Correspondences

I have utterly enjoyed the correspondences shared while finding a home for the 1937 Roslyn Elementary grade six class!  To bring my readers up to speed, I’ve corresponded with friends and family members of Bruce Chisholm, Donald Grahame, David Casgrain, Bill Nicholson, John Bishop, Edward Walls and Robert Cockfield.  Ultimately, the photograph was sent to Mr. John (Jack) Walls who seems to be one of the only living gentlemen from the photograph.  He is third from the right in the middle row.  I’d like to send my gratitude to Valerie who made this connection for me…and for Francie who has more connections with me than even I can believe and to Jack.

Thanks to Cynthia’s information, the photograph will be donated to the Westmount Historical Association for safe keeping and for all to enjoy.  This has been a lovely experience.

Roslyn Gang Photo

I packed the photograph up, after framing it. Included, were the stories and provenance associated with the number of contacts that were made.  I then sent it off to Jack.

Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 061

I am now celebrating a new friendship with Francie, Jack’s daughter, who is making certain that this piece of history is no longer shuffled about and lost in a second hand store, but finds its way to Westmount Historical Association.  Thank you, Valerie.

Francie and Jack Wall

For Those Tears I Died: Grade Four Illustration

I found a beautiful reflection about grief this morning.  I had some personal reasons for thinking about bereavement again and I really haven’t been very faithful to my typical reflections through this Lenten journey.  I knew I was going to be spending time with one of my favourite classes this morning…I have several of those because I am a guest teacher and that always makes the practice of teaching very special.  I was also teaching in one of our Catholic schools and so, I had the freedom to make spiritual connections.  While the students did not complete the works, they are almost there.

Food for thought…

Sometimes it is the people who are struggling the most, who inspire us greatly, not the people who seem to have the best of everything and yet have an insatiable appetite for MORE.  When our lives are filled with good health and our loved ones are healthy, then really, we can find our way through anything.  When we are warm, then we need to find comfort for others.  When we are well fed, we need to find a way to feed others.  When we have fresh water, we need to consider how to fulfill that thirst in others.  I think that we are too much a ‘WANT’ society.  I don’t mean to judge others,  but there is a struggling world out there and we are really walking wounded, all of us.

Today’s art activity had to do with ‘making meaning’, so the emphasis was on composition and expression.  The students and I shared a lot about illustration and how illustration is used for a number of purposes.  The lesson is inspired by a journal entry that I found here.

Tears to Crop

The art work includes words by Helen Keller.  Her story is inspiring and the fact that she was such a light to others continues to amaze me because she was unable to see or hear.  It was with the help of her teacher, Annie Sullivan, that she learned to make relationships between the sense of touch and language and began to use signs to spell out words and make necessary associations.  Here are her words.

We bereaved are not alone.
We belong to the largest company in all the world, the company of those who have known suffering.
When it seems that our sorrow is too great to be borne, let us think of the great family of the heavy hearted into which our grief has given us entrance, and inevitably, we will feel about us their arms, their sympathy, their understanding.
Believe, when you are most unhappy, that there is something for you to do in the world.
So long as you can sweeten another’s pain, life is not in vain.

Helen Keller

The first discussion was about font style and size.  I played them an old hymn I remembered from my days in University and asked them to design a font for the words, For Those Tears, I Died.  I created a number of exemplars on the white board, fonts that I have used a lot over my lifetime.  I told them that font selection is a very personal thing and it was completely up to them how they communicated their message.

After dealing with font and placement of text, the students practiced drawing tear drop shapes. (not so easy as you might think).  The larger-the better, as the grade fours would choose a number of tangled pattern designs, to develop their illustrations, in Sharpie permanent markers.   I showed them this 20 Easy Zen-Tangle Patterns Youtube video, stopping it at intervals, to explore the patterns with them.  I paused at the conclusion of each and the students drew pattern directly onto their compositions, with permanent marker. They were encouraged to surround their tear dropped shapes with a frame for invented patterned borders and to fill in any blank spaces in their compositions with other shapes.

The next step will be to incorporate their mauve, purple and blue tints to their illustrations, using waxed crayon or pencil crayon, sparingly.

 

Here’s where they are at the moment!  A great class!  Thank you, Jess.

