The interview I did for CBC Radio last month was yet another link in the chain of crazy-busyness that has been the new norm here.
When I went to view the work I had up for sale at Triangle Gallery, I saw someone I knew from participating in Artist Trading Cards and we talked about what I've been doing lately, particularly as it's been a goodly while since I've been to ATC Night. Something I will rectify soon. Really.
At that time, I had passed on sending in a submission to apply for a funded artist space because the week before the deadline, I had done something rather nasty to my knee, and sitting at the computer, trying to be creative with words, hadn't exactly been top-of-mind.
"Oh," I was told, "we had to extend the deadline: it's now the end of November."
So with my knee being less of a bother, I came home, thought long and hard about what I could do if let loose in a real studio space -- one that I wouldn't have to pack away every afternoon at 5:00 p.m. so that family meals could be consumed -- and fired off the required package.
Pyramid Power did not fail me: within ten days, I was told that I had been awarded the space I wanted for two months, beginning January 10. I'll be working on two large fibre installations that I can barely touch now -- one is near completion and currently the size of a basketball, but needs to be washed and blocked (the proper term is dressed) to be six feet or so square.
Further details to come, as I committed to running a fairly open studio to welcome visitors: I've now started thinking about what else I can do with the time and space -- it's a list that's growing powerfully long and mighty fast.
When I had decided to pass the initial deadline, I did make a note to submit something for their next one, which is usually April 30. However, they filled the space for an entire year from the extended call.
Sometimes you can be good, and sometimes you can be lucky.
And every once in a foggy dawn, you can be both....
Saturday, 12 December 2009
Monday, 16 November 2009
One of the biggest challenges as an artist is to get your name out there, and I registered for a course about how to do just that this fall. It's not that I haven't been doing some PR work (heck, I've done it for others!) before.
Sadly, the course was cancelled at the last minute and rescheduled for the weekend we spent in Vancouver, but my efforts have finally started to seriously pay off.
At the end of September, I did a live interview over at CJSW on their Tuesday show ArtsLink that was a lot of fun, and yesterday, the interview I taped last Thursday with Russell Bowers of Daybreak Alberta, the province-wide CBC Radio One weekend morning show ran (to hear the interview you can scroll down until you see pictures of me and the work.)
It's long (just shy of eleven minutes), but full of good questions (on Russell's part) and a lot of laughter on my behalf, but it does get the point across, I think.
I took in How to Make a Peacock Fly
and Virginia Woolf Knits
plus we discussed fall fashion
and the three exhibits I'm currently showing in.
Trying to describe visual art on the radio is, at best, a challenge though. Pictures really do make a big difference.
Posted by Linda at 16:04
Saturday, 14 November 2009
Since I moved back to Calgary, Remembrance Day has usually been pretty grim, weather-wise: this year was a pleasant exception. While the temperature was a bit on the nippy side, it was sunny, and the breeze held off for the morning ceremony down at the cenotaph in Central Memorial Park here in Calgary.
We have three major ceremonies here: one inside at the Jubilee Auditorium, one outside at the Military Museums (that always attracts a huge crowd, estimated this year at 12,000), and the more intimate one at the cenotaph. Not being one for crowds at the best of times, and especially not being keen at stuffing myself into a building with a lot of germs, I made the obvious choice.
One thing that surprised me about the crowd was the number of children in attendance, like the Cubs and Scouts waiting to place their wreath
and so many who gently placed their poppy on the cenotaph after the ceremony.
Although there was no formal ceremony, a private donor provided the money to create 506 crosses, each labelled with the name, rank/unit, and date of death, of all the soldiers who called Calgary "home" but who were killed in action during the First and Second World Wars, Korea, and Afghanistan. It too was a busy place: the new normal since we entered the soi-disant "war on terrorism."
For much of my adult life, attendance at Remembrance Day ceremonies had been declining, but it is now becoming important (if not verging on popular) to pass on the stories of wars past.
Sadly, our species still feels the need to repeat them.
Posted by Linda at 14:17
Wednesday, 4 November 2009
I'm not sure what I like doing the most when I visit Vancouver in the fall: walking along the beach or seeing the leaves turn colour. Perhaps it's living in Calgary that makes me enjoy these two, since we have neither, but I love to walk along the shoreline on the firm sand and see sights like the one above.
