began. But there are various ‘types’ of snow (as the Inuit know) and only some days are good for snowmen. So I would use snow when it was just right.

Dominoes

“Deconstructed snowmen”

Somedays I longed something other than snow to work with. I longed for colour.hydrant

The really cool thing was going back days later to a spot and seeing that someone else had added to my art or modified it. This didn’t happen very often but it was fun when it did.

The enemy of the ephemeral artist is wind!  Yet I tried to use it to my advantage some days and take a video of the movement of the leaves or something I made hanging from a tree. Click on the photo to see the video.

"Grass Skirt"

“Grass Skirt”

The truly memorable days were the ones I would be accompanied by my grandson. “I gotta do my artwork” he would mimic.  red line

blue boots

I also got to teach at a couple of schools.

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I had a follower on Instagram who almost every day would give a title to my photo. She was brilliant and I looked forward to seeing how she would interpret my work with her eyes.

"Sea Eye"

“Sea Eye”

"A Chorus Line"

“A Chorus Line”

"Ladybug Chorus"

“Ladybug Chorus”

I was very timid about being seen doing my art. If you are a geocacher than you will know the term ‘muggles’. I was much happier if no muggles were about. Sometimes I would even hide. I guess I just didn’t want to have to explain myself.

I got very tired of pavement, yet I do love seeing things in sidewalk cracks. So the days when I could get on a real nature hike were very welcome.

I did this the morning of April 26th and little did I know that my mom would die 8 hours later. Maybe she needed this map to find her way home.

sand labyrinthSomedays I took little videos as the in situ shot. Click the photo and see the video…screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-7-19-34-pm

 

The project really slowed me down and made me an observer.

You can view it all here, https:// http://www.instagram.com/ wavesongart/

Click the photo and see the video…screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-7-57-39-pm

*I am indebted to Shona Wilson for starting all of this and to Leonie Barton for the inspiration. If there is any one else I didn’t give credit to, please forgive me.