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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Why a Sewcialist?


It seems silly to stand on your back deck taking pictures of yourself, but there you go. We live in crazy times. I think slow fashion is a great mindset to cultivate so I thought I would chime in as I get so much inspiration throughout the year from all the talented makers out there on the internet.

I'm a tall active person, I need clothes that can really support all that I do in a day. I stopped looking at much retail fashion because very little of it really fits me properly and as a tall person there is nothing worse than wearing something that makes you feel like the Hulk. So I am cobbling together my own look and through the process learning a lot about my body and what makes it look and feel good.

Clothing should be comfortable but it can also be inspiring. I feel protected in my clothes and I also feel powerful. When I get this outfit on, on a crisp fall morning I feel ready to face the day.

This outfit is a mixture of me-made, custom made, and inherited. This corduroy Miette Skirt with me-made tights wants you to take it for a walk. When I was a kid I never had tights that were long enough, it was a humiliation. Sewing my own leggings is practically a healing act.

The hoodie and top both in Hemp are by Intertwined Designs customized for me. There are quite a few options for custom made stuff these days and whether you are supporting a small local business or a custom shop overseas, rest assured these pieces are going to be long lasting.

I knitted the kerchief scarf using Spincycle Yarns and my own whacky no pattern approach to things. The jade necklace was a gift from my lovely mother in law.

My shoes were previously owned by my brother in law who died in late February. I walk in these shoes most days and I think a bit about him when I lace them up. Walking is an essential daily activity. Some people pray, I walk.

The dog is a volunteer. The best kind.

Here's what I had to say two years ago about Slow Fashion October

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Labor Day


Jonathon Borofsky, Hammering Man outside SAM in Seattle Photo ©Rowan Moore-Seifred Feb 2015

Labor Day, Everson Wa.
The weather is hot and winds from the east are blowing wild fire smoke over us.  The weekend was full of traversing the border, visiting friends and laying around stunned by the heat and that feeling of summertime sadness. The beautiful season is winding down and I am looking forward to moving ahead but I must be present in this moment now and sit with the sadness. There is a lot to reflect upon.

Labor Day makes me think of the Hammering Man by Jonathon Borofsky. I saw his exhibit at MOCA  (Mar 17, 1986 – May 18, 1986) in Los Angeles when I was attending school there. My friend Mike and I went. I think we were both pretty impressed with it and reading about him now, I am struck by this:

CMM: When you stopped working and started counting, what prompted that?
JB: I had just left graduate school and moved to New York City [in 1966]. I was digesting the New York scene. There was Pop Art and Minimal Art. Both seemed very beautiful to me. Yet each had a weakness or flaw. I was a young artist, searching for his own uniqueness. I ended up in my studio a lot, thinking a lot, writing thoughts down. Less making of things and more thinking about things. I looked for a way to simplify the thought processes. I began to do little 1, 2, 3; 1, 2, 3, 4; 1, 2, 3, 4, 5—writing of number sequences on paper almost as a way to pass the time and not have to think so deeply. Later, I made a decision to count from one to infinity and did write those numbers on paper. After about a year or two of doing that solely with nothing else, counting for a few hours a day as my art activity, I began to go to painting and sculpture again. I made this connection...instead of signing this painting I made today with my name, I'm going to sign it with the number I was on on this particular day when I stopped counting.



We camped at Alouette Lake with friends and witnessed the eclipse together. I am so grateful for my long and evolving friendships. It was our 16th trip this time.


The sky was clear and the sun felt altered, brighter but deeper. Then the moment of cool when the sun is blocked. All that energy stopped for a few seconds.
 
We waited and tried not to look at it. The lake glistened. My heart glistened.

I hoped the dog would not be blinded. I had no sunglasses for her. She seemed instinctively to know what to do.




Bringing old friends camping with us was my favorite activity of the summer. 


It was a great season in my garden, I learned so much and had many little successes. I visited this Bellingham Wa garden of my friend Binda Colebrook. A lovely place to walk around and muse about plants.

It's sad when summer comes to an end but there is an excitement about getting started again. I connected with quite a few people over the summer who expressed a lot of anguish about the American political situation. In fact it was impossible to avoid it at almost any gathering. I see that people are feeling angry and hopeless and it's all too bad I feel. All this wasted energy feeling fearful. It pulls us away from the real work at hand.

I think our real labor is to be human and to help one another, to lift one another up. I have felt the malaise of the times but I am working to reject it through my daily art making practice.

The Hammering Man photo up top reminds me to keep creating the reality I want to exist in. A notion lost to the young man in the photo who ended his life a few months after this was taken. Life is already a lottery win so why not experience every minute of it. There are no second helpings.