When the weather got sunnier on Saturday, we headed up to Lighthouse Park and Point Atkinson -- the forest primeval and well-known harbour landmark together -- where we wandered among tall trees, said hi to the one and only slug we saw (shortly before s/he was snuffed out by a BMW that was allowed on the footpath), and inhaled the salty, humid air.
Two (three, if you count the slug) other things that Calgary doesn't have.
That being said, I'm not about to pack up and move (back) to the coast: once was enough, and as much fun as it is to visit, there's something about a waxing prairie moon at Hallowe'en that I just wouldn't want to give up.
The flip side of that moon is fall sunrises here -- the right combination of clouds, low sun angle, and wind-stripped trees can be most amazing.
And when I haven't been out with my camera, I've been working away at my bench and reaping the rewards of recent works. horizon (below), currently at EPCOR Centre through November 23, is part of an online gallery show and was also juried into The Bonefolder, an international, peer-reviewed publication of bookbinding and book arts. Check out page 55.
In fact, it was such big a hit in Vancouver that the owner of the gallery that carries my work here (Arts on Atlantic) has asked me to edition it, which is how I'm spending my time at the bench (and some in front of the computer, setting it up to run multiple copies and tinkering a bit with the layout of the endpapers).
Photos of the edition of four will be up when they're complete.
Posted by Linda at 18:11
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
My original plan for Destiny, the book arts show that opens tomorrow night at Arts on Atlantic here in Calgary, was to enter horizon (photos).
But like most well-laid plans, this one went slightly awry: The Universe Beyond came along, for which I needed two exhibition-quality books, and horizon joined spirit river in that show. So what to create for Destiny?
A recent Sunday walk down to the Bow River provided the inspiration (and the back cover), and another photograph, taken on a spring fishing trip, became the front cover for river. Because it's a movable structure, it doesn't "read" like a regular book: have a look at the video to see how it works!
And with this opening, I will have three shows running concurrently: life has gone from being a gentle float in a rubber dinghy to Grade 4 water in a skirted kayak. And that's not a bad thing.
On another note, it's October here: a time when weather can go from summer's heat to winter's cold at the drop of a jetstream. Last weekend was dull, cold, and mostly lifeless, with the exception of these wonderful paper-like lantern plants injecting a welcome splash of orange in a monotone landscape.
I'm looking forward to tomorrow night's opening and, especially, heading to Vancouver next week for the Alcuin Society's Wayzgoose. It's a chance to see what others are doing, chat a bit, and see some green grass. Lots of pictures from the new camera, I'm sure, when we return.
Posted by Linda at 11:20
Thursday, 1 October 2009
I was able to get fall fashion installed in Fish Creek Provincial Park last Friday, another warm, perfect fall day here in Calgary.
Although I wasn't able to get into the Lake Sikome area (the gate was locked) to install it on the tree for which it was originally constructed, it is -- and I am -- flexible enough to find other spots to show it off to best advantage.
In the top picture, we're in the parking lot near Bow Valley Ranche, where I found the right combination of tree size and shape, angle to the sun, suitable background, and, perhaps most important, accessibility.
That being said, my assistant-for-the-day, Jamie Gray (organizer of Art in the Park), needed to pull her car up onto a nearby curb and climb onto her bumper to make sure it was installed straight (thanks again, Jamie!).
One thing about knitting with 15 mm needles is that the work goes quickly: I spent as much time on the actual knitting as I did in the spinning and dyeing of the alpaca/Cotswold combined. The texture of the different yarns (two fine strands of two-ply mill-spun llama were added to the handspun) added some minor textural and colour interest, especially against the tree bark and lichen.
My interview on CJSW's Artslink show on Tuesday, where I talked about this project, the solo show down at EPCOR Centre, and my current adventures (the next book and experimental short film) went well: I'm still more comfortable as the interviewer versus interviewee, but put a set of headphones on me and stick me in front of a microphone, and I'm back in my element.
Enough of being "the artist" for today, however: I've got some deadlines ahead (proposals and the next book), a surprise visit from one of my favourite cousins, and a photographic adventure to prepare for.
Back to the bench!
Posted by Linda at 10:02
Wednesday, 23 September 2009
A window of The Universe Beyond.
