7/18/17

A Drifting Mind

Finding it difficult to get much done today, mind constantly drifting back to yesterday's encounter.

There are some sounds you hope to never hear in life, the sound of someone's life potentially being altered forever. 

I've heard this sound twice now. 

The fist time it started with a loud crack and then the ground shook a few times before all was still.

Yesterday it was a screech, followed by the snap and crunch of metal and plastic and a large crash of metal on pavement.

Both times I've heard these unnatural noises I've felt myself instantly engulfed in a blanket of dread... was I about to encounter a dead body?

Miraculously the first accident, a jeep taking the turn too quickly, over compensating and then taking out the neighbours 30 year maple and about 75% of a forsythia before rolling across our property and settling, upside down, just between ours and the neighbour's wells. 

As I approached I could hear the sound of liquid pouring out from the vehicle, relieved when I saw it was house paint and booze. I momentarily had visions of the whole thing exploding like in the movies, luckily my train of thought was interrupted by a shoe-less man emerging from the vehicle. After asking if he was ok and letting him know that Bryan was inside calling 911 he promptly started rooting around the vehicle, collected what looked like some rum and beer and then he took off down the road in his sock feet. I tried to follow his direction but it wasn't long before the giant emblem of the Zig Zag man printed on the back of his hoodie disappeared into the darkness.

Yesterday while visiting with Darren Porter, collecting research on the species that inhabit the Avon River for a new exhibit at the museum, we heard that tell tale sound again. One wrong move and your life is forever altered . One moment of poor judgement that you can never take back.

As I stood up and looked out the window I saw what I expected to be a dead body. As I walked out I approached very slowly, as I got closer I became aware that my hands were folded in prayer, which is odd for me as I've not had religion like that in my life, but I believe the instinct must be in my DNA. 


There were two people on the bike, the man quickly indicated his leg was broken, then finally I heard the most relieving words, "oh baby" coming from the woman who was face down on the shoulder of the road, twisted, bruised and bleeding. 

Further relief arrived a moment later when a man came running letting us know that he had first aid. He asked all the right questions and promptly whipped off his shirt to address her bleeding leg. Moments later friends of the victims arrived to provide comfort and support and a few minutes later a nurse emerged. Within 15 minutes the ambulance was there and from what I've heard the couple will survive if the surgeries are successful.

After witnessing something like you can't help but think of how quickly your life can be ripped from you. Miraculously these people will most likely survive, but they'll never be the same. The gentleman's daughter has started a campaign on kick starter to help cover the costs of lost wages and bills.

As we returned home Bryan and I couldn't help but think about how quickly your life could change and the long lasting effects it could have. 


I dreamnt about car crashes all night; Bryan is considering selling his bike. 

Although we were just witnesses on the peripheral, this accident has left a scar. 

My mind keeps going to those who rushed in to provide support; the trained people who deal with situations like this on a regular basis, what strength they must have.

Today I'm grateful for all the near misses we've encountered on the road, be it animals or other vehicles. Never assume that the other drivers on the road are going to make the move you'd expect them too. Make sure to leave everyone lots of space, and for heaven's sake, don't speed. It's just not necessary.



5/3/17

An Old Dog Learns New Tricks - Experiments in Wet Felting

At the last felting workshop I taught someone asked me about wet felting, and, as per usual, I kind of blew it off as just not being my thing.
 
Afterwards I thought about it and realized it had been a very long time since I'd even given wet felting any thought, and although I remember it as being exhausting, maybe now, with my current skill set, I'd find it to be a different experience.   
 
Recently I stumbled upon another wool artist thanks to Facebook, Jill Harrison, and I was in awe of what she was accomplishing with fiber. At first I thought her highly detailed pieces were needle felted, but after further study I realized that they weren't felted at all,they were made by layering fibres under glass.
 
Her process is very similar to how I needle felt, minus all of the extra physical activity. One upshot to her process is that by being under glass dust would no no longer be a worry... although I have heard wool will rot under glass, so the pieces life span may be limited.

Looking to experiment I took the glass out of one of our framed prints (I'll put it back later) and started a portrait. Usually that is my go to when trying something brand new... always a self portrait... which tend to end up looking nothing like me at all.

If I was going to spend more time doing something like this I would make sure to work at a high counter top as I really tweaked my back leaning over this piece. I found the process quite fast and liked the look of the fibres smooshed under the glass... but I wasn't sure it was something I'd stick with. 

I put the piece aside for a month or so and began thinking more about wet felting and I considered that maybe my piece under glass might be the perfect piece to experiment with. I went to the internet and watched a few quick videos and then headed to the dollar store for supplies. One bamboo mat, a rubber grip mat, and some plastic wrap later, I was ready to experiment.

Now wet felting was just as exhausting as I remember, and after spending nearly a decade needle felting and rug hooking my wrists are very tender. I found it difficult to roll the mat for longer that 2 or 3 minutes, so in the end my piece wasn't as felted as it could have been, but I was still impressed with the results.

That was until my wrist started throbbing a few hours later. The pain lasted a really long time. Too long. I was beginning to think that wet felting just wasn't going to be an option... then I remembers someone a long tine ago said they did it with their feet, rolling the mat on the floor. 

With that my inspiration came back and I started coming up with lots of ideas to combine needle felting and wet felting and started production on some roses and poppies that I've since turned into brooches and used to embellish pouches.

I let my wrists heal a few days before I was ready to give the wet method another go.... this time only rolling with my feet. This turned out to work really well as I found that I could multi task and work on some planning, writing notes in my journal while exercising my calves. Ten minutes passed by in no time!

