Sunday, 15 July 2012

A Brand New Show Display

My outdoor art show last month was a disaster. The weather had been fine, then  horrendous wind gusts came out of nowhere, leaving only three tents standing. Display stands full of art work blew over. Painted canvases cartwheeled across the lawn. I'm still in awe of seeing my greeting cards sail through the air, but that was eclipsed by my neighbour's huge tent lifting right off the ground (tent pegs not withstanding) and knocking over three table of jewellery with it... Thankfully no one got hurt from the flying glass... which happened to be my "Glimpses" that I had stayed up until midnight matting and framing.

And that was before the torrential rain hit~ with all the packing boxes in the vehicle parked a long way off...

Oh, and just for the record... my Wild Things really CAN fly!

Over several restorative cups of tea and a comfort food supper later, my friend and I put our heads together and came up with a far better, more stable way of displaying my work. Now, columns of wire cubes stack no more than three high and are clamped to folding TV tables covered with fabric.

Sturdy plastic totes are stored under the back table in the event that fast packing is required.

One side of each cube is left open to insert 12 inch slate floor tiles to provide more stability and form shelves in cubbyholes where I can feature some of my work.

Last weekend I did the Acres of Art down at Coast Collective in Victoria and had a wonderful display. People were able to circulate and delighted in discovering the cubby holes and what they held. I am still paring down my display but really happy with the way it is now looking...

and standing!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Alchemy of a New Idea

I love the alchemy that takes place when a new idea unfolds. A few weeks ago while making the upteenth “Wild Thing” that uses cotton fabric, I came across several scraps of gorgeous quilting cotton that someone had given to me a couple of years ago.

As each piece came to light I kept thinking I should probably “save” them for something else, especially as they were small pieces and would require sewing together before using on the Wild Things, and time was of the essence.

Later that evening I pieced together some of the cottons into landscapes and was quite pleased with the result. I felt they needed more life, and I knew that hand embroidery and beads would provide some of that, but not quite all that I had in mind. Besides, I had two weeks to come up with some new pieces for a Fibre show and again, the clock was ticking.

Silk would provide more luminosity. I grabbed a basket of distressed silk leftover from my last batch of West Coast Reflections with the intention of adding some to the scenes. And then the playing began... Several hours and half a dozen pieces later I had exactly what I knew I was looking for 

And then the metallic pens came out… and other fibres… and other mediums…

What emerged was a whole new series called “Glimpses” ~ tiny land and sea scapes reminiscent of the West Coast.

I’m thinking of painting more silk fabric to use, distressing fabric in different ways, enhancing with gold or silver leaf… because who knows where else this may take me?

Tony, my partner captured their essence in these words:

“You look at them and you know that whether it was in a blink of an eye,
or a moment in time, a certain light,
or simply in your dreams, you have seen this.
You've been there.”

Saturday, 7 July 2012

The Smell of Freedom

Several years ago I lived in a lovely old house in Qualicum Beach which had many old trees in the garden. At the front of the house stood a beautiful lilac tree and one day when it was in full bloom I suddenly had the urge to paint a wild and exuberant abstract rendition of the blossoms.

A few days later one of my friends came by for tea and asked if she could pick some lilacs. It turned out that lilacs reminded her of her father who had passed away a few years before. He has spent several years as a German prisoner in Russia during the second world war and never spoke of the horrors he had endured there. He eventually escaped. Travelling for weeks, evading capture or being shot, starving and exhausted, mile upon endless mile. When eventually he reached the border, there were lilac bushes in full bloom and heavy with scent. At last he crossed over to safety. Forever after, he would associate the smell of lilacs with freedom.

I got up, went to my studio and returned with the painting. I knew now why I had painted it. It wasn't for me, but for her.

I never took a photo of the painting. I didn't have to. I just need to enjoy the lilacs each year, remember the painting, my friend, her father... and how truly precious is the smell of freedom.