Happy fall, happy new year!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Reflection

Yellow Ceiling Reflection 2017 Digital Photograph © Rowan Moore Seifred

I am in between things and I don't know where it's all going to end up and I am cool with that. The intensity of motherhood is receding, beckoning my deeper self to emerge. There will never be an end to the job but the formative work has been done. I am freer now to be more deeply myself and to explore the things I have willingly put aside in favor of child rearing. Primarily art making.

Understanding who I might be as an artist has been my journey for the past decade. I have been quietly working away looking for signs, practicing just being with my thoughts and ideas as I marched up and down my rural road. I kept my mind open and paid attention to what stopped me and made me say yes.  The work above is a bi-product of that. Here is the first piece in this series.

Stay tuned.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Social Media Again

For the past several months I have yet again begun to question the role of social media in my life and work. It started in August when I sat down to look at the influence of social media on my development as an artist for a Pecha Kucha presentation at MONA.

I started by looking back to 2007 when I started blogging.  The fact that a linear record existed was notable. With that in mind I admit to willingly playing  along with this social media experiment but now I am feeling a need to reassess what it's best role is for me. I embraced Facebook fully in the beginning, like I declared my LOVE for it shamelessly in a status update one day in 2009. It wasn't long before I was also ready to began changing my use of it when I could see how it was changing my behavior in relation to how I was marketing my business. In those days I spent hours uploading photos of every little thing I was doing, now I am tremendously selective about what I post. I have switched to mostly posting photos via Instagram with some sharing to Twitter. I sometimes engage with Twitter during a live event which is sort of informative and provocative at times, and I ask  myself again what am I getting if anything from these engagements with social media. I am not getting job leads, I am not making residuals. So why I am dedicating time to it?

When I look back at my blog now I can see myself emerging little by little. Did I have to write a blog about all that, could I have gone to a therapist instead? I wanted to work that out and the blog seemed like a reasonable way to do it. I participated. The blog format has been an equalizer for people. The ability to publish your story this way is of course a thing to behold and revere. And in the beginning blogs went crazy and it gave me a place to think more deeply about what I was feeling in order to write about it. And because the potential of an audience existed I strove to be a better writer and a less whiny human.

Out in the real world. Pathways and grasses at UBC
 
In the past year the blogging dropped right off. I became silent due to issues in my personal life that needed all my focus.  I tried to write about the big stuff that was happening as a way of processing it, but that became tedious. Just being, not talking was better. In the background I stayed true to my daily practice of journal writing but I missed the blog. The slow crafting of thoughts into sentences that some how exorcise the hard stuff and open up the possibility for greater creativity. I will keep at it.

I joined Instagram a few years ago and used it as the origin for the images I was sharing. Picking people to follow who I found inspiring to my practice felt useful in contrast to Facebook. Even though I know my list is ranked magically to match my usage, I do still spend more time staring at it than is productive but I am trying to quash the impulse to grab for my device and scroll. Too much checking-in takes me away from keeping my attention focused on my actual work and process. The best use of Instagram for me is that of a digital sketch book. So the audience I have to please is myself and I can get inspiration when I want it.

Obviously around the election Facebook was brutal and that was when I took my first steps away from it and lately it is off my radar all together, except to check in with clients pages. No scrolling, no sharing, no commenting. I see it as the most useless and potentially dangerous of the social media formats. To borrow from local indigenous tradition I think Facebook steals your soul in the form of the data you add and share. I refuse to give it my digital chi any longer.
Twitter is the third tier and I try to only broadcast there. Like Instagram I see it as an archival tool, only with Twitter I like to share in a more macro way, to release data into the larger internet.

I think I am graduating from the notion of social media to the reality of a digital footprint, a collection of materials that describe me, that I author and manage expressly for my own use. I miss the little endorphin hits random likes give me but I hope that the time I save I can dedicate to more meaningful activities that will easily replace that hollow gratification that masks a more sinister presence.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Patience

