Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Diagram of Me

There is a black dot at the middle of an empty page.
It is labeled, Me. It is not me but a representation of me.
Above it I imagined the heading WORK and a long pencil line connecting the two.
Me and work. I am imagining a diagram. A central mark with radiating lines.
Words on post-it notes. Nourishment and enrichment, two different things to Me.
Nourishment I imagine is painting, knitting, sewing. Not food. It sits below Me.
Food is represented by the word FOOD. It is to the right of Me.
Enrichment sits below work but above me. Learning and reading. Worthwhile.
I have another list that could dot the pencil line between Me and Enrichment on the way to WORK.
E-book technology sounds enriching but it stands to the left of Enrichment and lower down,
at the same height as Secret Signage Project to the right of Enrichment but higher than me. I could pull the trigger on that one any day now. HIKING sits to the left of me. It is a dreamy goal waiting for the snow to melt. MAKE SHOES sits next to Nourishment under FOOD. I have tried to hold all these things in my mind, putting them on paper releases the grip of my brain and frees it up to think creatively about the small steps that dot all the connecting lines. Impulses along thin pencil lines
on blank pages in endless notebooks. Journal entries dated and begun and stopped after one written
letter M—R—S. The page abandoned in favor of what? Items from the list that jump out and pull me away before I have a chance to record them or put them into the diagram where they might make sense. Does it count as a list if it never made its way from brain to hand into letter shaped pencil lines. I am thinking differently about the diagram. Rather than the long laundry list of things one must do. The diagram is a celebration of all that it is possible, radiating like a sun, and at it's center is Me, making it all happen. I have resisted lists as they make for messy pages in Sketchbooks but a diagram. A diagram is a thing to behold. As the diagram evolves I develop a deepening understanding for all of the activities I am engaged in and I can see where my practice lies. Working which is the key to my survival can be exactly what I want it to be. Nourishing, enriching, satiating and it's important to keep moving about, vigorously if possible. This is me.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Print Project Complete

The last item on my list of "33 Ways to Stay Creative" is finish something  and yesterday that is what I did. Having scanned the elements of this piece into my computer I was able to layer them together and see what was working and what wasn't. The background was too strong and the portrait was too dark. It's all pretty subtle but there has to be balance. The theme of the piece is "The Drive Home". At first all I could think about was the road I walk up and down everyday for exercise and meditation but then I went a bit deeper.

I am going home and I don't mean physically at least not right now.  I am slowly returning to the country of my birth, reclaiming my Canadian-ness, examining who I am as an ex-patriot. I have been in America for 30 years now and so I am thinking a lot about what the next phase of my life will look like. The circles represent many things, the north, my career as a designer, a feminine form, individual closed units, perhaps of time. I used to think of my life in 5 year segments. Major changes seemed to take about 5 years to hatch and see to fruition. 5 years from now my daughter will be out of school and one of my key daily roles will become redundant.

Beneath the circles is an image of a neon sign. It's a picture I took many years ago when I lived in Los Angeles, it's at the bottom of the page signifying that region of the southern US where my journey started. Layered over that are the words "Not there yet". The answer to that age-old question, "are we there yet". I ran it up my face pointing north to my destination and to my brain. I am not there yet. The larger message of the piece — a self portrait — is about that constant searching and process of evolution I am involved in.

I am looking forward to sending these 12 prints off and seeing what I get in return, I liked this idea of sending these little signals out into world that say I am here like you working away, living my life. I am alive.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Felting Project 1, The Gateway Activity

You heard it here first. I have made my first pair of shoes, albeit slippers. The die is cast. I will learn to make shoes. Here are a few pictures from the workshop I attended. It was taught by a very bright young woman, Sarah Breggin who really knows and loves her craft. Sarah sells her tutorials via Etsy, and works as a programmer when she is not teaching felting at Burkeland Bros Wool in Abbottsford.

We started with 8 little piles of fleece.

 Each pile is flattened over the template.

The templates, left and right now covered in 4 layers of fleece and ready to be decorated.


The design gets laid on top of the fleece block and then gets slowly worked in as the felting begins.

Serious felting begins, slowly binding the fibers together. 

Rolling the slippers up helps shrink the fibers, first length, then width.

I can't tell you enough how important this little outing was for me. I have had this frustration with shoes rolling around in my mind for as long as I've had feet. I seriously feel that this could prove to be the activity that leads me to my ultimate goal of owning a pair of shoes that not only fit my "larger foot type" but somehow compliments my particular sense of style, whatever that is. I honestly can't point to a woman's shoe and say, there, that is the shoe, the shoe that will make me whole, as I suspect other women can. I stopped thinking about women's shoes around size 10, at size 14 I have no hope of wearing women's shoes unless I want to look like a transvestite, a risk I am not willing to take. It can't be denied there is a gender sensitivity attached to shoes. At a certain age my brother and I wore the same shoes and he suffered for it via verbal suggestions that he was wearing girls shoes. What I knew was, I was wearing my brothers shoes, a decidedly non-feminine act. I would like to deny it's importance but I would be lying if I told you I didn't care. I want to feel feminine in my shoes. (I just threw up in my mouth a little re-reading that.) To hell with it, I am that person, woman, girl, longing to be girly, womanly, whatever, not just some facsimile in Kenneth Coles that pass as sensible shoes for a woman of a certain size and professional acumen. They're not flirty, unless you're Italian and a male homosexual. I want flirty. I don't need 4 inch heels, I want soft. I want unique. I want my own goddamn shoes. 


Wednesday, March 6, 2013


I dreamed I found a bunch of money I had meant to put in the bank but didn't.  The mortgage check didn't bounce, at least I hadn't heard it. From where I am sitting with my eyes closed and my ears covered I didn't see it fall, hit the ground and bounce up and away out of my reach. In the morning I put on my second string coat, the one I wear to the bus stop and lo and behold the pile of folded paper in the pocket contained a twenty dollar bill. Huh, I thought. And because this is my reality I decided that the twenty meant something even though a piece of green oily paper means nothing. I decided it meant that things are going to be okay and then I went on to have really good day.
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