Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Earlier this afternoon, I was rummaging through the textiles area of the college library when I stumbled across the Portfolio Collection of Darrel Morris. I recognized the name but couldn't remember the work, which is a little shameful for me (really). Darrel Morris is an artist out of Chicago who does the most beautiful minature embroideries (Going, Going, Gone, embroidery and applique, 5"x11". 2003). I became completely overwhelmed by his work. The odd mixture of simplicity and obsessive stitches is mind blowing. I am inspired to satin stitch everything I see...not sketch, no print, but embroider. God.

So, taking a cue from Mr. Morris, I went to the fabric store I work at and purchased 33 spools of polyester thread. Honestly, I should have just picked one of every colour since the sale was "Buy 1, Get 2 FREE" but that didn't occur to me until after. I am excited about embroidering my sampler for Textile History (which will be visually based on my birth control pills) if only for the process of stitching. I am so inspired!

But what doesn't inspire me is the paper that I have to finish writing tonight after I return from the theatre tonight. My mother bought tickets for herself, my visiting aunt, and I to see Sherlock Holmes at the Max Bell Theatre. It will be a nice break from everything, I think.

This week will be spent at school doing a combination of embroidery, research, felting, dyeing and printmaking (etching, in particular). I intend to overwork myself this week. It will be challenging and good.

More of Darrel Morris' work can be found at gescheidle.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Flannelette will pill if not watched carefully.

I was taking the train just a little while ago, heading from downtown to the Art College, and ended up sitting in front of a giant poster of a semi-naked man. It's part of a huge marketing campaign for the shopping centres in "The Core" of downtown Calgary. Each poster features a naked man/woman holding a photograph of themselves wearing an outfit from the shops downtown, the photograph stragetically placed to hide the right areas. As I was sitting down, with nothing really to look at but this image of a naked man, I noticed that around his ankles were sock-marks. You know, when you pull your socks up and the elastic leaves a little impression on your skin. I wasn't sure if I was seeing things correctly, if maybe it was a scar or a physical blip on the poster, but no--it was on the other leg too. I'm not sure why I was so amused at this. Maybe because no one noticed during the shoot, and even still no one noticed during the editting process of the images. Mostly I think it is because those little sock impressions about mid-calf on his leg meant that he's a real person. He had to take off his clothes before doing the shoot, his socks probably the last thing to come off and the first thing to go on. All of a sudden this image of a really buff and cut young man on a poster wasn't just some anonymous piece of meat because those socks allowed a peak into a life that would have been otherwise irrelevant to the poster itself.

Yea, and that was earlier this morning.

Right now I am sitting in a deserted computer lab at school. Occasionally someone will walk by behind me but not often. The batteries are dead in my discman so I have to work in silence, something I've always hated doing. I didn't have enough time to get a coffee this morning before leaving (I was late to meet someone) so I'm stuck with a bottle of iced tea.

I have to write an essay for a midterm I have tomorrow afternoon, 600-700 words on the historography of textiles. I'm trying not to get stressed over it because it's not really worth my time. I have too many other things to do. Tonight, Ryan and I are going to my parents' place to eat their food (like good little broke-ass artists) and he's going to quiz me on the characteristics of cotton, linen, silk and wool. It should be interesting.

On one last note, Carly and I saw The Motorcycle Diaries last night at the Uptown. It was fantastic. Gael GarcĂ­a Bernal is an exceedingly handsome man, holy crap. The movie was also very good. Heh.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

There is something so wonderful about this weather. I am a winter baby, born in the eye of a blizzard in the middle of January. The snow keeps everything clean and crisp. The world is very quiet when it snows, every little noise muffled and unimportant. This weather makes being alone easy as it inspires indepth introspection.

Last week I complained that this snow came too soon but now that I've had a week to adjust, I'm glad this city has it. I'm ready for winter. Bring it on.