September has been even more harried that I thought it would be: between installing The Universe Beyond, and a range of activities associated with Alberta Arts Days, a deadline, and out-of-town company, I've barely had time to do much real creative work.
Apart from knitting a vest for a tree (as part of Art in the Park) that I will be installing on Friday, and working my way through tutorials to learn Final Cut Express and my upgraded copy of Illustrator CS3, I've not spent the time I've wanted (not to mention needed) to work on the new projects.
The second half of The Universe Beyond.
The crush is on to get several things out the door sooner, rather than later: two proposals are waiting on installation pictures of the tree/vest, a new book, and at least one residency application needs to be well along before heading to Vancouver for the Alcuin Society's Wayzgoose.
If you're interested in hearing more about The Universe Beyond and my other projects firsthand, host JoAnn Reynolds will be having me as the lead guest on CJSW's Artslink on Tuesday, September 26, at 1800 MDT (2000 EDT, or 0000 GMT), available at 90.9 FM in Calgary and, as they say, around the world through the 'net. Check out their various streaming options here.
Better buzz on down the road....
Posted by Linda at 14:03
Friday, 4 September 2009
The work continues.
horizon (above) was completed in one take, as opposed to the numerous versions of spirit level I went through before I could send the scene to be printed.
Early, even, to be installed at my solo exhibition down @ EPCOR Centre here in Calgary. (Artist statement and biography now up!)
My old camera simply doesn't do the work justice, but I'll take my new toy (a Canon SX10 IS) down early next week for some higher-resolution pictures: in the meantime, you can see some installation shots taken by Mark Strowbridge on Facebook.
I seem to be spending more time lately working on visuals: right now, I'm working my way through a book on Final Cut Express, hoping to gain enough knowledge to put together a short video clip for two show proposals (which explains some of the movie jargon!).
That being said, it's a relief to have The Universe Beyond up: I've spent much of the last two months (i.e., since I found out) thinking about it, even when I was thinking about "other things."
So, life calms down a bit for the next while. I've only got the video and the two proposals to finish by the end of next week, when my brother-in-law arrives for a visit. While he's here, I'll be spending the Sunday at Art in the Park, where I'm one of the artists-in-residence.
The following weekend, I'll be doing my part to support Worldwide Spin In Public Day on Saturday by taking my wheel and being part of Alberta Arts Day at a local library branch.
Sunday, The Book Arts (with What I Felt ) opens its two-year tour of Alberta in Medicine Hat.
Busy? Who, me?
Posted by Linda at 15:11
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
When I'm working on a major project, like my solo show that opens next month, I have a tendency to over-complicate things sometimes.
In this instance, I've been working on horizon, the new book that I will be installing. The photograph I'm using for it is 5 inches high and 27 inches long, and that will include front and end papers, and seven sets of flags.
While I've got some paper in stock to run it off on, it's quite cream-coloured, and I really want to have this on a white paper. I've found some I love, but I either have to buy a small quantity of standard letter-sized paper and piece it together (with extra time to ensure accurate printing on the flip side of the flags), or buy a small roll, which will give me enough paper to last several years (at a substantially higher cost).
On the surface, the cheapest outlay of cash would dictate piecing, but I suspect I would end up running off multiple sheets, likely have to get a new set of ink cartridges for the printer, spend hours and hours cutting and matching, and still not be happy with the end result.
So I'm going to go with the roll paper: my small test print on it (courtesy of a sampler pack I bought with my new computer) is amazingly gorgeous, and, frankly, the book, and the installation, will look better for it.
Oddly enough, these are the sorts of things I spend much of my time thinking about when out hiking with friends on Flickrmeets, from where the images in this blogpost originate: being out of the city helps clean out my mind of extraneous silliness and makes me realize what truly does matter.
Posted by Linda at 18:08
Thursday, 30 July 2009
The last fibre I chose to spin up for the Tour de Fleece (where cycling-obsessed spinners follow along with the Tour de France) was a lovely bump of 250 grams of dyed Corriedale (a sheep breed with fairly fine, crimpy wool).
