Heirloom Spoon

I have a huge appreciation for skilled craft and for unique approaches to materiality.  I’ve always supported emerging/existing artists and artisans and when I first saw Adam Weaver’s spoons, I knew that I wanted to invest in a spoon each month for a year, so that I would have a beautiful collection to enjoy for a very long time.

While attending the University of Lethbridge, my friend, Brian, carved me a beautiful wooden spoon and I treasured it for as many years as I could, when at some point, the spoon split and it was no more.  The idea of hand carved spoons has been nostalgic ever since.  Sometimes I think that with mass-production, we have lost touch with some of these hand crafted items.

This morning, Adam Weaver (Heirloom Spoon) came to my place in order to deliver January and February and so that I might select, from a collection of other carved spoons, March and April.

We shared a coffee at the feast table and I had the chance to look at and hold the spoons as he set them out in front of me.  They were all so unique and so lovely.

I’m very grateful for the new friendships, Adam and Pascia.  Thank you for taking the huge diagonal across the city to meet with me and to visit about travel, tools, art and life.  May you be richly blessed on your journey.

If interested, you can access Heirloom spoons via Etsy, as well as through various artisan events.

January: carved out of maple…a beautiful long-necked spoon with a leather toggle at one end and a beautiful scooped bowl on the other.  The wood was gifted Adam from Brampton, Ontario…so, given my family history and my connections with Ontario, this one sings to me.

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February: carved out of a piece of knotty birch wood, found right here at the edge of our beautiful Bow River.  It was harvested from trees cut down by some city workers.

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It turns out that I couldn’t resist May either…picking up a coffee scoop as a gift for my own birthday. The scoop is carved from Applewood, harvested right beside the studios at Artpoint Gallery.  They’re demolishing everything around there to build the new C-train line. :0( I love the many concentric circles that draw the eye into the depth of the bowl of the spoon.

The smaller lighter spoon is made from a piece of Ash (Latin name: Fraxinus Excelsior!) found in a small village called Clare, in England.  I like the feel of this spoon in my hand…it’s flat and seems to have some sort of interesting weight/balance thing going on.  I just like it so much.

The big ladle…I chose for March…it felt the most womb-like to me and I was thinking about the birth of my son on March 17, 1990.  Adam used the natural curve of the wood.  This piece was from an arborist-friend of Adam’s again, harvested in Calgary.  I’m wondering if this would be my favourite arborist who trims up May (Mayday) every year for me, before the spring.

 

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When Adam puts his tools down and stops carving, he plants and tends gardens and fits in a lot of travel… as well, he enjoys his authentic relationship with wood and beautiful objects.

 

Wogibi Press and Incunabula

DSC_1328 DSC_1327 DSC_1326It’s magical when things are small.

There’s such a push in life to be big, have more, accumulate more, consume more, make more, do more…

…sometimes the small stuff is what can really take your breath away.  Sometimes the small stuff can leave you weeping like a baby and remind you to be grateful.

The other night I had opportunity to enjoy the launch of a fabulous book titled Incunabula.  Only fifty published, I feel blessed to own #35.  It is a beautiful object.  It is a beautiful piece of poetry.  Created collaboratively by poet Melanie Boyd, illustrator Bronwyn Schuster and woodworker MJ Boyd, this is a treasure.

Trea Jensen’s song, Orphan was one of four songs that set the tone for the evening.

Readings delivered by Melanie Boyd were captivating.  Eggs In the Field written by Sean Virgo/illustrated by Ryan Price and Incunabula were both performed with powerful voice and both stories gave way to chills down the spine.

 

 

 

 

Tiny Art Books – Tiny Art Galleries

Last evening I attended a workshop facilitated by Emma Bresola and Melissa Centofanti.  It was a wide open creative experience after a brief viewing of the artist-facilitators’ exemplars and hearing about the possibilities.  The give-back to the community was a response to the recent exhibit of Emma and Melissa’s own art books in the Tiny Galleries situated throughout Bridgeland.  It was a fantastic night of creating!