Friday, October 22, 2004

The home studios are always busy with activity, especially with a wee pup running around. Munchie, our resident Fibre pug, is a hyper active little devil that slides across the floor at record speed and loves to nibble on sweater buttons. This is my friend Wednesday holding her in an attempt to calm the critter down. It didn't really work. Heh.

School is going super fast and I can't seem to get everything done. All I want to do is sleep whenever I get home because the idea of written homework seems way too daunting. Midterm on Monday, essays for Thursday, projects for the following week, etchings to etch, prints to print, sleep sleep sleep. I'm running with my head cut off but it's alright.

Good thing? I received my school health and dental refund which means I'm $200 richer! Excellent. I am now sitting at a cool $800. Go savings!

Monday, October 18, 2004

Oh dear.

Monday Blues:

  • the snow has started to fall and doesn't seem to be stopping.

  • I don't own suitable winter boots and can't find anything that fits my feet or my taste.

  • there is another coldsore festering on my bottom lip. This one is going to be a motherfuckin' doozy and I'm totally not impressed.

  • the pancakes I had for breakfast were too greasy.

  • my hair resembles a wig.

  • both of my forearms have broken out with eczema.

  • I'm stressed and depressed.

  • did I mention I look and feel like a walking rash? Guh.

I think I am ready for today to be overwith and something better to start. I'm going to hide in bed and pretend the rest of the world doesn't exsist. Crappy days suck.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

This morning I managed to successfully dye two gigantic pieces of felt. The dye vats were being so wonderful for me today, giving me the exact colours I wanted. I have finally gotten over my fear of dyeing wool and have perfected acid dye techniques without much of a screw-up. I love how quickly wool accepts dye. It just sucks it right up!

One of the really cool things about felting this morning was how the purple piece of felt turned out. I was originally trying to make a long piece of yardage sandwiching a layer of cheesecloth in between two layers of fleece, hoping that the fleece would pucker through the open weave of the cheesecloth. I don't know if it was because I wasn't that patient, but it just wouldn't felt together and started to split apart. Now, I'm not one to get discouraged so quickly into a process because I believe in letting the materials work for you--minimal involvement is sometimes really effective. Tired of hand felting, I threw it into the clothes dryer for about a half hour. When I pulled it out, I ended up with this fabulous piece of felt. The dye process, while somewhat uneven due to the fact that I didn't mix the red and blue dyes that well, enhanced the irregularities of the felt. When I hung it up on the drying rack I noticed that a huge pouch had formed within the felt. There is so much going on in that one piece that I'm overwhelmed! Originally it was going to be used as yardage to cut into monsters but now that I've taken a few steps back I realize how great it is on its own. Felting, dyeing...it's so exciting!

Later this week I'm developing wooden frames for new sculptures. There will be a lot of technical stuff to fiddle with but in the end it's going to be fantastic. I need to purchase more fleece so I can felt my way into the future! Woo!

But in the meantime, I have to head to a drapery seminar being held at the fabric store I work at. I'm totally not amused with going. Thankfully, I was invited out to a poetry reading at The New Gallery so I can leave early. Going to work when you don't need to really sucks. I'm going to take any excuse I can get if it means I can get out of going. Sigh.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

I don't know my elbow from my ass.

I'm not dressed and I have to work in less than an hour. I'm dreading my 8 hour shift because I know how busy and tiring it is going to be. Last night the store was a complete pig sty and I know that this morning it will be the same. As soon as you clean anything up, customers come barging through and ruin it. It's completely discouraging.

Sigh. Maybe I'll be stationed on cash. Truth is, I'm beginning to like cash more than the cutting table now. Imagine that.

It's going to be a cold, long and slow day. I want 7pm to be right now so I can eat hot food and drink warm drinks with wonderful company. Did I tell you that the other night Ryan and I spent 20 minutes staring at each other from across the room, viciously trying to get the other to smile or look away? God, and after that we spent another 15 minutes throwing a ball of seran wrap at each other's head. It's nice to know that if we were stranded in the woods without television or outside contact, we'd still be able to keep ourselves entertained.