 

 

 

 

An Investigation of Colour: Esker Foundation

I can go for weeks, wanting to write about something and never get to it because it was either too beautiful or too overwhelming or too devastating to actually get the words out…at least on a blog post.  I’ve got more drafts than I do posts, sitting waiting for publication.  Some of these include a huge post about last summer’s Folk Festival and one titled ‘The Gaze’, something about keeping my eyes on the face of Jesus.  When I consider posting, I also think that my honesty will not be appreciated, so I hold back.  While some days it feels like I have no readers…that I don’t have an audience…I DO think that I have a responsibility to what I write because it is flowing out into the internet world…and I don’t want to post junk.

Back to the point.  I’ve visited the recent exhibit at the Esker Foundation six times now and I am so in love with it that I find it hard to write about.  This morning, I thought that I’d make an effort.

To begin with, I attended the opening of the ‘Winter Exhibitions’. The openings at the Esker are sometimes unbelievably populated.  This one surpassed that description in every regard.  Jim Hill greeted us, at the beginning of the line, out on the street and quietly said, “You might want to come over tomorrow when it’s more quiet” and I responded with, I’ll be attending tomorrow also.  So I began my slow weave up the stairwell, conversing with friendly people both ahead of me, and behind me.  It moved seamlessly and was a real pleasure.   Stepping into the space, it was easy to become anonymous in the crowd.  While I did share some words with a few of the friends that I bump into at such events, I made the effort to disappear into the art and I did.  The works by Jack Bush and Colleen Heslin sing off of the walls!  This is a show that impresses, with its colour relationships, its monumental presence and its juxtaposition.  I’m so in love with the art!

That night, I had this huge feeling rush over me that Jack Bush was observing the crowd and all of the conversations…that he was a voyeur, of sorts, watching from the seat of his own work.  I had a sense that he was entertained by the spectacle of all of it.  But, truly, I felt his presence to this opening. (readers roll eyes here)

So, what were we looking at?  Jack Bush: In Studio…from the Esker Foundation website…

January 23 – May 8, 2016

In the most classic sense, the word studio is defined as “room for study.” This exhibition was conceived as an opportunity to gather 20 select paintings in a new space with the aim to spark study – in the form of looking and conversation.

Five works on show have never before been exhibited in Canada. Fifteen of the paintings were made in the artist’s small one-room studio in his family home at 1 Eastview Crescent in North Toronto, while the remaining five were produced in his downtown Toronto Wolseley Street studio, where he would execute most of his very large paintings from 1968 until his death in January 1977.

and…Colleen Heslin: Needles and Pins

January 23 – May 8, 2016

Colleen Heslin’s paintings resonate with the tension of material and gestural complexity. Successfully fusing thought and action, the work dismantles material hierarchy by providing equal space to art and craft. Considering formal abstraction and craft-based methods of mark making, Heslin’s work thoroughly explores colour, shape, and texture. Constructed out of hand-dyed and ink-stained fabric, the work acknowledges histories of photography and textiles, and finds connections with the Colour Field painters of the 1960s and 1970s.

I met Alex Cameron while on a horse-packing trip up Blue Rock, with 9 other artists.  I forget what led to my good fortune, but I think my friend, Laurel Cormack, had to cancel and she called me up to fill her spot on a horse.  Bob Blair, a huge supporter of the visual arts in the city, was funding the adventure, with the understanding that we would provide a painting, in the end, for his collection.  I remember sharing the journey with some wonderful people, among them Alex Cameron, Brenda Driscoll, David Alexander, Tania Laniel and Ken Christopher.  Generously, Virginia Christopher offered up her gallery for our post journey exhibit and meeting with Bob Blair.

Blue Rock 2 Blue Rock 1

Blue Rock 3

Blue Rock

It was on this journey, and around a magical campfire, one of many, that we shared stories with one another about art and life.  Ken brought out the guitar and we sang songs.  We put on skits.  We drank Johnny Walker in our tin cups.  It was during one of these night time conversations that Alex Cameron told us the stories of working for Jack Bush in his studio.  I felt that I was a witness to something pretty special where each artist was concerned.  That journey was life changing and as a result, I painted an exhibit of oil paintings titled Kindred Spirits.

It was very emotional to walk up to one of the exhibit walls and to read the words of introduction by Curator, Sarah Stanners, Ph.D. Director, Curatorial & Collections McMichael Canadian Art Collection.

There…in description of Jack Bush: In Studio…were these words.

Kath's Canon, February 22, 2016 Jack Bush and Franks 002

Kath's Canon, February 22, 2016 Jack Bush and Franks 003

Kath's Canon, February 22, 2016 Jack Bush and Franks 004

It was a life-circle moment.