I went with the specific intent of finding continued healing.  With the anniversary of Mom’s passing, I find I am needing to create objects as a way of both journeying my grief and celebrating Mom’s life.  Something so tactile and open-ended as the small books, allowed for that possibility.  The session flew by.  I am grateful for the expertise and guidance of both Melissa and Emma.

From the Bridgeland Community Center, I zipped out to look at one of the Tiny Galleries before the wind started howling and the weather changed.  A beautiful evening!

Melissa and EmmaIn connection with this, I strongly recommend that my readers take opportunity to view the PBS film, Objects and Memory.  This film really spoke to me and as various experiences of loss or destruction confront members of our society, it makes sense that we naturally memorialize through our objects.  I felt this happening as I created my small book.

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Contemporary Calgary Serves Up Made in Calgary: The 1990s and Deadly Lady Art Triumvirate

Made in Calgary The 1990s and the Deadly Ladies Art Triumvirate

It’s the ‘morning after’ writing this post and as I read it, I think that it might be a particularly challenging post because Saturday night was so FULL to exploding with art and at this single venue, a lot was going on.  For those who are not familiar with the physical lay out of the building that was once called the Art Gallery of Calgary, there are four floors, each separated by a very open stairwell.  Presently, on three of those floors is an exhibit titled Made in Calgary: The 1990s and on the top floor, an aboriginal women artists’ exhibit titled the Deadly Lady Artist Triumvirate.  This post will explore both, although, barely touching on the 1990s portion.

The Art Gallery of Calgary and our MOCA, located by City Hall, along with the Institute of Modern and Contemporary Art have consolidated/E-merged as Contemporary Calgary.  So, to begin with, the language that I use to label the evening venue becomes a tad complicated.  Here are some of the highlights, as I saw them.

An upbeat evening was had at Contemporary Calgary on Saturday night…friendship (happy birthday, Jen), hugs, laughter, great catered food and fantastic art.  In the 1990s, I remember making the acquaintance of several local artists in their studios…places like the Burns Building.  I think that the exhibit nicely characterizes the sorts of things that were happening at the time and it was very reminiscent to be in connection with the ‘stuff’ again.

While I won’t be able to feature or write my connection with each piece, I want to showcase a few. For example, a nice little threesome of silver gelatin prints by Lawrence Chrismas were exhibited.  I met Lawrence when I attended a powerful exhibit of photographs at the Esker Foundations some time ago. The exhibit was titled Splendid Isolation…and captured the intimacy and narrative aspects of spaces. At one of the art talk events, Lawrence (Larry) had shared, during question period, an encounter with photographer,   Orest Semchishen.  It was a highlight for me as I was taking in Orest’s historical images of small town Alberta.

P1150108I’ve made a visit to the Paintedearth Coal Mine with my friend, Bill Webb and so when I saw the image of these welders, I was so impressed with the fact that faces were ‘put on’ the history of the area.  Art sustains our narratives so that we might always make reference.  I felt engaged with a small part of the archive that is Alberta mining.  Beautiful.

P1150104A Wayne Giles piece demanded the viewer’s attention by its monumental presence on the lower level.  The first image is the AGC’s documented image and the following one is my attempt to capture its presence at my first encounter.

Wayne Giles Mondrian's Cat 1992

Wayne Giles Mondrian’s Cat 1992

P1150106Then I headed for the Top Floor gallery space…and THIS!

From artrubicon. Visual Arts Magazine, this...

Contemporary Calgary, (formerly The Art Gallery of Calgary) is pleased to announce its first Artist-in-Residence (AIR) project, supporting local and ntional artists in the research, creation, and presentation of new artwork while building mentorship opportunities between emerging and established artists.  Throughout the month of January, the AIR project features three Aboriginal artists; Tanya Harnett, Amy Malbeuf, and Brittney Bear Hat.