I'm really thrilled with how my flowers turned out any my brooches serve as a lovely compliment to my recent botanical series of feltscapes.

So, needles to say, I think you may find wet felting creeping into my work more and more... and I couldn't be more excited with the possibilities!






My experiment under glass




Things got a little wonky in the wet felting process
Touching up the composition with needle felting

I decided to embellish the piece with roses
Flower production has begun!

New brooches and pouches that I'm taking to Halifax Crafters this weekend!






























2/16/17

WOOLY WHALE WORKSHOP



WOOLY WHALE WORKSHOP  with Tacha Reed!

Sunday, March 5th, 11am-3pm, $120

Class size limited to 6 persons

Lunch provided by The Old Apothecary



Learn something new this year - perhaps you're an artist and you don't even know it! Back by popular demand, we are pleased to present a very special workshop opportunity to be hosted at Argyle Fine Art. Learn how to make a Humpback Whale Under Water led by fibre artist Tacha Reed of Woodland Wool.

This workshop will introduce the novice to the various tools and techniques used to create needle felted "paintings". Each participant will create an underwater image of a humpback whale that appears to be swimming out from a deep sea background. Each participant will complete the workshop with their own felted creation and the basic skills and tools required to begin designing 3-D works of art. The cost is $120 per person, and includes all necessary supplies, with a lunch provided.

So join us for a whale of a good time while learning something new! Full Payment required when registering, so we can make sure all your supplies and lunch are confirmed.




Argyle Fine Art
1559 Barrington Street, Unit 102
Halifax, Nova Scotia
B3J 1Z7
902.425.9456

To register email gallery@argylefa.com

1/20/17

Force


Once, a long time ago, I imagined if I were to be a part of nature, what would I want to be? After much thought I chose the shoreline. For some reason the area that spent half its time above land and half its time below appealed to me most.

Perhaps this is why the sudden death of hundreds of thousands of herring touched me so... and why, when a month later starfish, lobster, crabs, scallops and many other sea creatures also decorated the shores of St Mary's Bay in Digby, I felt my heart fracture a little more.

When I first heard that our province planned to install a turbine along the Bay of Fundy I was instantly frustrated. To me it seems incredibly irresponsible to put a machine that generates that much force next to a fissure in the earth's crust.  Seems insane actually, like you're asking for trouble.

When the herring first came ashore last November I wanted to blame the turbine. Then, when I read that the deaths correlated with the flipping of the switch , which had begun uploading the gathered energy to the grid, I felt that I had my confirmation. When it happened again on December 16th I wanted to demand to the powers that be that the turbines be shut down that moment. 

But who am I and what do I know?
Since then I've read a great deal of articles, and now my mind is also questioning the dangers of sound waves. I think I can honestly say that I admire Nikola Tesla above all men, thanks to his brilliant mind and inventions we're aware of the positive and negative results caused by sound waves being released into the atmosphere; in some cases causing small birds to fall from the sky and earthquakes below. I have a mild fascination with conspiracy theories, taking them all with a grain of salt and I've read  about HAARP

I hadn't thought of sound waves in relation to the turbine beforehand and have since added another hefty check to my "con" list.

Inquiry into the cause of the massacre has seemed to have lost momentum since it was reported that Digby fisherman have attributed a rapid change in temperature  as a probable cause for the November incident. The public has apparently accepted this and I've heard of no further explanation as to the multiple species deaths in December. Recently the Chronicle Herald shared a story (which conveniently makes no mention of the 2nd more devastating occurrence) claiming a "confluence of events" as the cause.

I've found myself asking many questions since December, like was there a switch flipped again on the 16th? I have a hard time accepting temperature change as being responsible for the deaths of so many bottom dwelling creatures. Did they start uploading power to the grid again? Will they ever even tell us if they did? Will it happen again the next time they try to upload?

Since I'm unable to get answers to my questions I've had to work through my emotions the only way I know how, I felt them out!


Over the last few year's Argyle Fine Art's annual Pre-shrunk show has become part of my regular routine; it forces me to really push myself and try something new, playing extreme attention to the details. I've taught myself many new techniques coming up with these miniatures each year.

Normally I portray whimsical scenes, mostly landscapes with playful animals, but this year I've found myself in a more of a somber mood. In addition to the sea creatures my dear friend Kristie Sheehy, my inspiration for Serious Sirius, recently passed after an unfortunate accident. 

Kristie and I had a special connection and it is with her in mind that I begin my 3rd installment on my Serious Sirius series; A Force of Nature.

Before I got started on this piece I felt the need to create a tribute to the creatures that recently passed. I now consider my quadriptych "Force"  a prequel to my most recent continuation in the saga of of our ancestors and our guardians, the whales of Sirius .
 
As I brainstormed individual names for each of the 4 segments of "Force" I inadvertently  wrote this song, my first ever in fact. I may not have come up with titles for my individual "pre-shrunk" pieces, but I think this song sums up how I feel these days.



Force
Was this a force of nature?
Or was it caused by FORCE?
Can't be forced
to bite my tongue.
Can't be forced
to accept it
as
coincidence
as
coincidence
the sea is spilling over
it's creatures upon dry land
the earth has started shakin'
the air is moving past

Is this a force of nature?
Or is it caused by FORCE?
I can too
me and you
be
a force of nature
we're (all)
a force of nature

the stones are turning over
there's evidence everywhere
why won't you
admit it's true
it's more
than a force of nature
you've forced
the course of nature