The next day, I was out to Dr. Sara Stanner’s tour of the exhibit, where she shared so much knowledge about the artist, his studio practice and his relationships.  We heard about influences and friendships…about Clement Greenberg, Jules Olitski, Kenneth Noland and also Anthony Caro.  It was a very rich session and I made certain to fill my little notebook with details about each piece, things that I am considering and understanding more as I continue to journey through an exploration of ‘Colour Field’ painting.

This past weekend, I attended, first, an artist talk about Understanding Light and Energy, given by Jesse Stilwell.

Kath's Canon February 21, 2016 Jesse Stilwell Sparrows Franks 018

He has, on exhibit, an installation in the main floor Project Space. I suggest that my readers take opportunity to visit this piece, both in day light and at night, as it has very interesting light interplay and energy.  It was delightful to hear Jesse’s honest portrayal of his process and absolutely fascinating to hear, in part, knowledge about eye and brain in perceiving colour.  As I left the session, I met friend, Michelena, and gave her a big hug.  And through her, met a long time friend, Jocelyn, who as it turned out, would be attending the Saturday workshop with me.  Together, the three of us took a little bit of time to peruse Colleen Heslin’s work and talk about it.

The next day, I was able to practice, through specific guidelines, exploration in Simultaneous Contrast and colour interaction.  Thanks to both the Esker staff and Jesse Stilwell, for an excellent experience.  I treasure and support the idea that programs be included in the experience of gallery spaces.  I think that working with concepts is fundamental and crucial to integrating artistic concepts.  Esker programming rocks!

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Jocelyn and I sat and played the afternoon away and colour began to explode through the space.  Solid direction was given and materials were provided.  I became a little more intense than I would typically be while painting, but I was definitely journeying into an area where I had little or no experience.  When I pulled myself out of my paint fog and Jocelyn and I were able to exchange contact information, I learned that she had been born 12 years before her sister.  I shared that I had also been born 12 years before my sister.  In the end, it turns out that my sister and Jocelyn’s sister are good friends, and living in Ottawa.  The serendipity made perfect sense, given the magic of colour and the sharing of our personal narratives.  It was a magical afternoon!

Jocelyn's Photo workshop with Jessie Stilwell

 

A photograph of Jocelyn, Caterina and me, upon completion of our afternoon workshop.  A wonderful afternoon!  Thank you, Esker.

 

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

Apart from Moby Dick, this memoir, Reading Lolita in Tehran, hung me up more than any book I’ve ever read.  I received it as a gift from a dear friend of mine, Mary, for my 50th birthday.  Among other beautiful words, Mary wrote in the front pages, “This amazing book celebrates the power of literature and friendship and I chose it to symbolize our bond as friends and colleagues.”  Funny…but, the past couple of years, I’ve become very determined to make my way through all of the books on my shelves and this one, had been missed along the way.  I took breaks and read several other books at the very same time, but I slogged my way through these pages, mostly late at night.  Having made it to the finish line last night, I’ve got to say that I felt that I had been on a huge journey.  I was exhausted.  But, I was also extremely satisfied.

Now, I ask, “Why the slog?”

First…a short background, one that seems to be the description found on multiple sites, this one, Amazon.

Every Thursday morning for two years in the Islamic Republic of Iran, a bold and inspired teacher named Azar Nafisi secretly gathered seven of her most committed female students to read forbidden Western classics. As Islamic morality squads staged arbitrary raids in Tehran, fundamentalists seized hold of the universities, and a blind censor stifled artistic expression, the girls in Azar Nafisi’s living room risked removing their veils and immersed themselves in the worlds of Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry James, and Vladimir Nabokov. In this extraordinary memoir, their stories become intertwined with the ones they are reading.Reading Lolita in Tehran is a remarkable exploration of resilience in the face of tyranny and a celebration of the liberating power of literature.

Let’s be perfectly honest, I have never read Lolita ‘in Canada’.  Written by Vladimir Nabokov, this one really needs to move onto my ‘to do’ list now that I have read Reading Lolita in Tehran.  A classic, there are, what I feel to be, important, if not essential connections drawn between the women’s experience of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the ruthless antagonist of Lolita.  Very early on, I felt ill prepared for the number of similar contextual references made, especially those from Henry James and Nabokov.  While there were several literary references to Jane Austen, at the very least, I had read Pride and Prejudice.  I remember that once I put that one down, I had said, out loud, “NEVER AGAIN.”  I’m glad that I relished the experience of reading The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald because I DO feel that those relationships are key to this book, Daisy’s lessons, creating an emotional connection for me, finally, beyond the half way point. That’s where, I think, I got my stick-to-it-ness.