I walked around the back of my property today, a quick consolation. The dog on a leash following me, picking her way through blackberries recently flattened by snow but no less sharp. It felt good to poke around back there and to imagine keeping a path open through the underbrush simply by walking it daily. I have been in a weird mood lately. Anxious and nervous, sad and sullen. The weather has been unusually cold for about 6 weeks and it's been hard to get out and walk everyday. I am deeply afraid of slipping and falling, perhaps cracking my skull open. I step and slip and stop myself with large jerking gestures that rip at my muscles and tweak my neck and shoulders, the body losing control while the brain sits idly by. Everything feels uncertain and the little tears seem to welcome bigger worries and my brain is all too willing to entertain fantasy horrors. On Friday I felt too weak to ride my exercise bike and while the forecast was for warmer temperatures they were slow coming. I felt so tired after waking early I ended up asleep on the couch at 9 am when I am usually going to work. My regular walking partner came by around noon and despite the cold we forced ourselves out and took our walk. She struggles with anxiety and depression too so we were able to talk about the spiraling down process as we went along. My legs felt weak and wobbly the result of a virus that lives down deep in me and flares up at those times when I am vulnerable and the light is low. It's like water flowing down seeking the smallest openings, the places you can't see or even feel sometimes. It's dreadful and precarious and I think about the long sleep. We shared a light lunch after our walk and I gave myself permission to rest and watched a movie. Eventually I planned a meal and drove to town to shop. I prepped and cooked and laid back down to wait for my husband and daughter to arrive. I watched a documentary about photographer Vivian Maier and then one about Maya Lin. The weekend came and went, I skated on a perfectly frozen lake and again on an indoor rink. My husband got the cold my daughter and I have had. I am home alone again back in my studio meeting with clients. It's raining now, the ice is melting and soon I will be able to walk daily, to do the thing I am designed to do.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Lost Cat


He was the best cat. A foundling from the road, he came mewing out from under blackberries, he was covered in fleas. We washed him and loved him. He became a great hunter notably bringing in dead things when my husband arrived at the weekend. As if to say, look what I have been doing to protect your womenfolk. He weighed 20lbs at his peak. He was an Olympic level snuggler with the most satisfying purr. He tolerated dogs and rough handling. I last saw him September 1oth before we went away for the weekend. I suspect he became prey to a larger predator as he was out hunting. I felt terribly sad about losing him and wept openly about it when asked how I was feeling about becoming an empty nester. This loss got wrapped up in Pearl moving into the dorm at Western and I wasn't sure what I was saddest about. Perhaps the cat as Pearl was still alive.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Matsqui Trail

Me cycling on the Matsqui Trail portion of the larger Trans Canada Trail.

This summer my husband and I have begun to ride our bikes with more purpose. It all started when I heard a story on CBC radio about the Kettle Valley Railway trail which winds east from Hope BC along the Coquihalla River, into the Okanagan valley. We are not road riders so discovering trails like this old railroad are real finds. One can ride along for miles and never encounter a car or a brutal hill. Because these trails were designed for railways, the grades are gentle and in some cases it's barely noticable that you are gaining elevation.

Our first hurdle was finding a good bike rack. We settled on a tray-style, hitch mounted design that allows for quick loading of bikes that are of different sizes. We chose a BC made product and bought it from Lifecycles in Abbotsford. The store owner Harv, was helpful and encouraging. He's a way more extreme rider than we are but he did not mock us or anything so that was good.

Our first outing was to the famed Othello Tunnels near Hope BC. The drive there takes about 90 minutes and the ride itself was only 8km return, so as my husband pointed out, the ratio of drive time to biking time was a bit out of whack. The trip to Hope and the relatively short ride were still a lot of fun and we felt our maiden voyage was a success. The path through the woods above the steep canyon of the Coquihalla River was like a dream ride from childhood.

This weekend we rode the Matsqui Trail near our place in Abbotsford. It was a much better drive to ride ratio. 15 minutes there and 2 hours riding. We rode about 14km with little stops along the way to check out the river and pick a few blackberries to eat. The trail sits atop the dyke that protects farmland from the river. The views are beautiful on both sides. The Mission Abby bell tower is visible from the Page Road trailhead, we didn't hear the chimes, maybe next time. The weather was quite gray but still suitable for riding. We left the dog at home and enjoyed racing eachother on the way back. We're both a bit competitive.



View through Othello Tunnels on the Kettle Valley Railway also part of the Trans Canada Trail.


Dramatic views of the Coquihalla River canyon from the Kettle Valley Railway along the Trans Canada Trail.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A bit about me.

A bit about me;
I'm a graphic designer, in the business for 30 years. I am interested in
technology and fashion and art. I would genuinely like to know about the
reality of your  business. I am also a tall person with huge feet which is why
I am drawn to custom made shoes. I sew a lot, and knit. I am a
general maker of things. My grandfather had a shoe store in Scotland and
did all his own repairs for his clients, so maybe shoe making is in my DNA.
Strangely, as a woman in our culture with super large feet I have not been
able to participate in the shoe fetish that my kind seem to share. I have
begun making clothes as a political statement.

Thank you for responding to my query.
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