Thursday Night at Folk Festival 2014

There are a whole number of rituals tied in with attending folk festival.  First of all, the required objects are pulled out from where they were stored last year; folk festival chair, tarp and cozy blanket.  Then for the practical stuff, another layer of clothes, a hat and an extra pair of socks.  I stopped at the corner store and picked up a booklet of 10 transit tickets because I park and then ride the train down to the core.  The walk to Princes Island Park each day doesn’t hold as much magic as the return trip after each night’s events. The ‘collective’ feels like a huge mass moving upstream at eleven o’clock; many groups, singing songs, laughing, chatting and comparing stages and stories…it’s a hoot.

Line up to pick up four day pass bracelets was long, but very fast-moving.  My daughter and I are not fond of the new plastic bands because they are not so forgiving as the paper bands.  I’m guessing that there is a good and very functional reason for the change.

Thursday night always takes some sorting as far as the fine-tuning of sound quality.  Last night, both the National and the Mainstage had their struggles.   Basia Bulat was first on our list and while nothing could match her enthusiasm, there were some serious glitches at the National Stage at this point.  Generally, the poor sound as related to the keyboard and percussion distracted from Basia’s vocals.  This lady is a definite ‘must hear’.


Greek food was on the evening’s dinner menu.  Yummy!

I headed over to the Mainstage to hear Hey Rosetta! and a couple of numbers from Old Man Luedecke.  This went much better.  While I had heard that sound needed some tweeking with Valerie June’s set, the kinks seemed to be worked out.

I thought Hey Rosetta! created an elegant and many-layered sound.  From Wikipedia, Hey Rosetta! is a Canadian six-piece indie rock band from St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador and led by singer/songwriter Tim Baker. Known for its intimate songwriting and energized live shows, the band creates a massive, layered sound by incorporating piano, violin and cello into the traditional four-piece rock setup.

The best was yet to come for me.  I highly recommend Andrew Bird & the Hands of Glory.  Excellent!

The fam jam and friends gathered on our tarps for this set and had a ton of fun.  Little toddler, Zoe, pretend-fed us jugs of beer and strawberries, with a hand full of sticks.  We cuddled in and kept time to the music.  It was a beautiful night.  Friend, Dave, just arrived from London, England, was a tad cold and will come tonight, I’m certain, wearing layers.  Sorry, buddy.

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Going to the Country

It was a beautiful day as we headed north on the highway to meet up with other relations; my Auntie Ruth, cousin Rob and his wife Deb; to share an adventure at the Custom Woolen Mills Ltd., located near Carstairs, Alberta.  There was quite a haze covering the landscape due to forest fires blazing in northern Alberta and British Columbia, but still the canola fields were golden and the undulating hills rich summer green.

I look back to the years I attended the University of Lethbridge and meeting Fen Roessingh and husband Bill Purves-Smith for the first time.

These portraits are borrowed from the company information booklet, professionally produced to inform visitors to the mill of the process from the collection of the wool until its creation as a beautiful wool product.

P1180124 P1180125Back in the 70s, these two young folk were ‘learning the ropes’, working along side my Grandfather John Moors, at the Magrath Wool Card and Spinning Mill, this, after developing an interest in fibre arts and weaving out at the Leighton Center near Calgary.  They had a truck load of raw wool and were seeking out some guidance about how they might turn it into yarn…something that my grandfather was generously able to do.

My Auntie Eleanor with her Dad, John Moors

My Auntie Eleanor with her Dad, John Moors

P1160907P1160913 P1160914The equipment at the custom mill dates back as far as the 1860s, some of it, coming directly from the Magrath business when grandpa, in his 70s, decided to sell it and support this new adventure outside of Carstairs.  Interestingly enough, I found equipment yesterday that was manufactured in Sherbrooke, Quebec, my mother’s home from the time she was twelve.

Equipment Manufactured in Sherbrooke, Quebec

Equipment Manufactured in Sherbrooke, Quebec

From the time that any member of my family enters a woolen mill, a flood of memories returns with the warm smell of raw wool.  This isn’t everyone’s ‘cup of tea’, but I suppose that the sense of smell really DOES inform memory and for this family the smell of wool is very nostalgic.

