Friday, September 24, 2004

This is the first of a series I hope to complete this year. He stands about a foot tall when he's sitting (I haven't measured exactly his full standing height) and is made from handmade felt. First, I made the felt and then cut each piece. His arms, legs and tail are made by rolling fleece on a bamboo mat with my hands and then throwing them into the dryer for quicker felting. The fleece was in natural colours, as in the fibres weren't dyed.

The best part, though, is the noise maker that has been placed inside his body. When you hug him he lets out a really pathetic groaning shriek which just makes you want to hug him even more.

Currently it is on display in the small Fibre Gallery at ACAD and will soon be seen in a group show benifiting ARTaWEARness in Room 371 at ACAD on October 29th.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

A strange and out of context look at one of my hand carders, leftover fleece still billowing up. They're used to comb fleece so all the fibres are aligned in the same direction and ready to be spun or felted. Although they cost me a small fortune, they're indespensable. Feltmaking is growing to be a much loved practice in my little art world.

It's just really too bad that it takes such a long time to do (felting, that is). I need to felt arms and legs for a monster doll I'm currently making. The only time I have to do any of this is tomorrow morning/night. Had I realized that felting in the washing machine wasn't really going to work, I would have jumped into the studio over the weekend instead of leaving things so last minute. I'm beginning to wonder if the entire thing is even worth it. Oh boy.

I wanted to take a wee break before jumping into some studying for the rest of the night and post this picture. I'll also leave you with a list of wonderful things that have happened to me this weekend:

- I decided to move in with my boyfriend at the end of the semester. While a little planning has yet to be made, I'm really excited about the prospect of our clothes being hung in the same wardrobe.

- I attended a live music/sound event at The New Gallery where we made as much noise as we could to get back at the night club that was next store. It was pretty awesome, especially when we all started banging on pots and pans and banging the floor with brooms.

- A few weeks ago I walked by this design firm (I think) whose storefront was directly on 17th Avenue and noticed that the window was completely shattered. Some guys from the office were patching it up with brown paper and tape. I walked by there today and noticed they had covered the entire window with white paper and a huge black drawing of an ass (a donkey). I think I may be amongst the few in the city who have caught on to this.

Anyway, that's enough of a break. Must get back to the books!

Friday, September 17, 2004

Although you can just barely see it, I am wearing the pair of legwarmers I just finished the other day. They could have been made better but I'm too tired of knitting to attempt new ones so these will do just fine. They are made from two multicoloured worsted yarns--one in browns/purples and the other in blues/greens/purples. I think they're pretty good for what they are so yea.

My next knitting project is going to involve dyeing natural 100% wool yarn and creating a nice scarf for my boyfriend. It will be in shades of browns and chestnuts, more than likely in a gradient-style dye. It'll also be striped through textured stitches. Hopefully he'll like it enough that he'll wear it throughout our frigid winter months.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

He wasn't an awful one, just quiet.

Good lunchtime food and a glass of ginger ale; The Magnetic Fields on the stereo; a scarf loosely tied around the neck; creative thoughts and a hot cup of tea; sleeping in; warm showers; thoroughly fascinating reading; an art opening with lots of familiar faces; long train rides; carrying bags; sleeping in the middle of the afternoon.

I arrived in class exactly two minutes late, they were just putting on a film about Franz Boas and his anthropological work. I spent the class organizing my agenda and formalizing ideas for an upcoming project. School is getting very busy but thankfully I was smart (for once) and jumped ahead in some of my readings so my weekend can be spent doing other things (working, felting, studying, & playing). It's ugly working the entire weekend but with any luck I will get some amount of real work done. Things feel organised in a very disshevelled way but that's the story of my life. I only have a gentle grasp of what I'm doing because control is completely subjective.

Tonight there is an opening for an exhibition in the Truck +15 space (starting at 8pm). I've agreed to attend because being active in the art community is an important necessity most art students forget. Connections are extremely important. This Saturday there will be something amusing happening at TNG, starting around 9pm. I don't remember exactly what I was told this morning about it but I believe it has something to do with the night club that's next door and its increasingly obnoxious bass lines that shake the walls of the gallery on a nightly basis. It should be amusing.