P1150102It is my hope that my readers will find opportunity to enjoy this exhibit that runs until May 4, 2014.  Opening night, the voices of female singers and the sounds of their drums filled the Top Gallery and left me, in a few different moments, silently weeping.  The exhibit of works was brilliant and create a composite of deeply felt moments…stories of family, identity and healing.

Deadly Lady Art Triumvirate February 8 2014

Miriam Meir, Tanya Harnett, Chantal Stormsong Chagnon and Cheryle Chagnon-Greyeyes

Deadly Lady Art Triumvirate February 8 2014 2 Next, musician, Olivia Tailfeathers performed with a young lady and gentleman…exquisite!  Powerful!

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Artist: Brittney Bear Hat

Artist: Brittney Bear Hat

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Sculpture in Mixed Media by Artist, Tanya Harnett

I had previously written some ponderings about Tanya Harnett while being blown away by an Edward Burtynsky exhibit at the Glenbow.  It was wonderful to finally see her very potent and beautiful works exhibited in this way.

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Artist: Tanya Harnett

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Artist: Brittney Bear Hat

Artist: Brittney Bear Hat

I had done some reading about Chief Running Rabbit, just recently, and chose to depict him in one of my paintings at the Gorilla House.  It was a quick two hour engagement with the subject and a bit more in research, but to have this encounter with his story during the night’s events, was a highlight for me.  I’m disappointed that I didn’t meet Brittney.

create! in the East Village

Wendy Lees invited me to explore painting as one of the offerings at the Golden Age Club this week, Wednesday and Friday afternoons. Director of a recent initiative to use ‘creation’ as a way to connect a community, create!, Wendy has designed community drop-in art and craft workshops in the East Village.  For an excellent overview on the physical re-invigoration of the area, please see the Take A Tour section at the bottom of the link here.  Click on the wee orange icons.

Present location and with gratitude, a sunny art space on the 2nd floor of the Golden Age Club in East Village awaits you with coffee and cookies too! — at East Village Calgary.

Photo Credit: Michelena Bamford

Photo Credit: Michelena Bamford

I have written a few times about Wendy’s Love Art in Calgary tours and am a huge fan of her passion and her projects, both.  We have become well-bonded through her designs and this is one of those friendships and experiences that I am truly enjoying as one aspect of the gift of retirement.  From one of Wendy’s communications, this…

“My main focus right now (well one of them) is to secure funding for the ongoing work which I am doing with create! I am doing this through soliciting for private donations (large donors) and with a couple of grants through the Canadian Red Cross and the Calgary Foundation. I have a lot of support for this project from Druh Farrell’s office, from the East Village Neighbourhood Association, from the Golden Age Club and from many other organizations and people.”  I also know that Wendy has enjoyed huge support from Nina’s Hear’s My Soul Cafe, #107 535 – 8th Ave SE.

While I need to tighten up the facilitation of materials and the clarity as I speak about the technical aspects of colour, I think that the experience of working with such a diverse and interested group was wonderful.  Parts of the activity were specific and controlled and others may have been too open-ended.  I’m reflecting on all of it.  The truth is, it’s important  that each person pick up something new to mull over…and it’s also so important for me to learn something so that I might grow.  What Wendy is doing is such a blessing for all of us.

P1140705 P1140706 P1140707 P1140708 P1140709 P1140710 P1140712 P1140713 P1140714Thanks to friend,Michelena of Wolf Willow Studio (workshop leader and inventor of wonderful things) for bringing a youthful gaggle along with her and buying us a ‘mother load’ of fries to celebrate afterwards at Gina’s in the Golden Age Club.

P1140715create!

“When you start getting people’s creative juices going, then they start making creative solutions to other problems.”

 

Back to the Battles: Gorilla House Art Battle: January 2, 2013

I haven’t painted at the Gorilla House since the End of the World Battle, but went down last night and had fun hooking up with my artist-buddies and responding to recent life experience through paint.  I’ve enjoyed the season, as you’ve already read; with good food, drink, reads, friends and family…and now, the painting begins!