Anyway, I guess I should get dressed.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Munchie, our resident Fibre puppy, sits so regally on her velvet pillow in her totally posh designer sweater.

(Seriously, she breaks my heart every time I look at her).

Oh-and this isn't my puppy. It's a friend's. Just so we don't get crazy and think I adopted another dog. Heh.

Munchie, our resident Fibre puppy.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

We are only given very small studio spaces in our department. It's the same all over the school for the most part. Space is limited and quite cramped but we all find a way to make do.

This is my tiny work area, the photo taken on October 11. I share a desk with another girl, but seeing as she's never around, my stuff tends to spread out.

In this photo you can see two sculptures that I was working on (the pink creatures), random sheer fabrics hung for atmosphere and physical division from the desk across from mine, an electric kettle that is always full and ready for tea, miscellaneous sewing supplies, my tea tin, a container filled with buttons, an always full Nalgene bottle and my favourite mug. On the wall is a drawing by my boyfriend that I snagged from the most recent issue of Spur Magazine. Underneath the desk is my sewing machine, iron and plastic Rubbermaid container filled with fabric. There is a ton of stuff pilled into that one tiny spot. It's amazing I can even function when I'm there.

So, instead of spending so much time at home in front of the computer, I'm right there with hot tea in hand. Yesterday I spent over 12 hours at school. Tomorrow will be more of the same. And you know, the truth is I wouldn't want it any different.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Late night dance music.

Right now I am sitting a mere few steps away from the sidewalks of 17th Avenue. I can see people walking by through the corner of my eye. The stereo is up very loud and the lights are quite low. I walked fifteen minutes to get here from the train station, my stomach growling the entire time. The snack food I bought at Safeway earlier this evening hasn't filled the massive hunger hole that's devouring me from the inside. At least the four cups of tea I've had today made it seem like I was full.

It's been a full day. The morning was spent drawing what seemed like an endless number of monsters. I finally ended up with a three monster line drawing which will be turned into line etchings. Without realizing it I started drawing creatures that resembled the Three Stooges. When I'm around a computer with my camera software, I'll upload it. It's quite fantastic.

Anyway, my time at Gallery San Chun is up. No more sneaking around on the Internet. Tomorrow, there will be pictures, if I ever make it back home.

Monday, October 11, 2004


Thanks, kids. I really had no idea who even knew this was here or not. I tend to move around so quickly and become so anxious about the various Internet places I've resided. Maybe you can relate.

I went through this phase a little while ago where I became so scared about writing in a public forum. I think it had a lot to do with what happened exactly a year ago (has it really been a year already?) because there really wasn't any other reason for me to completely shutdown like I did. Slowly, I'm easing up. In every aspect of my life, I'm easing up. No more hiding. No way. First it was learning how to listen to myself again. Then it was re-learning how to talk to people. Expressing myself isn't even an issue anymore. It is good.

Anyway, I'm at school right now and I'm about to go insane. I want really good food for dinner and a beer before heading to bed. I wonder if I can convince a certain someone to eat with me. Hmhmhmm.

(And yes, posting nonsense is great when you're avoiding anthropology reading)

Ever so slightly.

So for the last two months (since school started) I have been wound incredibly tight. I have to keep telling myself to calm down, to breathe, to not freak out. It's really hard. There doesn't seem to be enough time to do everything that I want to do and it's even harder to prioritize what needs to be done. Someone pressed my auto-pilot button a while back and I've been a moving zombie ever since.

But it's not quite as bad as I make it out to be. Everything gets done and I do manage to find time to relax. Sure it's a scattered amount of time but it happens.

Yea, anyway, here's a list of good things (in attempt to keep me motivated):

  • embroidering felt

  • a perfect cup of coffee

  • cuddling up with my dog

  • felting with New Zealand fleece rovings (dreamy!)

