Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Still "In Progress"

Still in progress

I started working on What I Felt more than a year ago, soon after my mother died: Alzheimer's began to take over her brain just as I started graduate school in 1998, but I know she would have been thrilled to see the work I've been doing with books in the last couple of years.

Regular readers of this blog will recall seeing some of my previous tales in bringing this book into the world, and I figured it's about time you actually saw the text block for it. In fact, there are two: the one pictured above, and another labelled Artist Proof that will be sent to the creator of the typeface I used.

Before I iron the fusible webbing onto the back of the felt covers, I'm going to feather out the edges of the felt a bit, much like one would pare down leather covers to eliminate some of the bulk. I was hoping to get to that this past week, but I've been slogging my way through writing two more applications (one for a solo show and one for a grant).

And I've got to get them done today, as I'm heading up to Edmonton to hand-deliver both, do a little gallery-crawling, take some pictures of type, and visit with a few friends.

So back to the grindstone!

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

My Mental Health Place

Standish Lookout

It's cranially challenging when every week is "one of those weeks," and that's what it has felt like lately here.

Keeping my fingers crossed, I needle-felted the most recent incarnation of covers for What I Felt and even managed to pick up a supply of blue tatami paper from Lisa Isley at In A Bind, my local bookbinding supply emporium.

(And, um, well, picked up some other papers and another sheet of book board, so I think I'm set for that sort of stuff for awhile. I hope!)

I haven't used the fusible webbing to weld the paper to the felt yet, but I'm hoping to next week. After that, it should be a simple matter of gluing the covers to the boards and attaching the text blocks, assuming all goes well....

Most of the rest of my week saw me figuratively chained to my computer, pounding away at the two documents I need to finish by the time I go up to Edmonton next Wednesday.

Then there was the Sheep-to-Shawl at the Millarville Fair on Saturday, where we did pretty good by coming in second: no one, and I mean no one, could have beat out Sheep Creek Weavers with their glorious ikat-dyed warp and black weft. Unfortunately, I had battery problems with my camera and was unable to get pictures.

Thankfully, I got the camera problems straightened out before we headed up to go hiking up at Sunshine Village on Sunday. Not the nicest day, with scattered drizzle and a north wind, but it certainly reduced the crowd on the bus up (it wasn't half-full) and along the trails: the picture at the top of this entry is a panorama of shots I took from the Standish Lookout (a larger version can be found here).

The best part was the overcast made taking pictures of the prolific wildflowers much easier, and the peace and quiet of the mountains was the appropriate counterpoint for the craziness of the rest of the week and what I know will be another ten days of flat-out hard work.

Monday, 13 August 2007

A Colourful Saturday

Dye Day 2007

Apartments aren't usually the best places to live in if one likes to use toxic substances, so one of my favourite events is Dye Day at my guild, when I get a chance to work with acid dyes that I normally wouldn't use at home.

The three good-sized skeins at the bottom, and the fall-coloured roving at the top is what I came home with (the bit of dyed roving top left was done for a friend): as they've dried, they are now more subtle, but not quite pastel. I've got some ideas to use them up that I hope to sketch out this week.

And this weekend is another fun event, as I captain our team at the Millarville Fair's Sheep-to-Shawl competition. We start with a prewarped loom, then three spinners and one weaver use fleece from a freshly sheared sheep to card, spin, and weave off a shawl within three hours.

It's a blast, and I really enjoy getting out to show the public that what we do isn't complicated and still has relevancy in our high-tech world: I'll have pictures of it up next week.

But the best part of the weekend will be Sunday, as we are going hiking up at Sunshine Village. We'll be too late to see the alpine meadow flowers, but I don't care: if the day is clear, we'll get to see Mount Assiniboine and, with luck, some wildlife.

I was up about the same time last year, and saw four bighorn rams by being the first person up the Grizzly/Larix Lakes trail in the morning. If I could spend eternity in just one place, it would be there.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

A Productive Week

Nature's Helicopter, Bug Division Part Two

When you grow up in Calgary, as I did, going to Banff is pretty ho-hum: it's an hour and change west, the skiing and hiking are terrific, and the Upper Hot Springs are amazing on a -40 winter's day.

Tucked above the townsite is the Banff Centre, home to a well known management and leadership program, as well as some fabulously creative writing, arts, music, dance, and cutting-edge work.

So last Wednesday, I went up to deliver my application form for a two-month artist residency there. The application process is daunting: many forms to fill out, strict requirements on the number of words one must write for various sections, the usual finicky dictates for submitting pictures of work, and so on.

And all in the requisite typeface and size, specific order, of course -- much of what I was grumping about here, in fact -- and was a process that I spent the better part of the last two months working (and frequently obsessing) on.

Imagine how pleased I was to get an email (sent an hour after delivering the precious package up to the Registrar's Office, no less) to let me know that it was accepted, complete, and would be referred to the jurying committee. I figure my odds there are a crapshoot -- they always are with juries, I think -- but at least I did good on the forms.

What a relief to finally get it out and accepted in time to spend the weekend with our friends from out-of-town at the big dog show and only have to think about getting back to doing "art" again. Being mosquito season, we were sure glad to see a lot of dragonflies down at the site as well, which is where I snapped the big fellow who's at the top of this entry (full-sized version here).

One project I've had in the planning stages for some time has to do with insects, and I might just use this picture in it -- I think I'm starting to get more comfortable and competent with my camera.

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