Of fiction, in 17, Nafisi writes…and I become finally bound to the book,

“Modern fiction brings out the evil in domestic lives, ordinary relations, people like you and me – Reader! Bruder! as Humbert said.  Evil in Austen, as in most great fiction, lies in the inability to ‘see’ others, hence to empathize with them.  What is frightening is that this blindness can exist in the best of us (Eliza Bennet) as well as the worst (Humbert).  We are all capable of becoming the blind censor, of imposing our visions and desires on others.

Once evil is individualized, becoming part of everyday life, the way of resisting it also becomes individual.  How does the soul survive?  is the essential question.  And the response is: through love and imagination.  Stalin emptied Russia of its soul by pouring on the old death.  Mandelstam and Sinyavsky restored that soul by reciting poetry to fellow convicts and by writing about it in their journals. “Perhaps to remain a poet in such circumstances, ” Bellow wrote, “is also to reach the heart of politics.  The human feelings, Human experiences, the human form and face, recover their proper place – the foreground.”

What I’m saying, here, (about the slog) is that I spent a lot of time, feeling guilty that in my studies I had missed or chosen not to read so many books, in order that I could read so many others.  I am not saying that reading a book ‘made me feel guilty’, rather, there was a feeling under the surface, of regret. If you are a reader, you will understand what I am saying.  There are just not enough hours.

Do I think that you need to have read all of the books that were used as references before picking up Reading Lolita in Tehran?  I don’t know the answer…I seem to have found my way without.

Once I accepted that the writer seemed to be making a broader connection between literature and its power to transcend hardship and turmoil, I felt engaged and determined.  For a while, I suppose, my ego got in the way.

Some other observations…

Physically, the book is produced in a font that is way way too small for this little lady’s eyes.  Nicola of Goodreads says it much better than I can…

If the book has a drawback, it’s that it’s too long, tending towards repetition. In my edition, the font size is almost painfully small, in order to give the illusion that this 150,000-word tome is closer to 100,000 words. Be aware: it’s a book you’ll need to commit to reading. It’s written in a slightly confusing, fragmentary style — each chapter is divided into ~2,000 word chunks, some of which follow on from each other, some of which stand alone. The style is close to a stream of consciousness. Ironically, the first part is the most fragmentary, after which it becomes more chronological. I think the book could have been improved by a good editor and a better structure, but nonetheless: stick with it, even if the first part bothers you.

I thought that through such a diabolical and tumultuous time in history, that relationship between women-friends centered around literature,  was precious.  I know how it feels to sit with my friends in the movie theaters when everyone else has left the theater and the credits are still rolling…and we are still chatting about the plot or the characters or the actors or the technical achievements.  I know how it is to open a gift bag and find a beautiful new book from a book store…something new that I can read and share with others over a glass of wine.  I treasure my woman-friends for the same reasons that Azar Nafisi treasures(ed) hers.  I get teary sometimes when I think of the strength of women.  I feel proud, not only about my accomplishments, but about the accomplishments of my friends.  This is the profound truth that I am taking from the ‘reading’ of Reading Lolita in Tehran.

Thank you, Mary…it took me almost 11 years, but I’ve now written my remarks on the inside jacket of this beautiful gift.  It well-serves to exemplify our bond of friendship and teaching.

Lolita

 

 

 

Alvise Doglioni Majer’s Studio

I was excited to be invited out to an open house gathering, just outside of Bragg Creek. Thank you, Randy and Jane, Alex and Colton, Emma and Sophie!  Your home spilled over with that community love that sings!  What a magical place. These types of gatherings are what make the spirit of the season.  As if that wasn’t enough,  then I received the gift of this wood sculpture of a salmon!  WHAT?? The next day, I decided to roam through the website created by the artist, Alvise Doglioni Majer.

Juno and Salmon

Kath's Canon, January 6, 2016 Salmon gift, Franks, Hibernate 3 005

The New Year was just slipping upon us and I decided that I wanted to commission Alvise to participate in a year-long project with me and to design an angel for each month.  This would mean a monthly visit to his studio and wood shop located at the end of the drive way at Folk Tree Lodge (a beautiful get away) that my readers really should check out if you want a respite from the city.  No longer owned/managed by Alvise, the lodge is teaming with sculpture, furniture and crafted objects made with love, by Alvise.  Please adventure through his website to catch a glimpse of some of his projects!  You might also want to preview his Blurb publication to get a more in depth look at his work.