I arrived at the house with a bit of an agenda last night and was feeling more than a little manic.  Grief and sadness are expressed through a spectrum of behaviours. For me, this evening would be about RELEASE.  Another young man passed away on New Year’s Day and I had to deal with that and the impact so many deaths have caused on my family these last years.  Not that this can happen in a single painting…but art has always been a part of my healing over the years.

The concepts during the SPIN of the Wheel of Doom were 1) History 2) Appropriation and an image of graffiti and 3) Standing in the street yelling at passers by.

I had purchased my panel at the WIN store, as is usual, and after deconstructing the attached image, was left with bits of Monet’s painting, Woman in the Garden, Sainte-Adresse.  I left the figure to represent myself, looking upon the loss…of mothers…wives…children.  I find myself in the painting through this figure and therefore, the artist separates herself from the sadness.

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Leaving Monet’s figure took care of the subject of Appropriation in art, the second concept.  Appropriation is something that I have to be mindful of because I am a collage artist and it is important to look at history as a reference continually. For those readers who do not refer to the link, this, from Wikipedia,

“Appropriation can be understood as “the use of borrowed elements in the creation of a new work.”[2] In the visual arts, to appropriate means to properly adopt, borrow, recycle or sample aspects (or the entire form) of man-made visual culture. Most notable in this respect are the Readymades of Marcel Duchamp. Other strategies include “re-vision, re-evaluation, variation, version, interpretation, imitation, proximation, supplement, increment, improvisation, prequel… pastiche, paraphrase, parody, homage, mimicry, shan-zhai, echo, allusion, intertextuality and karaoke.”[3] The term appropriation refers to the use of borrowed elements in the creation of a new work[2] (as in ‘the artist uses appropriation’) or refers to the new work itself (as in ‘this is a piece of appropriation art’).”

This would be an interesting blog post…I will tuck it away for future writing.

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I used collage to include a buck and doe onto the surface, representing those that James and I saw on New Year’s night.  I included one verse of Tennyson’s poem and specifically this one because my dear friend, Val, attended Gorilla House last evening. She inspired the inclusion of this verse. I remembered going on a walk with her with my old dog, Laurie-dog…it was a beautiful summer day and she and I were visiting about life and about death.  She mentioned a bee….and so,

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“But here will sigh thine alder tree
And here thine aspen shiver;
And here by thee will hum the bee,
For ever and for ever.”

Scriptural text incorporated, before arriving to the battle, while painting my ground (panel prep) were the words of Psalm 23.

The foreground element…the deer skull.  The deer is heavily weighted with mythology and symbol in many/all cultures.  For me, in the night, the deer was a physical reminder of the spirit and of resurrection and of the renewal of the body.

Thank you to Brian for his purchase of my piece at auction…to my dear friend, Belinda Fireman for her photograph of us.  Thanks for the visits of Val and Darlene…for the battles shared with Deb and Kells…love you guys.  Good to see you, Vincent Varga and Andy!  Happy birthday, Karen.  Aaron of Red Dot Photography took an amazing photograph of this piece because I explained to him that I wasn’t particularly ready to let go of this one and that it meant something special…and so he took a great photo that I will publish later.  The painting is titled, A Farewell.

Photo Credit: Belinda Fireman

Photo Credit: Belinda Fireman

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Complete Contentment

The morning ritual, with the first coffee sitting on the desk, is to read a few blogs, the news on line…check the e mail and then set out to create a day.  Tom Phillips is playing down at the Ironwood tonight, but I didn’t think to reserve a spot until last Friday…so, I’m on a waiting list. My dancing partner, Bee, says he can get me in…but New Year’s Eve is not the night to drive down to a place and then find out that they can’t sandwich you in to an event.