At least, it had been lovely in 1999: so soft and fluffy, it filled a large bag when I bought it from Penelope Fibre Arts. Ten years of being stuffed away left it dull, compressed, and stiff as a board: that one piece above is barely five feet long, 1.5" in diameter, and weighs two ounces -- not something that is particularly spinning-friendly.
So I started by splitting it in half lengthwise and gently worked to widen the resulting pieces: the one on the left (above) has been loosened, while the right "rope" hasn't been. There's a substantial difference, isn't there?
Doing this also gave me the chance to see how the colours were dyed on it -- the yellow really wasn't noticeable at all in the compressed version -- and to check to see what kind of shape the wool really was in. The good news is that there wasn't any damage to it, so I was able to make a better decision about how to spin it.
I decided to make a fairly thick, two-ply yarn with this roving, so I could spin it up quickly and let some of the colour shifts be fairly subtle at the same time. Having widened the roving to thin it out, I decided to turn it into something a little easier to spin, loosely rolling it up and then gently pulling it lengthwise.
Doing this thins out the fibres from the mass even more, and lets the colour change work over a longer distance.
By the time I was finished, I had a lovely, long, fluffy collection of fibres, reasonably organized into a worsted-like preparation, and with a gentle colour shift.
I've finished spinning the first half of this bobbin: you can see the colour shift in the last few turns. When I'm finished spinning the singles and move on to plying, this will definitely give the yarn some visual interest.
Done! Three good-sized skeins, with just short of 400 yards of two-ply yarn. I've been using one to work on some knitted artifacts for my solo installation show in EPCOR Centre that opens September 4, and I have some thoughts about the other two skeins.
As luck would have it, I have some very fine cotton thread in my stash that is almost the same family of green: not quite sure how I'm going to combine them. Yet.
So stay tuned....
Posted by Linda at 14:33
Sunday, 5 July 2009
This last month has been just one thing after another: too busy to do much of anything except keep my head down and work to finish all the commitments I had made.
From the very beginning, I knew June (and the beginning of July) were going to be just crazy, and I wasn't surprised when a few curveballs got thrown my way as well, as they inevitably do.
At least everything that did happen was fun (and remunerative, which always helps when one lives la vie bohème as an artist).
The first mostly public event was running a wine-and-cheese tasting for 45 people as a fund-raiser for a provincial politician: we had six wines from British Columbia, two cheeses from Québec, and one cheese from Alberta. Everyone enjoyed the food, they surpassed their financial goal, and I was asked to run subsequent events, so it's obvious they had a good time.
And then it was off to visit friends who raise organic bison and Scottish Highland cattle for a burger, a tour, and a chance to spend an hour or two getting up close and personal with our food. In fact, when they need to check the animals over thoroughly, the safest way to do it is to get them into the squeeze, shown above.
While we could have camped there on Saturday (just west of Olds), I still had to get ready for my time up at Olds College, so we came back home and then headed back up Sunday morning.
In the afternoon, I judged 50 wool fleeces from 11 different breeds in 90 minutes, which is a lot harder than it sounds. There are specific qualities one needs to address (all on the handy judging form), knowledge of each breed's characteristics (particularly when dealing with crossbreds), and consistency. Hard work, but a lot of fun.
Monday and Tuesday were consumed by my classes, which were full of great students who asked interesting questions and had a lot of fun, from all indications, but I was grateful to get home Tuesday night.
While getting ready Thursday to go down to the Stampede on Friday afternoon, I received a wonderfully surprising and exciting email: I had been chosen for a solo installation exhibition at Calgary's Epcor Centre, starting in September. I'll be posting details on Facebook, so if you haven't already friended me there, you might want to think about doing so.
Ah, to be a fine hieland coo, and spend me days w' nowt t' do....
Posted by Linda at 17:25
Wednesday, 10 June 2009
Two weeks ago, I had a list of projects that had been simmering on the back burner for awhile (like rebuilding spirit level and a residency application) and new projects that had tight deadlines (like knitting the sample for one class, and retooling handouts for both classes, that I'm teaching at Olds College's Fibre Week).
Well, spirit level is done (pictures on Flickr sometime next week, I hope), the application is ready to email, the sample is knit, and most of the writing on the handouts is done, although as a professional editor, I continue to tinker with them.
It's just so satisfying to get those things off, although I'm now faced with yet another list: the handout participants will get at a wine- and cheese-tasting I'm leading June 25 is laid out, but needs some fleshing-out, for starters.
