Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Thinking inside the box

Better make that boxes....

I hate moving

My magnetic poetry kit on the new refrigerator captures my thoughts from last week.

I'm actually pretty good about packing up the kitchen stuff, especially as we had a good collection of liquor boxes from the neighbourhood purveyor with the inside dividers left in. It's easy enough to pop in our rather large collection of glasses, haul the boxes down two flights, drag them over here, and promptly unpack them.

And, thankfully, the last load of them will be tomorrow, especially as I was finally able to look in the cabinet over the refrigerator to discover my glass chip-and-dip set and a beautiful wooden salad bowl I claimed from the last divorce.

Once they're finally emptied from kitchen duty, those boxes will be pressed into book duty. (All the fibre has been over for awhile, not that I've done much with it. Yet.)

I've got a lot of books. Still. Even after going through a huge purge of them when I left Virginia in 1997 (I'm sure the Fairfax County library system could have stocked an entire building with what we donated!), I've got a lot.

Since moving back here, there's everything I accumulated from grad school, for starters, and since I've been in the old place for nine-plus years, that's meant two changes of computer, and innumerable system and software upgrades. Heck, I finally winnowed out third-party guides for Photoshop 2.5 and a Pocket Pal that dates back to 1995.

Things have changed a bit since then....

In my currently reading pile, I've got three books, all purchased in the last six months, that I finally hauled over this afternoon: they've been sitting on the dining room table and that came over as well today. But I have been much more restrained about book purchasing in the last few years -- fibre too, to be honest -- simply because I had no storage.

Now that we're almost done moving, and I realize how much room we now have, I'm hoping to still keep the buying habit down to a manageable level, especially if I don't buy more shelving.

But as the books are the last of the hardcore moving, I'm hoping the light at the end of the tunnel isn't a train coming towards me.

Guess that means that things are looking up....

Things are looking up

Friday, 12 March 2010

Life, according to Charles Dickens


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

So, at least, begins A Tale of Two Cities, although it's a fine description of what passed for existence here in Chez Miserables when I wrote the last blog entry as well.

Although, to be perfectly accurate, it's been the reverse. Our new-home hunt was going poorly, to say the least, and my studio residency at Art Central was coming to an end, with a bleak future ahead on both fronts.

Of course, to trot out even more clich├ęs, it is always darkest before the dawn, and my previous post was sunk in the depths of despair.

OK, OK, enough suspense: yes, we've found a new home. And it is a home for a change: we are taking over part of a fourplex not far from where I grew up. Room for a studio (and a lovely, sunlit one it is), lots of storage, even a patch of soil for a herb garden: everything we need, most of what we want (no mountain view), and within our budget.

Life is now full of boxes and shuttling back and forth -- we got the key the day before I was set to move out of Art Central, so instead of toting everything back here to Moldville, we simply took it up to Paradise Acres.

And as much as I hate moving, I'm glad to be out of here, as we're now back living in a construction zone....

Time to move on, to create, and host guests, since we will now have room to do that too.

Which brings me to the picture at the top of this message. I did a fairly private project on Flickr last year where I took a photo a week and wrote something about what I had been doing and where I had been. Much to my amazement, I actually completed the whole 52 weeks.

So I started again this year, and I've made it more public. My Art This Week is a weekly picturesof what I'm working on (view the entire collection here). Sometime sublime (like my projects down in the studio) and sometimes ridiculous (like the close-up of a dishcloth for our new home, above), but never dull.

Well, they aren't to me, and I hope they aren't to you, as they are what keeps me sane.

Now that I've got a real studio, I look forward to more sublime works once I get it unpacked. Speaking of which, it's back to sorting, recycling, and getting things ready to take to shredding.

Monday, 1 March 2010

The forest or the tree?

I will wait for you in the forest -- Side A

When I submitted my original proposal for the Calgary Allied Arts Foundation st[art] residency, I identified two projects that I would do in the space.

One was Craobh/Tuinn, the large Shetland-style lace shawl I knit last year that blocked out to six feet diagonally.

The other was a then-unnamed knitted installation that I had started fiddling around with, but really didn't have much enthusiasm for or final concept of. That changed, and fast, when I was notified that I had been awarded the residency!

I started by frogging* everything I had knitted so far, which, thankfully, wasn't much, and almost entirely commercial yarns I had plucked from my stash. The overwhelming quality they shared was the colour green.

(* Frogging is the knitterly term for pulling out expanses of already-knit work. Personally, until I joined a guild when I moved back to Calgary in 1997, I had never heard the term, but the fact that it references "rip it" is fairly obvious!)

I will wait for you in the forest -- Side B

Well, I finished it last Thursday and installed the work the next day. Unlike the original concept, this one is entirely handspun, with the yarns spun while I was in residence (except the yarns for the smallest and largest squares, which was spun last July during the Tour de Fleece). The piece is approximately 1 meter wide (a bit over a yard) and 70 cm or so (27 inches) high.

While it is in three dimensions, and there is no specific "right" side, I've had to give each view of it a name for identification purposes. The top picture is A and the bottom one is B, if you need to catagorize things that way....

But the title has, to some extent, eluded me: in various messages, the press announcement sent to the local paper to publicize the work, and discussions with friends and other artists, I've referred to it as either I will wait for you in the forest and I will look for you in the forest.

So which is it? I'm still not sure. But I need to figure that out soon, as I'm including pictures of it with the next residency application that I need to send out this week.

If you'd like to see the work up-close-and-personal, you can come down to the basement of Art Central (Room 6B, in Art Loop) First Thursday, March 4, from 5 to 8 p.m. (or until we run out of wine!) and check it out.

Addendum on the new-home search: it continues. We've seen one place that was the perfect size and layout but triggered severe allergies and was in an unsecured building; a basement suite without a private entrance, a proper kitchen, or a bathtub; and an apartment that had everything we wanted except my studio. The search continues....

And this week, this blog turns three human years old -- how many is that in computer years?

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