Sunday, 23 September 2007

A Busy Week

Everything Entrelac

Just after I put up the previous entry, I found out that Deb Pulliam died last May. Unless you are a serious fibre addict, that name probably won't register with you: she wrote great articles in SpinOff (among other places), talking about historical knitting, spinning, and dyeing.

We never met in person, but had a lively, if infrequent e-friendship, especially when I was learning to spin and exploring how to use my handspun in projects -- one article she had in SpinOff was about dyeing some yarn with lichens, and turning the result into socks that riffed off the Elizabeth Zimmerman afterthought heel.

These were the first socks I ever knit, despite my mother being a hardcore sock knitter -- I don't think my dad, in the forty years they were married, ever wore a "bought" sock. Shortly thereafter, I knit the pair of socks whose cuff is shown above, and the rest, as "they" say, is history.

Deb had breast cancer, and was barely two years older than me: we both started Masters degrees at the same time as well, and shared many stories about the mixed results of going back as mature students, and trying to keep our sanity at the same time.

I've thought a lot about her this past week. RIP.

The rest of the week has been filled with mostly ups: I'm starting to actually feel that I'm accomplishing something at my part-time job; interviewed Roch Carrier, the iconic Canadian writer/playwrite/former head of the Canada Council and the National Library for CJSW, and got the news that I'm scheduled to teach two classes (Everything Entrelac and Reversible Knitting) at Olds College's Fibre Week 2008.

However, I made the mistake on Thursday of attending an event run by the guild I used to belong to: in the end, I should have gone with my gut instinct and not bothered. One attendee pitched a major hissy fit, and I had two people tell me how much they "hated knitting" as I sat there working away on another knitted scarf for the Alberta Craft Council Shop.

sigh Time to move on: I'm supposed to hear whether or not I've been accepted to the residency at the Banff Centre this week, as well as if I get a solo show at the Alberta Craft Council.

Cross your fingers....

Monday, 17 September 2007

Ups and Downs

Against A Morning Sky

Snow one day, heat the next, rain and wind the day after: ah, fall in Calgary.

Working a real job has been interesting, although coming down with a nasty cold on Thursday limited me to only two days. While I sat at home, alternating drinking orange juice and sleeping, I was pleased to receive notice that my production knitting work has been accepted for sale in the Alberta Craft Council Shop, which will help fund my activities for next year.

Still no word about the Banff residency, although it should be soon -- no news is good news, I hope, ditto with the solo show application I submitted -- but I don't expect to hear anything about the grant for awhile yet.

So I contend myself with knitting (I've been working on the commissioned tea cosy, another scarf, and finishing up a mohair shrug), work, and take my camera out on adventures. The shot above is from a small park near our home that is planted with a range of plants from around the world, thriving in a protected micro-climate. I figured I had better go up there sooner rather than later, and it was a good move, as today is cool, raining and windy, and these leaves won't last much longer....

And I've been thinking a lot, which can be a mixed blessing: it always means more work!

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Change is Inevitable


Yes, this is real snow at Highwood Pass in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, and barely an hour west of Calgary. It's not unusual to have snow the beginning of September up in the mountains (the pass is at 7238 feet or 2206 m), and as this is one of the highest public paved roads in Canada, it makes sense that one would see it here.

And I've walked away from a volunteer commitment I've had for more than two years: paying money to work my butt off and then get slagged for refusing to lie for people isn't my idea of "fun." Part of me wishes I could say I'm going to miss being part of the group, but I won't: the friends I've made know where to find me, and the others can indulge themselves to their hearts' content.

Apart from a couple of months pretending to be a file clerk last fall, I've managed to just be the artist for a year. In that time, I've completed a lot (well, for me!) of projects, have a half-dozen or so in various stages of dyeing, spinning, knitting, or paper model construction, and another dozen or so ideas in my handy sketchbook.

The down side has been that I've been spending too much time without human contact: no, Facebook and iChat don't really count.

So I've found myself the perfect antidote -- a part-time job. It's in our neighbourhood, a five-minute or so walk from home, and they're happy with me not working most evenings and weekends, so I can spend time being the significant other.

It's not the money, although I've got a long list of books and tools I'd like to buy, but the social interaction and the exchange of ideas with others in the two or three days a week I'll be working that I'm really looking forward to.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Name That Font

You wait, and wait, and wait....
At last, I'm finally done with writing applications and grant forms -- not that waiting to hear results is much fun either, but now I can get back to knitting (I've accepted a commission for a tea cosy for a very large ceramic teapot) and making books after a too-long hiatus.

And more type-spotting, which I've now started taking more pictures of. I love type, whether working with it in longer publications or even the small books that I do, and I'm getting fractionally better at identifying some of the much more common ones.

Granted, after seeing the documentary film Helvetica, I can now relate to what Gary Hustwit (the director) said at the screening here in June: I see it everywhere now. I'm really looking forward to getting my DVD in November.

Oddly enough, however, you don't see much Helvetica here in Calgary, but it's certainly out there, and since I saw the movie, I've made it my default font in TextEdit (the program I use to write this blog in before I cut-and-paste it into Blogger), so without boring the un-typographically inclined, I won't go into excessive details, or rant about some fonts I see far too often.

But if you're interested in what's out there, you can check out Typophile, a rough-and-tumble website with some terrific experts from around the world, including my good friend Yves Peters, who lives in Belgium and writes the Unzipped blog.

And if you're in Calgary or coming here for a visit, a few of us have started up a little local group: once a month, we meet up, do a little show-and-tell of type-related projects, have a bite to eat and the occasional beverage, and talk about type. Email me if you'd like date and location details.

Books for Sale

The shop is currently empty.