Then, I've discovered another book-related competition/show to enter that looks pretty interesting. The good news is that I've got two relevant ideas to enter -- the "bad" news is the one I think would be the best is going to require a lot of model-building to get right (it's a structure I've never built before, although I've found some brilliant instructions), and the submission deadline is the end of August.
All of this means that the last thing I need right now is something to distract me from my purpose(s) at hand. Of course, I've found one: I went fly-fishing at the end of May and, pun intended, I'm hooked.
It wasn't enough to learn how to tie flies (for last year's How to Make A Peacock Fly) -- now I'm actually going to get them wet. Who knew?
At any rate, the photo at the top of this post is from that trip: those amazing clouds were the prelude to a fabulous day (we caught-and-released a lovely rainbow trout) floating down the Bow River south of the city. Additional pictures of our adventure can be found here.
Below is a shot from our most recent Sunday afternoon stroll at a constructed wetland that was visited by the resident beaver population earlier in the day.
Obviously a tasty and tidy takedown.
Posted by Linda at 13:14
Wednesday, 27 May 2009
Original model, spirit level
As regular readers may remember, I built spirit level late last year, but was unhappy with several aspects of it.
Well, I've almost finished rebuilding it: bigger (4 inches wide when closed, instead of 3, 17 inches wide when opened) and better (several more models and half a side of leather later) than the original. I'm not sure where it's going to go (in the gallery/sale sense) quite yet, but I'll finally be done with it.
The building of the bigger version has been an adventure, and I'm so much happier with both the end product and the process.
I ended up making some reusable spacers in various widths and a nifty little corner-cutting jig to make my leather work both faster and more accurate, and splurged to buy a 60-mm Olfa rotary cutter, which has made working with leather sheer joy instead of frustrating trial.
The improvements in both speed and in quality are definitely measurable: I was able to construct the case entirely in just over an hour, including cutting the five pieces of board, laying them out and cutting the leather accurately, gluing the boards down, trimming the corners, gluing the turn-ins, and joining the side flaps to the outside portion.
When you consider that the first iteration took me the better part of two days -- most of which was taken up in lousy quality of my gelatine glue pot, along with poor measurement and cutting of materials -- that's pretty amazing.
All that's left is to print out the interior photo and text, cut the marbled endpapers, and finish the glue-up: using the finished case, I used some scrap paper to figure out sizes and plot where the folds will go, and adjust my InDesign file appropriately.
But I will take tomorrow off from books, or at least building them: I've got a greenhouse to construct, plants to repot, and a lot of time to spend doing laundry.
Canoists on the Bow River this past weekend. It was a warm day, but that water is coming straight off of this year's snowpack. Brrrrr!
Posted by Linda at 18:04
Thursday, 7 May 2009
The spring mating of snakes is a well known phenomenon in parts of Canada -- in particular, the red garter snakes of Narcisse, MB.
Imagine my surprise, when out running a few errands last Friday (a warm and sunny day), when I stumbled on the same phenomenon, albeit on a much smaller scale, in central Calgary.
Granted, I'm no herpetophile, but it's pretty fascinating.
Of course, today's weather is also spring here in Calgary -- dull grey rain. The weather office radar shows snow on the western edge of the city.
Which means it's too dark to knit without putting a light on, even in mid-morning. I've been on a socks kick lately (in my alleged spare time), but with finishing off my fourth pair within two months, I think I'll take a break for awhile. Here are the two most recent sets....
And a new blog has crossed my way: Impractical Labor in the Service of the Speculative Arts (ILSSA).
From their blog: Impractical Labor in Service of the Speculative Arts is a new organization for those who make experimental or conceptual work with obsolete technology. ...
Impractical Labor is a protest against contemporary industrial practices and values. Instead it favors independent workshop production by antiquated means and in relatively limited quantities. Economy of scale goes out the window, as does the myth that time must equal money. Impractical Labor seeks to restore the relationship between a maker and her tools; a maker and her time; a maker and what she makes. The process is the end, not the product. Impractical Labor is idealized labor: the labor of love.
Posted by Linda at 10:04
Monday, 20 April 2009
* Sheep With Attitude
You lookin' at me? You lookin' at me?
