Thursday, July 28, 2011

Variations on A Theme

I went to Chicago last week and there seemed to be a continual theme at play- perhaps guiding me to a project later this summer.

While we were waiting for the cab to take us to the airport I was leafing through a back issue of FiberArts and found this image of a fascinating piece by Lyse Lemieux. I hastily bookmarked the page in the magazine and off we went.

Chicago was broiling in a humid variation of 100F which is a difficult for one who has been living in a rather chilly west coast where we have had a damp summer with temperatures in the 50s F. The stunning beauty of the city's architecture, the friendliness of its citizens, the gorgeous museums great shopping and effective air conditioning more than compensated for my frizzed hair and rumpled appearance.
My husband headed off to a baseball game and I meandered to the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art. The first sculpture I saw in the gallery gave me an inkling I should be on the lookout for "signs"- it's not what you look for it's what you find.
I headed into the Gallery and my first stop was the incredible  Eiko & Koma: Time is Not Even, Space is Not Empty Exhibition. As I turned the first corner here's what I saw....
It is out of context as it's part of a larger installation but I think you can see why I documented this!

After the three hints I had an idea in my head and was on the lookout for the idea of garments on a hanger. Of course a stroll down Michigan Avenues "Golden Mile" gave me lots of opportunities to see clothes on hangers- my favourite was Allsaints Spittlefields. The clothes are edgy and the store design stunning!

A block away from Michigan Avenue is one of my favourite stores anywhere- Anthropologie. I like the clothes the accessories and especially the warm rustic interior effect. The Chicago store is beautiful but the best version I've visited is the one in Seattle. Sorry- there's no photo- I was so caught up in trying on clothes I completley forgot to get out the camera!

Walking back to the hotel I saw Chicago's latest piece ouf outdoor sculpture. She was attracting a large crowd and much controversy but I like her! Not sure whether she is part of the  trail of inspirational hints but who knows!? She was in keeping with the temperature in the city- some like it hot!

The sketchbook is out and I'm playing with ideas based on these serendipitous hints.....but first I have to deal with a few orders for rings now that I received a long awaited shipment of bezels.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Kelp Basketry - A Natural West Coast Style

Cheryl Massey
The beach was my childhood playground  and I recall sitting for hours contructing items with seaweed and sticks.  Kelp basketry  speaks to me and I look forward to incorporating it in my experiments this fall. I'll be going to Pender Island again this year and I'll be speding a lot of time  collecting materials!
Two notable  kelp basketmakers here on the southern coast of British Columbia are Cheryl Massey from Whistler and Patty Dowler from Sooke. Both women love gathering their materials as they walk along the shores of the Pacific Coast. Their creations echo the same organic combination of the artists intent and Natures input that Stella Harding expressed with such eloquence.
Patty Dowler

Friday, July 15, 2011

Caroline Maw-Deis- Funky Function

My Google powered basketry travels continue as I follow recommended links from people who are recommending various sites and workshops. thanks so much everyone! I found myself in Carolyn Maw-Deis and Ishaq Deis' Pair a Deis Website. I was drawn immediately to Carolyn's mixed media basket- can you imagine the polymer applications with this playful approach? If you need a colour infusion take a visit to this exciting website- this talented pair have created a virtual paradise and extend their creativity to their environment in brilliant ways!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Stella Harding- Exploring Spaces

Today I'm featuring Stella Harding- a brilliant basketmaker from England. She explains that she is "interested in dualities and paradoxes and what happens in the spaces where differences coincide. Sometimes there is chaos and sometimes harmony. Almost always there is an element of unpredictability which invites a creative response. In my practice I use basketry techniques to weave together multiple story lines." I appreciate that Stella is math phobic but finds that her hands can approach concepts that her head may not.

Stella has an incredible website that displays her wall pieces, 3D structures and wearable art. She recommends a visit to the Under Over and Out Show at Covent Gardens in London this month.

Stella offers workshops if you are across the pond and if you are short on airmiles you can look forward to her book which will be published in February 2012.
Stella directed me to the Basketryplus website which will have you agog for a good long while- a perfect spot to visit with a nice cuppa tea.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Gallery to Visit in Victoria- Dales Gallery Presents Island Artisans

Twenty members of The Island Artisans Association have their work displayed for sale at Dales Gallery at 537 Fisgard Street in the heart of Victoria's Chinatown. It's a wonderful location right across the Street from the venerable Don Mee's restaurant and next door to Fan Tan Gallery. What an outing for anyone in town!
The Steering Committee has done a fantastic job setting up the huge display of work in a lovely space that dates back to the early days of the city. There's even a mysterious circa 1800s revolver that was found tucked in the walls during a renovation. With more rambunctious times far behind, the gallery showcases gleaming glass, funky metal sculptures, luscious feltworks, richly coloured and beautifully crafted pottery, jewelry and yes... polymer clay creations!
We had an Opening Celebration last night and happily sipped wine and delighted in each others creativity.  We welcomed passers-by including one lady who strolled in, filled a big plastic cup with beer and wandered back to the street to continue her sojourn in the city... perhaps she prefers 2D work.

The Gallery has a Facebook Page.
The Gallery is open Wednesday to Sunday.
We'll be here for a good time but not a long time,
 the show closes on August 31st.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Basketry Explorations- Deb Groom

I promised a much prettier picture with today's post and this one delivers.
I am running Google image searches far and wide to explore basketry approaches to "twig" the ideas I have in mind. My first search landed me on my own blog! It was a post from 2008 featuring fellow British Columbian Deb Groom. I love this piece and I see Deb has continued exploring the approach with a wonderful selection of photos of work in progress on her Flickr Site. I would absolutely love to take a workshop with her- perhaps at an upcoming Vancouver Polymer Clay Guild Meeting...?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Studio Transition...

 I'm transitioning the studio for a radical re-focus for the fall. I'm going to be taking  basketry and weaving workshops with an eye to continuing to explore combining polymer with fiber. As you can see by looking at this appalling picture, the dreaded clean out is in progress. It's a good thing that I have basement space for storing these big Rubbermaid bins that its going to take to move out supplies and materials that won't be required including craft show display fixtures. No shows this year!

It's all out going to be of sight- out of mind... but not to be disposed of- I may need it again!

I'm excited about this transition. I'll be spending time outdoors gathering materials and travelling for courses and I'm already spending time poring through my magazines and reflecting on the approaches of dozens of incredible artists. I'll share pictures as I explore and I vow that the pictures will be more attractive than this one!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Wonderful Gift

My friend Liz knows that I've been flirting with fiber for years and luckily for me she thought of me before recycling this massive collection of Fibrearts magazine! She dropped them off on Saturday and I've been transfixed ever since! It's especially interesting to read an article about an artist that was written in 1994 then Googling them to see what they are doing now. The lack of urls in the ad section makes me realize how much has changed in the last 15 years!


A bitter note though- The Summer 2011 issue of this spectacular publication will be it's last.