We proceeded to enjoy a tour and lively conversation with all of the staff, our friends, although this was a day when all of them were ‘running their feet off’, being short-staffed and filling lots of orders.  It was lovely to see how gracious and respectful all were with Dad and Ruth, giving their intimate connection with this story.  In fact, my Aunties Eleanor and Ruth spent a lot of time as women, working for my grandfather in the mill, so this was even more special for Ruth.

P1180080Fen, Ruth, John (my Dad) and Garry Swanson.  (The following short bio is about Garry and the reasons he is viewed as such an asset.  He was also very welcoming and informative on our visit.  Thanks, Gary!)

P1180122 P1180123Following, an archive of images snapped throughout our visit, a magical afternoon that took us through all aspects of the processing of raw wool; washing, dyeing, carding, spinning, producing skeins of wool, quilts and socks. The summer’s day ended with Dad’s purchase of a pair of wool socks, a lunch time visit on the front porch and a beautiful drive home.

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P1180117 P1180116 P1180115 Dad grabbing a photo of the different varieties of raw wool.

P1180114 A porch for hanging out with Ebony and the cats…

P1180113The quilter shares stories of the origins of this equipment and her role at the mill… P1180129

P1180111 P1180110 P1180108 P1180106 P1180105 P1180104 P1180103 P1180100Sock making machine explained, in detail and demonstrated at full speed and slowly, so that we could see the magic of the process, by Garry.

P1180099 P1180098 P1180097 P1180096 P1180092 Auntie Ruth used to make skeins in the Magrath Mill…this was like a blast from the past for her!

P1180090 Someone caught me in a photograph in front of the mule, a piece of equipment that DID come from our family mill.

P1180087 P1180086 The dyeing sheds…several of these.

P1180085Fen’s feet…many miles a day put on for years!

P1180084Telling stories…and listening to stories.  Pure awesomeness!

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DIY: The Sketching Begins

Moving beyond white, I’ve applied two coats of colour to the pieces and I’m now beginning to create the art.  I thought I’d continue with the theme of this earlier painting that I’ve hung in my bedroom and incorporate the autumn leaves, as well as some mountain ash berries foliage and a couple of sparrows.  We’ll see how that goes.  I have begun to block in some areas for colour.  Because I’m using acrylic paints, I don’t want to apply yellow over a green or blue.  I find that yellow is very translucent and will not be pure unless applied to a white ground.

P1080135This is the fun part.  The first coat of base colour (a periwinkle or lavender blue) has been applied to the other vanity and I’m in the house drinking a glass of water before the project continues.

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July 7, 2014: In the Backyard Garden

P1170948 P1170954I transplanted a little piece of lily from the front yard…a lily that was given to me by Leslie Champ.  It continues to flourish!  Readers, be aware…a very destructive bug called the Red Lily Beetle is voraciously attacking lily plants and gardeners need to be vigilant about observing and eliminating adults at first siting.  Complete destruction of lily plants is common.  My gardens have been blessed up until now.  This little red trouble-maker is not to be confused with a red lady bug…she can only bring good things to your garden!



I Drove Up to Didsbury…Laughed with a Friend, Drank Some Wine and Painted on a Drum

I enjoyed overlooking a beautiful garden and listening to my friend speak about magical things while I painted on a drum.  That time of year when canola fields and dramatic skies feed my soul!  I feel grateful.

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July 5, 2014: What’s New in the Backyard Garden?

It’s a hot day.  The lupines have been cut back, to make room for the showy lilies to make their debut very soon.  However, this guy beat them to it.  These poppies are like weeds and reseed at will.  I recommend selecting the areas of your garden where you want colour and let them be, otherwise, you might want to pull them as they appear.  Welcome colour, but so saturated in today’s sunlight, difficult to photograph.  The carrots, beans, onions, radishes, tomatoes and strawberries are all coming along.  Rhubarb needs to be pulled for the third time.  Yummers.  I’m thinking of Pauline as I write.

Not to be confused with an Oriental Poppy.

Not to be confused with an Oriental Poppy.


Did Mr. Take a Mistress?

I know!  You thought that because Mrs. and her fledglings seemed to be goners, that I would stop watching their nest, right?  Wrong!  Mr. sat and howled redundantly for two days and then disappeared for a day.

He looked like this.

