A YEAR OF TRANSITION - NOVEMBER 2023 UPDATE

"Music is full of longing and movement. Painting should be the same."

I read this quote in Hundred and Thousands: The Journals of Emily Carr and I cannot agree more with this sentiment. Whether a painter, fibre artist, writer, photographer or working in another medium, we can always grow as artists as we strive to add emotion to our creations while reaching and resonating with our viewers.  


My art this past year has been all about trying to reach that movement and longing. I haven't always been successful but it's given me a goal. It's meant giving myself permission to explore and play more, to allow failures. Because that's how we grow. What we learn from them and how it shapes our next steps is what is important. And I've learned more about the creative process this past year than I could have hoped for.

It's been months since I've blogged. I got away from it all these months as I've focused on other areas and made some changes in my life. It's been a year of self reflection as I've entered a new decade.

So where am I now?

  • I'm teaching more, mostly Gelli Printing - both beginners and more advanced classes, and am developing a workshop on image transfers using the gelli plate which I'll be teaching on December 2nd at the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum in Almonte. More workshops are planned for next year. 

  • I also developed and taught a class on Journaling to Enhance Creativity, and ran a reduced version with my fibre arts group. This has so much potential and I hope to take it to another level in 2024, as it gives us much to consider as we on our artistic journeys and finding that much sought after longing and movement in our creations. 
  • DRAW - the artist retreat sponsored by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society Ottawa Valley Chapter (CPAWS-OV) was a highlight of my summer, providing lots of inspiration for new art. A week in nature and with like-minded artists was just what my soul needed. 


  • I've started my third year as Chair of the Out of the Box Fibre Artists. It's been a very rewarding position as I try to bring in the inspiration that so attracted me when I first joined the group several years ago. 
  • And I'm going back to school! Yes! A bit scary but I've started in a year-long program called Holistic Integrated Creative Arts Therapy Practitioner Training. It builds on a college program I took years ago on the Expressive Arts Therapies, which I loved but didn't do as much as I wanted in that area. This will fill in the gaps that I need to take my teaching to the next level. I'm just two weeks in but am already finding it of much benefit. Thankfully it's all online and I can work at my own pace to get the readings and assignments done. And music does play a part in this program and I'm excited to bring back my love of music and be able to use it as part of my artistic practice.
My new plan for this blog is to send something out on a monthly basis. Writing that down should make it happen, right!?!  I plan to include quotes, photos, and an update on the classes I'm both teaching and taking, along with other tidbits of inspiration.

Until next month,
Anne

BROKEN SAUCER SERIES LEADS TO CREATIVE DISCOVERIES


My last post was about fibre art I had made highlighting a piece of broken saucer from my Downton Abbey teapot set, and with 3 pieces remaining from the saucer, my plan was to create a series around this one theme.

I have now done just that, and was further inspired - and even surprised - by some discoveries I made while in the process of creating: 



As I progressed making this series, it began to feel less about the saucer fragments and more about studying the colour white. The fragments became part of the medium for this exploration, with the white of the saucer and textiles being dominant, a touch of black in the words and in the background for contrast and balanced with light browns or copper.

- A realization came to me as I reflected on all the art I have made in the last few years that my best works are the ones where I use only one colour (or colours within the same family) which becomes the dominant element, contrasting with just a bit of neutral or the complementary colour, and not those with multiple colours or with another element of design being dominant. 

- For the past couple of years I have consciously used line as the dominant element and I'm now noticing a shift to balance that with more quiet areas - smooth rather than full of line or texture. I like to use sew & slash as my technique choice, and think I now prefer to include just a bit of line. A little can go a long way, as they say. This is now allowing my one colour choice to sing.

My planning for this series included the selection of old tablecloths as the textile choice to fit the era of Downton Abbey. A comment came my way observing "the tension between the delicacy of the textiles with the sharpness of the shards". That was a perspective I had not thought of and yet fits. (Thanks!) Good to be reminded that the viewer may see things in our art we had not thought of.

- It's easy to make just one of something then move on to something different, thinking we'll get bored quickly by doing a series. Not so! In this case one idea led to another until I had ideas I wanted to try with all 4 fragments of the saucer. While the 4th idea did not work out, it led to more experimentation until I happened upon the answer, in this case including a small branch. I quite like the contrast of nature against the saucer and fabric..
After finishing this small series and preparing to start another using leftover floor tile fragments, I got stuck fairly quickly, not being happy with the compositions. Deciding to move on to a piece about an old door (I love that weathered look) seemed like a good idea, yet I again got stuck.

I realized then I needed to listen to my intuition which was guiding me to continue working in white. And so I have started a winter scene based on a photo taken while snowshoeing and I'm pleased to say I'm making good progress. I have many great winter photos and I think these are now leading to a whole series of "studies in white". Sometimes it's the struggle that matters, other times we just have to have trust in our intuition.

Stay tuned!




A broken saucer .... repurposed....

I broke the saucer part of my favourite teapot a few months ago, a Downton Abbey teapot my stepdaughter gave me a few years back. I fortunately still have the pot and bowl section intact and use them daily.

The saucer broke into 4 sections and could have been glued back together, but I choose instead to sit with the pieces, awaiting an answer on whether I should fix it or do something else.

I've been intrigued lately with using fragments in art. And realizing that my best art is usually monochromatic, it seemed right to create art using not just the saucer fragments, but also the colours in the fragment: white, black and a wee bit of tea stain.

A dig through my fabric stash revealed an old cotton tablecloth remnant, perfect for the backdrop. I added more layers from two other white-ish tablecloths, one rather lacey, so I could then sew & slash (faux chenille is my preferred technique). The bottom layer was from a black tablecloth, giving just the right amount of contrast.

The word "renewal" was coming to mind for this repurposed art, and so I printed out the word in a font I felt fit the style I was seeking, and pinned it onto the back of the fabric layers, then sewed around the letters. I have been slowly and carefully cutting through the layers from the front to reveal the word against the black on the back (it needs a bit more work but I'm getting there).

Having decided where to place the saucer fragment, my next challenge was to attach it to the fabric. Stone wrapping techniques seemed like a good idea but I was not happy with the result. In the end, I used Alene's Original Tacky Glue to attach the fragment, then once it dried I attempted some wrapping with copper coloured thread and a light tea-coloured cotton yarn that is used for warping a loom. A touch of gel medium on these threads to keep them in place was all that was needed to ensure the fragment was securely attached.

For a bit of embellishment and to finish sewing the fabric layers together, I sewed white on white lines, using a twin needle on my sewing machine. I'm new to using this type of needle and I love its potential. I then added 3 white dowels horizontally, repeating the lines in the cotton tablecloth. 


Lastly, I added a bit of black watercolour marker, enhancing the word "renewal" and, as I had not done any slashing, I chose to slash in only one spot to reveal the lacey tablecloth below. Any more than that, and the piece would become too busy. Simple yet meaningful was my objective.

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I am very pleased with the result so far and with the colours and contrast. With 3 fragments left from the saucer, as well as some floor tile remnants, I hope to turn this into a new series and continue exploring the possibilities.

 

A YEAR OF TRANSITION - NOVEMBER 2023 UPDATE

"Music is full of longing and movement.  Painting should be the same." I read this quote in Hundred and Thousands: The Journals of...