Yesterday, my daughter and I enjoyed a drive out to the Folk Tree Lodge.  I liked having time away from home and responsibilities.  It doesn’t matter how old you get, you need time away to ‘just be’.  For me, the child of a military father, road trips are always the best.  I’m not one to be found on a bowling lane, if you get my drift.

We had a tour of the lodges upon arrival and then stepped into a place of magic and creative energy.  And…I met February…the first of the angels.  I love the smell of a wood shop and have treasured two different visits to Al Gerritsen’s wood shop.  I like the lined up clamps and bins of nails.  I like the schematics and plans and abandoned projects.  It’s all so beautiful.  Thank you, Alvise for our first visit.

Next, Alvise writes, I will be able to share a cup of tea with his wife as she harvests natural elements from their neighbourhood…Achillea, Horse tail , rose buds, wild mint…yummers!  Looking forward to that!

This series of angels (and he has created several series) designed and created by Alvise is titled, the Journey Around the Sun.  I love the concept and this is yet another rich and beautiful life-experience!

When we left, Cayley and I shared coffee, carrot cake and cinnamon buns at ‘The Spoon’ in Bragg Creek.  Thanks, Emma!  A beautiful afternoon.

Kath's Canon, February 16, 2015 Alvise 011Kath's Canon, February 16, 2015 Alvise 010Kath's Canon, February 16, 2015 Alvise 009Kath's Canon, February 16, 2015 Alvise 008Kath's Canon, February 16, 2015 Alvise 007Kath's Canon, February 16, 2015 Alvise 006Kath's Canon, February 16, 2015 Alvise 005Kath's Canon, February 16, 2015 Alvise 004Kath's Canon, February 16, 2015 Alvise 003Kath's Canon, February 16, 2015 Alvise 002

Thank you!  And now, an angel finds her home.

Kath's Canon, February 16, 2015 Alvise 012

 

Kath's Canon, February 16, 2015 Alvise 013

The Train Visits the Pond 10:00 – 11:30

Walking the very same path each day, in order to document the atmosphere surrounding a single Dogwood bush at a pond’s edge, for a year, gives me the opportunity to observe what happens in nature; and on the flip side, it causes me to notice what’s happening outside of the changes in the natural world.

Bush February 16, 2016 1056 beauty, warmth, time

If I do a morning visit, say between 10 and 11:30,  I get to wave to the train.  Max barks and runs excitedly.  I stand still as it passes because the markings on the bellies of each car, inevitably cause me to wonder.  I know that graffiti can really annoy people, especially if it appears on historical sites.  That annoys me also.  But, given mobility, I think it’s interesting to think about the personalities that lie on the other end of the marks.  I wonder about the place, time and character behind each tag.  I wonder about the journey that the text has taken.  In fact, I wonder so much that I will likely research some of them.  Life is learning, right?  I’ve got a lifetime of wondering ahead of me.

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Today, I decided to just snap away as the train went by…loud roar on the tracks…bells serving as warnings for the city pedestrians, down the line a short distance.  I have some favourites in this series.  Finding a neat song to play at the same time…just a sec.

 

 

Carli’s Classroom: An Inspiring Day

There was such soft light flowing in the classroom, when I arrived.  The students and I didn’t end up closing the blinds until the sun started pouring into the classroom, during late morning.  When I arrived, I knew it was going to be a great day.

I am passionate about teaching in the role of guest teacher.  I have only a short while with the children and I want to be the very best that I can be to influence empathy, peace and learning.  I was excited to be working in Carli’s Grade three classroom and she’s given me permission to share this post with you, in the case that you want to extend off of any of these ideas and explore some alternatives.  It’s funny that we run to Pinterest for ideas when right across the hall from us, are a whole number of masters who can mentor us and inspire us with new ‘ideas’.

To begin my morning, I read over, for myself, the posted Pedagogy for teaching.  I remembered this from another visit, but wanted to remind myself.

Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 001

The community group tables allow for easy access to materials and tools that might be needed.  There is shared responsibility for their organization and upkeep.

Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 022Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 021

Student notebooks/workbooks are stored in those little white bins on the shelves…they are stored throughout the classroom in order to avoid traffic jams.  The students know where each of their items is located.

I love love love the books and really enjoyed looking at the book, Where Children Sleep by James Mollison.  I need to get myself a copy of this.  Instead of circulating and having the children read aloud to me during our individual reading time, I had several students come to me and read from this book as I sat in a comfy chair.  It wasn’t long before one of the children came to me with a student-made book on the same topic, created last year, by the Grade twos.  I think this is a beautiful idea.

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Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 039Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 038Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 037Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 036Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 025

Books can be a discovered throughout the classroom, linking up visions with concepts and making learning real and rooted in literacy.

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Students created, in science, their own Rock Museum.  They enjoy using their vocabulary.

They had done lots of research and study!

 

When students have a guest teacher, they get to wear the mantle of the expert and spill over with conversations about the things they have learned.  Our birthday girl brought in crystals and minerals for her sharing from the comfy chair.  The kids were overcome with excitement by the ‘rare’ stones.

Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 009

Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 011Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 010

I appreciated the student-made posters illustrating the Rights of Every Child.  Those are three D models of the structure of the ear done in partner work…made out of modelling clay.  The students have left rocks and minerals and have begun their study of sound, hearing and the ear.  I have to say, as an adult, I had forgotten the various physiological components, but these guys could give it to me rote.  I LOVE THESE MODELS!

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I felt this cold coming on and felt a bit of a headache.  I asked the students, if later, I could try out their Peace tent.  They enthusiastically told me, YES!  I have to confess, when they went out for recess, I climbed in and just chilled, exploring their posters, their sayings and their origami paper folding.

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Math centers were tons of fun, with the kids, getting up and rotating through the four stations every 15 minutes.  This gives the students opportunity to move and to shift focus.  Awesome.  I discovered that I’m not very good with Tangrams.

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For those of my readers who follow me, you know that I enjoy engaging nature where and when I can…getting out daily, with my border collie, Max.  Well, if you can’t get out there, then try to bring bits of it inside!

Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 015

And never ever forget that you are always learning…and that it’s a treasure to others that you share what you learn.  Thank you, Carli Molnar!  Thank you, Grade Threes!

Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 008

More on Carli’s classroom HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feather Gallery

It was best I not infiltrate the big Disclosure opening with my germs last evening, so today I nipped into  Feather Gallery  at 36 Woodfern Court,  just west of me in suburbia, all on my own.

I headed over to Woodbine after having a lovely visit with artists, Barbara Ballachey and David Foxcroft down at Calgary’s new Edge Gallery.  There’s a big opening there next Saturday.  I’m excited to see that one!

I’ve been a fan of Barbara Ballachey for a zillion years, having her as one of my first Artists in Residence at Cardinal Newman School the year after it opened up in the late 1980s..  She did a marvelous job conducting drawing sessions with almost 400 children.  Anyway, Barbara is always generous and welcoming and I considered her a mentor as I tackled the subject of landscape years ago.  I enjoyed, always, how she received pleasure from the land and had an amazing relationship with it.  While my work was very much different from hers, I think I had a similar passion for the earth, water and air and still do.

 

We’re blessed here in the south where entrepreneurs are popping up with some warm and wonderful spaces where we don’t always journey to the core, but sometimes hang out in our communities.  I consider  Michelena’s Wolf Willow Studios to be among those beauties.  For music, the Cornerstone Music Cafe is bringing in live performers that include Ruth Purves Smith (going on at this very moment).

 

So, once I made it to Feather Gallery, I had the chance to have beautiful, reflective and relaxing conversation with Samantha.  I love her vision for her space.  The gallery, a part of her living-breathing home, is warm and welcoming.

Directly from the Calgary Herald dated July 27, 2015, this…

“The home, incongruous among the usual mix of residential homes of Calgary’s suburbia, was built in 1931 as Leighton, recently married, set down roots in his adopted city. He’d been hired out of England a few years earlier by the Canadian Pacific Railway at age 23 — already acknowledged as a prodigious talent — and asked to paint the scenery of the Canadian West.

When he saw the Rockies he was stunned, so much so that, by 1929, he had put down roots in Calgary, resigning from the railway and accepting the role as head of the Alberta College of Art. Soon he’d met his bride-to-be and, once hitched, they decided to build a home, buying ten acres for $500 from rancher Alfred Crocker.

Fellow artist Walter J. Phillips visited Leighton and later described to the Winnipeg Tribune, the harrowing trip to the newly constructed home.