P1170634I will never know if the nestlings fledged…any of them, successfully.  I have no idea if Mrs. was just off with them, doing flight lessons.  He appeared to be widowed by all of his behaviours, but what do I know?  Of course I then went to a variety of sites to read about the widows of the nest.  Interesting stuff.  I learned that even while building a nest and establishing a family unit, Mr. goes off routinely and messes around.  It isn’t unusual for the male sparrows to go off and find a mistress when they have been widowed and visa versa for the female sparrows.  I’m guessing with the huge magpie and grackle populations and with a lot of outdoor cats, the incidents of loss are also huge

I’ve looked at the images and I can’t really tell if Mrs. is Mrs. or if it is in fact, a new partner at the nest, but today…after days of beating around the grief bush, there is another.

This is the last photo I have of Mrs. the day before Mr. was spotted alone.

P1170590 P1170622This is lady-friend (Mrs.?) this morning.

P1170882They all look the same…right?

I’m just happy that Mr. is wearing a smile again.

P1170891P1170892 P1170893He’s doing a bit of performance puffing…she’s doing this jittery thing with her wings.

In following them to the feeder, I DID see a juvenile in high branches and a female feed it and then encourage it higher, into the branches above the house.  I’m wondering, of course, if the female and maybe one, two or three successful fledges weren’t just held up in high branches.  One will never know…but certainly, it makes for a good story!  lol

P1170889 P1170890Above…the lady of the house doing her wing shakes.  The story continues.


MY ’70s Show!

My life experience is very much rooted in the 1970s.  I graduated high school in Great Falls, Montana in 1973 and certain events of that period inform my memories. From 1970 onward, a  fund raiser was in place, selling bracelets for the soldiers MIA, as a result of the war in Vietnam. It is an interesting recollection that contextually, it was a very different matter to be a Canadian in this place and time.  When I look at That ’70s Show, I see myself and my family.  It is entertaining, but it is also a curiosity.

Being a Canadian, living south of the border through my high school years, I studied American History, Ancient Civilizations and experienced a huge focus on sports, clubs, expensive field trips, some racial segregation, even in the west, (although I was very naive about this and crossed boundaries of every sort), and a leaning toward a particular type of art.  Here is an example…a calendar that I still have, silk screened by my high school art teacher, Mr. Dwight Winenger and a piece of his work titled, Seriously Centric displayed at the Charles M. Russell Gallery in 1972.  Silkscreen was big at the time and I enjoyed the process.

1973 Winenger

Seriously Centric Charles M. Russel Gallery Great Falls Mr. Winenger 1972

This is where I went to high school, graduating in 1973…Charles M. Russell High School.

CMRKath GraduationThis is my bestie, Ramona.  We did the photo booth thing after one of our epic walks around the city.  We walked everywhere and this was great preparation for the lifestyle I took on once moved to Lethbridge, Alberta.  University was across the Oldman River from the city and so I bought myself a pair of gators and hiked in routinely, when the river was frozen and took the long hike over to the bridge (only one bridge in the day) when the river was open.

CMR MonaThis is family…AND our basement and our kitchen.

Great Falls 1 Great Falls 2 Family Photo Great FallsI had a crush in high school, but only one date, and not with the crush.  Dick didn’t have me out again because at the Drive-In movie, Castle Keep, I didn’t ‘keep him warm’. I’m laughing as I type this. The movie was fantastic!  My only regret was that my Mom had spent money on such a fabulous pair of lilac coloured bell bottoms.  I have hunted for a photograph of the Drive-In, but am having some troubles with that.

Someone found a photo for me!!  Whoot!  Thanks goes out to Rhonda M. Potts!


My family moved east again; Dad, transferred from Malmstrom Airforce Base back to North Bay, Ontario.  I liked the dry air of the west, the vast expanse of sky and really wanted to remain west, so having done my research, landed myself up in Lethbridge.

I don’t want to get into a huge narrative about life in Lethbridge, but I do want to say that it is my favourite place in the world.  It might be that this is because it was/is such a sleepy place, but something about the people in my life and the landscape, remained in my bones always.  These were years of formation for me.  I hiked those coulees until I knew them through and through.  I harvested cactus berries and rosehips, made tea in my room, listened to Valdy on my friend’s turn table.  I wore ankle length embroidered jean skirts and Progress store work boots.  Times were good.

Robert Waldren has kindly shared some archives with our common friend, Ed Bader, and has given me permission to use them here, so with gratitude, I share them.  I’m also including here a few coloured photographs that really pick up on the ’70s.

A hundred years later…Pauline and I share time out in Argenta.  I love and miss you, Pauline.