This little ewe was not keen to be my friend when I spotted her fleece right off the bat last Saturday. Every time I tried to check it out, she took off (difficult when you're penned in with your friends) or tried to drag my hand over some barbed wire.
Fortunately, I don't discourage that easily when I spot a fleece I want.
I did manage to wiggle a few fingers in to check the length of the thel (the short, soft undercoat) that is characteristic of primitive sheep breeds with double coats (particularly Icelandics) and judged it to be perfect for my use.
She's a tiny ewe for being two years old, and was so small at birth that she never even received a "real" name -- I only heard her referred to as "Spice's lamb."
On her way to being shorn, "Spice's lamb" exhibited more even more attitude by stepping on the shearer (and owner), knocking Tracy into a pile of snow and sheep poop. Even being turned over to sit on her backside didn't take the mickey out of this ovine.
But it is a small fleece: 2 lbs, 14 oz. after shearing, just over 2 lbs. flat after discarding the dirty stuff that's not fun (or appropriate) to spin.
The tog (the longer, hair-like outer coat) isn't rough or scratchy at all, unlike some I've seen, and I will likely spin this fleece with both together: it will make a fine sweater.
Between washing this up over the week, I've got a book to finish repairing for a client, another book of my own to (re)build, two different pairs of socks on the go, and a few proposals to complete and get on their way.
Back to the grindstone....
Posted by Linda at 15:16
Tuesday, 14 April 2009
For subversive knitting above and beyond the call of duty, I received these fun buttons from Mandy Moore and Leanne Prain, the authors of Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti, which will be out this fall, published by Arsenal Pulp Press.
While I got these for my first installation using a knitted cone cosy (as detailed here), I've been working hard since to expand the clothing for my growing cast of cone characters in hopes of exploring more situations for them.
If that sounds overly artsy, well, it's supposed to, although not in an excessively pretentious way: there's something to this work that I find interesting as an artist.
So I've been digging through my collection of handspun yarns, knitting cosies from the huge variety of bits I've been hoarding over the years. In some cases, I've stumbled on leftover pieces of dyed roving, huddled together like orphans, stuffed at the bottom of bags, untouched since I moved back to Calgary in 1997 -- with them, I've done the right thing and spun them out of their lonely misery.
Seeing the lot of them -- almost forty, in fact -- and having a huge bag of large Douglas fir cones I've collected, as well as some smaller, blue spruce cones that I will also "design a wardrobe" for, has started me thinking about where they might find a temporary home.
One place will be on a farm I hope to visit this weekend, with my little friends in tow, and I'm looking at developing an installation project with another artist friend: more details as they emerge.
Last week wasn't high on my list of "fun," which is why there has been a dearth of postings here lately: a position I applied for, and for which I had high hopes, didn't come through, and another project died, at least for next year, thanks to the world economic stupidity.
Both of these bits of news came within two hours, and even though I'm a "glass half-full" person, joviality was in short supply here. Even sock-knitting, the panacea of frustration and mind-overload, fell by the wayside.
Another shot of my first cone cosy installation.
Posted by Linda at 14:14
Friday, 27 March 2009
Mindless knitting can be one of the most useful things this knitter can do when her mind is spinning, the schedule overloaded, and patience is in short supply.
For me, that's usually been socks. Even though my contribution to this year's Fibre-to-Scarf wasn't exactly mentally taxing, I've been waiting to hear results back about projects, and needed something simple and soft to work on that would calm my brain.
Despite their not-exactly-subtle electric pinkness, these toe-up, short-row heel Rambouillet socks were the perfect thing to work on.
Here's a better look at one of the feet: I knit these on 4 mm needles, which gave me five stitches to the inch on the foot section (on my long narrow foot, that's 40 stitches).
After working an inch or so of plain knitting on the cuff, I switched to knit two, purl two ribbing for another inch, and then started increasing two stitches every inch on the cuff to fit my calves better.
After the last increase, I worked another inch of ribbing (now on 52 stitches) and then worked a sewn bind-off to preserve the stretchiness.
These didn't take me a week from start to finish, and after a good washing, they feel just wonderful.
Now, if the weather would only improve enough here to let me wear the Birkies....
Posted by Linda at 15:16