  • School of Rock

  • hanging out at school for no reason in particular

  • pizza pizza pizza

  • velvet blazers for $5.00

  • scoring awesome finds at the thrift store

  • holding hands

  • drinking tea

  • veggie spring rolls

And with that I will go back to work. By the way, who reads this journal? Please let me know if you do.

Saturday, October 09, 2004


One thing that I've become very good at is separating work from my real life. There was a time when I first started working in retail that I would constantly carry around the stress of customer service well after I finished my shift. Now, going into my fifth year of working in the retail/customer service industry, I've developed a much thicker skin. If you give me lip, then I'll respond with a neutral face, nodding but not really giving a shit. If you yell at me, I'll excuse myself from the situation. When 5:30 rolls around, I'm out the door leaving all of that behind me until the next time I come in. Division is key.

A back story? Sure: I started working in a well known fabric store chain in August. It's a ton of hard work in comparison to the places I have worked before (shoe stores, card shoppes, etc). The customers are a little picky and will put up a fuss just because they know they can. Usually I'm stationed at the cash register, ringing in the handbills and dealing with returns. It can become extremely overwhelming at time but I've learned that if you keep your eye on the merchandise and on the numbers popping up on the till, you'll be okay. There's no need to look at a face, just the hands and how they sign the receipts. This morning it seemed like everyone woke up on the wrong side of the bed. The majority of customers that came through were grumpy as hell, impatient and increasingly rude. I couldn't get over how mean people were being. By the time the afternoon rolled around, everyone seemed to lighten up. They must have gotten more sleep than the people who were in earlier.

And I don't know if this means anything at all. My life revolves around art, school, work and being in love--it's completely full with no real room to do much of anything else. It's overwhelming sometimes but in the good kind of way. I like it when things are full like this, even if it means I end up riling myself into a hyper state.

Tomorrow it's Thanksgiving dinner at the boyfriend's parents' place. I'm not going to eat the entire day just so I can have room for all sorts of good things. Tonight I think it's drinks and sex. Mmm.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

This is a display of the monsters I made over the summer during the two/three week period that I wasn't feeling so hot. It is currently in the Fibre Department for the rest of the week, maybe filtering into next week if no one tells me to bring it down. Random people have been coming up to me expressing how sad they think they are. Unimpressed things make me laugh.

The view from the patio in the Fibre Department at ACAD. It was a really sunny and warm afternoon today. Everyone was outside soaking it up.

Pieces of handmade felt drying in the sunshine in the early afternoon. I had dyed it pink with acid dyes and managed to not only make the fleece fibres cotton-candy but also my hands!

Close up look at handmade felt (with lace) drying in the sun.

Close up look at handmade felt (with lace) drying in the sun.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Dusty fingers, wrinkled toes.

I am currently at school running two dye vats in attempt to make myself a new green cheesecloth scarf for the autumn days that aren't cold enough to warrant wearing anything heavier. I am only doing this because for once I feel like I have time to do something for me. I have time to play. Everything else that needs to be worried about will be dealt with tomorrow, and even then I'm not too stressed.

To calm myself down from my haggard states, I spend time sitting in front of the television with a pair of hands rubbing my feet. Sometimes we'll go out for dinner (see pictures below) and other times we'll just have drinks at our regular bar. Faint de Monde, anyone? It's during these times that I do close to nothing. I try not to talk too much, remembering to take deep breaths instead. Funny movies, gelato and games of Scrabble make things okay again. It's so important to break away like that, I can't even tell you how important it actually is.

One of my final assignments for my Textile History class is to embroider a traditional sampler using at least 5 traditional stitches to convey some sort of social political opinion. I'm trying to come up with ideas now so I can get started ASAP. If nothing else comes to mind I'm considering embroidering the phrase "ART SCHOOL IS FOR CHUMPS" in a traditional sampler format. Maybe I should just do that anyway.

Things are so busy. I must remember to record everything in some manner. Somewhere along the lines I forgot how important documentation is. Eeep.

A view of the Calgary Tower from our table at dinner last night.

A full belly of Veitnamese on an early Monday evening.