“A.C. Leighton telephoned to say he was coming to fetch us. He arrived very late, having driven all the way with the emergency brake on. We piled in the car, and having succeeded, by the grace of God, in getting headed in the right direction, we started immediately on an exciting seven-mile journey to his new country home.

“We emerged on a bare expanse of prairie, a desolate spot at night, but one which affords in the daytime an unrivalled view of distant mountains.

“In the East many artists’ homes have been built around a studio, but in the West I know of only two — Charles Scott’s in Vancouver, and Leighton’s in Calgary. Leighton’s is in the best tradition — high, wide and handsome, with plenty of light,” said Phillips.

Leighton and his wife moved on — their final home eventually proving the location for the art centre named after him near Millarville — and the house he’d built was captured and virtually swallowed by expanding Calgary. But something remained behind. A spirit of place, as D.H. Lawrence would have called it.

“It is a special place. There are a lot of people who come in and they feel something here. Sometimes we forget how special it is — people come in and they look up and down and around and you think ‘What are they looking at?’” said Samantha Malach.”

The artists are to be commended for a beautiful exhibit of figurative work…I’ve connected with so many of you over the years and I’m proud of your collective contribution to this show! (missed you, Paula, Daniel, Joanne, Mark, Luella, Bruce, Elena, Desere…)

Kath's Canon, February 2, 2016 Feather Gallery 008Kath's Canon, February 2, 2016 Feather Gallery 007Kath's Canon, February 2, 2016 Feather Gallery 006Kath's Canon, February 2, 2016 Feather Gallery 005Kath's Canon, February 2, 2016 Feather Gallery 004Kath's Canon, February 2, 2016 Feather Gallery 003Kath's Canon, February 2, 2016 Feather Gallery 002Kath's Canon, February 2, 2016 Feather Gallery 001

 

340 Water Street, Summerside, PEI

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Historical building, yes, but also a workplace for my Summerside family for so many years!  I can not help but keep the images of the place in my heart because it is a place that is a part of my identity, just as the woolen mill, here in the west, is.  The description and historical significance appears below in blue and was collected from this site.

DESCRIPTION OF HISTORIC PLACE

The large three-storey flat roofed warehouse at 340 Water Street is clad in white vinyl. It is located west of the Central Street intersection overlooking the harbour. It is situated between the street and the former railway line now part of the Trans Canada Trail. The registration includes the building and its lot.

HERITAGE VALUE

The large three-storey structure at 340 Water Street has been a landmark on the harbourfront of Summerside for over 130 years. It has considerable historical significance as the warehouse of the prominent Lefurgey family who shipped produce in vessels that were constructed on the land south of the building.

The plain building was built for John E. Lefurgey who purchased the lot running south to the shoreline in 1873. The date of the building’s construction is assumed to be before 1878 when its presence is marked on Ruger’s Panoramic Map. Its shape indicates that it was constructed to run adjacent to the railroad bed which was laid in the early 1870s.

Mr. Lefurgey, who had come to Green’s Shore in the 1850s as a general merchant, built many ships to use in his business of shipping oats and potatoes to markets in Great Britain. The large warehouse building provided ample space for the storage of produce. Mr. Lefurgey was active in town affairs and represented the Summerside area in the House of Assembly from 1870 to 1890.

After his death in 1891, the estate was left in the hands of his wife, the former Dorothea Read, and his son, William. When William died in 1893, his brothers, John Ephraim (J.E.) and Alexander Alfred (A.A.) took over the family business. J.E. Lefurgey was well known in the community and served for a time on the town council. In 1905, he purchased real estate in Vancouver and shortly afterwards settled there. Alfred Lefurgey, a Harvard law graduate, served in the PEI Legislature in 1897 and was elected to the House of Commons in 1900, representing East Prince until 1908.

The Lefurgey warehouse passed from family ownership in 1909. The new owner of the substantial property was William H. Edgett, a produce dealer in Moncton. He and John Grady, the accountant for the firm of David Rogers & Sons for many years, formed the Edgett Grady Company for the purpose of buying and selling local produce. The business was bought out in 1912 by the Montreal firm of Gunn Langlois, which specialized in the handling and shipping of eggs and poultry.

In 1916, during W.W. I, all three floors of the eastern portion of the building were used by the 105th Battalion for the sleeping quarters of Summerside recruits. In December of that year, after a major fire on Water Street destroyed many buildings, the firm of Sinclair & Stewart moved several of its departments into the vacated section of the building and occupied it for almost a year.