Being single is weird on New Year’s Eve.  Regardless, there are ways around that and things that you can do to cause you to feel those anticipatory jitters about how wonderful life is without a partner.  Like I say…going to one of those spots where people LOVE music is one of those welcoming ideas for singles.  I have many single friends who just love music so much that it’s great to be with them and their passion for all things beautiful as you ring in the New Year.  I’m pretty sure that the Gorilla House is open tonight…now, there, I could mingle with like-minded artists…maybe paint…have a drink…and one thing is for sure, have a barrell of laughs!

Being peaceful…now, that’s always a great way to bring in the New Year.  Slicing yourself up a bit of good sausage (will have to talk to the daughter about where she picked up the Christmas sausage…it was amazing!)  OH!  Here’s the information on the packaging for the strawberry/rubarb pie purchased at the same location…The Log Barn 1912!  Amazing food!

So…yeah…put on some music…slice up some good sausage…put out the gherkin pickles, cheese and crackers…for the brave, a tin of oysters!  Open a glass of wine and light up the candles.  Play some music. MAGIC!

I think one of the most memorable ‘quiet’ New Year’s Eve events I enjoyed was one shared with my son.  We went over to the movie theater and watched the Last Samurai.  We stepped into the cold winter night at around 1:15 a.m. that year.  The movie had been such a beautiful metaphor somehow.  We talked quietly about the whole experience as we drove home.

So, yeah…the point is.  Bless your own life with divine light for the new year.  Give yourself everything you need to be a healthy, positive and affirming force for others.  Be generous of heart and go easy on the pity parties.  Create!  Challenge!  Question!  Love! And…delight in the small things.

My small thing this morning… the light…a small shape of light, perhaps reflected off of a Christmas ornament on the tree on to my bookshelf.  It was beautiful and I may be reading too much into this (readers laugh here) but, I consider it to be a sign…an offering…an offering of light for this day and the year to come.  I’m taking it that way.

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A friend of mine posted the lyrics to this tune and I’m going to post the music here.  One of the deeply inspiring experiences of 2012 for me was to sit and listen to Leonard Cohen.  Sit back…enjoy…and remember to be kind to yourselves.  Happy New Year!

Gorilla House LIVE ART: August 8, 2012

I will post the video at a later date, but on this post.  For now, I’m including a few archives of last evening’s art battles.  The inspired concepts drawn for last evening’s piece were fairly abstract, I thought….and so, that’s where I went with my painting.  The concepts were 1. Lies 2. Two points and 3. Vanilla.

I went immediately to a 1970s National Geographic archive titled Where Oil and Wildlife Meet.  I thought that no matter what side you take with the issues of oil, sustainability, climate and wildlife, you might perceive the ‘other’ side to be telling lies.  I then focused on the concept of two points…linking it with the first issue I mentioned here.  From there, I thought of balance…and developed the three spheres, beginning with the white one (vanilla) linking the previous TWO POINTS.  The vanilla sphere is the quintessential 3D form; gradations of value, grounded, evidence of a light source, shadow…it is very physical, very tangible.  The red sphere represents passion, ideas, issues, anger, fear and it degrades and feels somehow less resolved than the white sphere.  The gold medallion…one dimensional, flat, about currency, cost, boundaries, revenue.

I like this piece and could have worked on it beyond the two hours allotted, but the Gorilla House contributes to an artist’s madness during the creative process/impulse and then , at auction, instantaneously, finds the work dashed into someone’s hands and home.  An interesting process!  Sarah, acquired the piece.

 

I Fought My First Battle and I’m Facing My Second! Gorilla House LIVE ART

Max and I are going to the park for a good off-leash experience and then I’m heading down for the Gorilla Live Art Battles this evening.  If you are a local reader and want to see the ‘process’ for a whole number of artists, come out for the event!  You won’t meet a pack of more creative people, anywhere!  Have a cool one, chat with people and enjoy an auction like no other!  See you there!

  • 1503 15th Ave SW
  • Calgary, Alberta
  • 7:00 p.m.

Darlene acquired this piece inspired by Queen of Swords and a surprising massage.