My weeks are so busy with only moments to rest in between projects, class and working. I haven't felt this active in months.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Bobbing heads.

I fell asleep on the bus coming home. By six o'clock every evening, I'm beat, hungry, worn out and tired. When I'm working, I am focused. My line of vision is narrow and I move fluidly without much pause. A half an hour here, fifteen minutes there, and then it's right back to work. And while my body will begin to shut down despite my will to keep moving, I keep staring straight ahead until I can no longer do it.

My school days are usually very physical. The processes I go through are detailed and multiple. Felting, silkscreening, knitting, quiltmaking, printmaking, etc. Everything I do follows a certain path, a series of precise events that vary only slightly each time. Process is such an important element of my art practice because it allows me to become more involved with my work--it places even more of myself into the piece. The process of making felt, of dyeing fibres, of handquilting, of etching plates, of is more important than the finished product.

I just wish there were more hours in the day to do it all because as much as I value process to my work, I am often frustrated with time. Sometimes I wonder if time went by slower before they invented wristwatches and wall clocks. I think I would have liked it better then.

Loop effects.

The trick is to maintain a balance in life. I'm learning to weigh things evenly--school, love, art, social-life, myself--but it is extremely difficult. It is so easy to accidently let it all overwhelm me, like what happened today. Not even a full week into the school year and I'm already freaking out. Third year art school is going to be major work but I'm up for the challenge. Especially after talking my anxieties through with someone who has been through this entire thing before. It is great to have support in all the right places.

Tomorrow (rather, later today), I have a printmaking elective--Intaglio. I'm very excited to be in the printmaking area again but I am a little nervous about the drawing aspects of etching and other relief based printing. I've never been a drawer, just a doodler. I sketch out ideas but I never fully develop any of my drawings. I can see this class as being my laid back, take-it-easy course. Drawing is only work when you want it to be. For sure.

But now it is time to bed. Headaches and girl cramps are begging to be muted.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Pumas run fast.

Already, studio space is being used up by a continuing education class. Is it so terribly wrong of me to be completely annoyed that I can't have the studio completely to myself on this beautiful Sunday afternoon? I'm considering hiding in a corner, doing academic homework, for the time being. Though, right now I'm sitting here doing this. Procrastination starts early here, folks!

The walk from Mission to the train station was beautiful this morning. It's the perfect late summer/early fall day. Tea in hand, Stereolab in ear, new sneakers on foot--everything was completely content. As I was walking down 4th Street, some gals from school called out to me from the balcony of their apartment building. I went up and we chatted for a while, watching traffic pass.

Last night I was completely exhausted and while I'm still struggling to stay awake right now, I feel rested and better. So much better. Long hugs, back rubs and soft lights make everything better. Mmm.

On the agenda for today? Homework, homework, homework. Right now, though, I'm going to steep another cup of tea.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Autumn is coming.

This is a hand-knit scarf I spent much of August making. It took a while but I finally finished it earlier this week. It is made from an acrylic/mohair/lamb's wool blend yarn in alternating stitch stripes (the stripes are textured as opposed to defined by colour). It's about six or seven inches wide and is longer than I am (meaning it's over 5'8"). Already it has proven to be wonderful in almost-freezing weather.

Next up is a pair of legwarmers and the possibility of ski masks from handspun fibres (oooh!). Posted by Hello

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Cold air.

Autumn is here, school is starting and everything feels ready to move. I took the train this morning and my breath was caught in the air. In the suburbs, wood stoves were burning. In the coffee shop where I always drink my tea, university kids were huddled at their individual tables over books and empty coffee cups. This is my favourite time of year, how everything is crisp and fresh. Everything seems eager and ready. Finally, it feels like there's purpose again.

Autumn offers a structure that summer can't provide and I welcome it. As fun as this summer has been--laying in bed wrapped up in arms and kisses, eating breakfast in the middle of the afternoon, drinking beer on weeknights, dragging my feet in rivers--I'm tired. It's time to get to work.

I'm looking forward to waking up at 7am tomorrow, steeping tea, and spending the morning on the bus and train. Going back to school makes me feel like I'm a part of the world again.