The firm of Gunn Langlois ceased operations in Summerside around 1932 and the building changed hands in 1933. Lorne MacFarlane, a partner in the MacFarlane Produce Company, became sole owner in August 1934. A month later he sold the portion of land between the building and the edge of the water to Percy Tanton and his son Ray who wanted it for a mill and lumberyard. In 1960, that land became the property of the Irving Oil Company.

Lorne MacFarlane was one of several individuals who formed the PEI Bag Company Limited, which began manufacturing jute bags for the packing and shipping of potatoes and other produce. In 1937, an addition was built on the south side of the structure and in 1941, a sprinkler system was installed. The success and expansion of the bag business eventually necessitated the use of the whole building and in 1944, the MacFarlane Produce Company moved to other premises. Some reinforcement of the building took place in 1949 when a fifteen-ton machine to cut, print, and fold bags, was installed on the third floor.

Over the years, production has expanded to include bags made from paper and polypropylene to meet the needs of customers who package various types of produce, including potatoes. The business has continued to prosper and is currently owned by descendents of its founders.

Source: City of Summerside, Heritage Property Profile

CHARACTER-DEFINING ELEMENTS

The following character-defining elements illustrate the heritage value of the building:

– the three-storey massing and form of this industrial building with flat roof and large footprint that parallels the adjacent former railway line
– the placement of windows and doors representing a mainly functional purpose, on the north elevation they provide a sense of balance and are 2 over 2
– the ongoing contribution to the historic streetscape reflective of industrial commercial activities

These are my own photographs, snapped during my visit to the island in 2011.

Apparently Roger Wells had plans for the building and this article states that in 2013 the city rejected the idea of using it as storage for antique cars.  The article mentions that it was put up for sale at that time.  Now, I’m going to go digging to see what’s happened with it since.  What an amazing art gallery and studio space that would be!

I know that of my relations, my Auntie Gladys likely worked there the longest.

PEI Bag Company

 

Scandinavian Motifs With Grade Fours

It’s February and elementary art teachers are scrambling to create something with their students that connects with the seasonal event, Valentine’s Day, quickly approaching on February 14.  Red, pink and white lace begin to appear in all sorts of shades, tints and forms, as does the heart motif.  Popping up are paper weavings, rainbow bracelets and hearts growing off of trees…all sorts of projects, Pinterest or otherwise.  I think it’s important, regardless of the timeless tradition of thematically moving through the seasons with elementary students, to continue to deliver a strong program including, if possible, all strands of the curriculum; reflective practice, depiction, composition and expression.

I’ve painted tempera valentines with elementary students before, with a focus on repeating pattern and the introduction and development of painting techniques.  Primarily, these have been expressive lessons, with a short discussion about line and repeating pattern.

This year, I decided to incorporate a reflective component by examining Scandinavian motifs, having seen such designs on plastic Ikea ornaments during last Christmas season.  A tradition of clean edged linoleum prints in crisp red and white, these motifs lend themselves well to an activity such as this one.

 

First, I showed the students a map of the Scandinavian countries and then a collection of motifs where they might draw their inspiration for a valentine.

 

 

For the purpose of depicting (studies or plans), I gave the students a piece of small 8 x 10 red construction paper and a piece of chalk.  They proceeded to observe the projected motifs and incorporate some of the patterns and designs discovered onto their own red hearts. At this point, I talked to the students about what it means to arrange pattern, line and shapes symmetrically over a line of symmetry.  I also demonstrated that an outline for a heart can be created by folding paper in half for perfect symmetry or drawing freehand for an approximation.

The students planned out their designs for the large compositions, to be completed on 18 x 24 construction paper, following a similar sequence of steps as was explored in the smaller format.  I chose purple as a background colour because of the approaching season of Lent, beginning next week, with the observation of Ash Wednesday, next week.  Other colours that might work successfully would be pink and black.

Again, with chalk, the students followed similar steps in larger format, in preparation for paint.  I had formally arranged the student desks so that they were all in partners.  I had 24 students, and prepared 12 buckets of paint, 6 white and 6 red.  I placed two brushes in each bucket.  The students traded off red and white, as they needed, making certain that whatever pattern, shape or line created on either side of the line of symmetry, needed to be reproduced on the other side of that line.

 

Let the ‘wild rumpus begin’!  Paint happens!