1977 February-u-of-l-pauline-mcgeorges-watercolour-class-01 Photo Credit: Robert Waldren

1977 February University of Lethbridge Pauline McGeorge’s Watercolour Class 01 Photo Credit: Robert Waldren

1977 October: Dennis Burton Opening Ed Bader and Paulinemcgeorge

1977 October: Dennis Burton Opening Ed Bader and Pauline McGeorge (Photo Credit: Robert Waldren)

1957_60115820210_602_nArt Department Magic

1977 March U of L Herb Hick's Drawing Class (I include this photograph because my friends from residence would sleep on this platform at all hours of night while I worked.) Photo Credit: Robert Waldren

1977 March U of L Herb Hick’s Drawing Class (I include this photograph because my friends from residence would sleep on this platform at all hours of night while I worked.) Photo Credit: Robert Waldren

October 1977 Dennis Burton Opening: Charley, Ed, herb, Pat

October 1977 Dennis Burton Opening: Charley, Ed, herb, Pat

One of my favourite people, Larry Weaver, ceramics prof…a man who has fathered me on more than one occasion.  Grateful always to him and to his beautiful wife, Nina.

March 1977 Larry Weaver in Ceramics Studio (Photo Credit: Robert Waldren)

March 1977 Larry Weaver in Ceramics Studio (Photo Credit: Robert Waldren)

Larry and Nina Weaver 1979

Larry and Nina Weaver 1979

I don’t think I have a single photograph of me from ’73 until ’77.  It was not the age of the selfie.  IT WAS THE TIME FOR LIVING.  A short musical interlude at this time…a tune coming out some time around 1968.  If this isn’t enough for you, I’ll point my readers in the direction of the song, Time for the Seasons by the Zombies.  Same time, same sentiment.  Just not such a self-focused world at the time.  This is what I grew up with.

Recently, I attended a fantastic event, Art on the Rocks, a figure drawing experience hosted by the Glenbow Art Museum and taught by a friend of mine, Tim Belliveau.  I told him that I would give him feed back about his workshop to share the differences between his approach to figure drawing and the practice he has been taught and the experience of my own practice, coming out of the ’70s.  As I was drawing gesture, contour, negative space and focused on the model, I was swept back in time…the whole reason for this post.

This was the University of Lethbridge, the year that I graduated with a B. Ed degree in 1977.  The architect, Dr. Arthur Erickson, is no longer with us, but this particular building, its residence, academic rooms, landscape surroundings and people, had huge impact on my life.

University of Lethbridge April 1977 Panorama Robert Waldren

Photo Credit: Robert Waldren April 1977

My bedroom in residence…overlooking the coulees; and YES, that IS macrame!

Kath University RoomThe art and physical education buildings were separated from the main block by ‘the worm’.  Freezing cold in the winter and stifling hot in the warmth of other seasons, I walked up and down this structure more times than I could ever guess.

University of Lethbridge April 1977 Panorama Robert Waldren 2

Photo Credit: Robert Waldren April 1977

The Worm Winter Storm 1977

The Worm Winter Storm 1977 Photo Credit: Robert Waldren

Billy McCarroll in the day. Fantastic person, artist, teacher, musician. Photo Credit: Robert Waldron

Billy McCarroll in the day. Fantastic person, artist, teacher, musician. Photo Credit: Robert Waldren


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Ed Bader, drawing in beautiful light. We were always surrounded by lots of concrete. Photo Credit: Robert Waldren

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Carl Granzow; Spirited sculpture prof. Maker of magic and full of laughter.  Photo Credit Robert Waldren.

April 1977 SAAG opening Dale Ketchison Guitar Photo Credit: Robert Waldren

April 1977 SAAG opening Dale Ketchison Guitar Photo Credit: Robert Waldren

It’s time to take Max for a walk, but it’s been really wonderful looking at the impact of the 1970s.  I am grateful to my friends and teachers of the time.  I developed a real hunger for experiences in nature, a desire to create in both written form and in art.  Great professors caused me to teach more than anything and so I did.

Here are a couple of tunes.  My very first concert wasn’t a big name band, but rather, Bruce Cockburn, sitting on a stool center stage at the Yates theater.  It wasn’t until years later that I heard Valdy singing in a community center here in Calgary, but his music was a part of my creating back in the day.

Coaldale Farm House 1973-1974.

Kath with FidoMaking home made bread 1976-1977.  Photo credit: Lorraine Lee

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