Thursday, 22 November 2007


Snowman Army
The amount of holiday chocolate that's come through the doors of the chocolate shop I work at part-time is amazing: there are hundreds of Santas, trees, dreidels, and, indeed, snowmen stashed in the back room.

Spent three days in Vancouver, visiting type designer and letterpress guru Jim Rimmer's studio and having dinner with friends. Also took loads of pictures at the Capilano Salmon Hatchery for an upcoming book I'm knitting and writing, attended the Alcuin Society's Wayzgoose, and checked out Fibre Essence gallery with the amazing work of thr3fold.

It was the first time I had been back in Vancouver since my mother died there last year, and it felt strange to wander around with no specific parental-related errands or duties to do in far too many years.

Perhaps the best part of the trip was being able to have a few hours of my own Landscape as Muse time in Stanley Park (the Seawall, which had been closed after severe damage in storms a year ago, reopened on Friday), wandering the shoreline and parts of the rainforest, inhaling the fresh air, and revisiting some of the places I used to frequent both as a child and when I lived in the West End in the late 1970s.

While I came back physically tired, I returned with a renewed sense of purpose, charged up with additional ideas to combine with projects already in planning, and a desperate need to cook food in my own kitchen.

Monday, 12 November 2007

The Experimental Process


When I was in Victoria last March (for the Pacific Festival of the Book), I picked up a monoprint kit (with frosted mylar "plates," a range of papers, and instructions) from Alesha Davies Fowlie: it's taken me until this past weekend to actually play around with it.

Given I want to incorporate monotypes in My Past Life, I figured I had better start learning.

Between Alesha's notes, some Google searches, and the wonderful book Monotype: Mediums and Methods for Painterly Printmaking by Julia Ayres, I managed to create five small prints, using both watercolour paints and pencils.

Both dishwashing soap and gum arabic were used to assist in getting the colour off the frosted mylar and onto the soaked and blotted paper, and several different papers (including some old watercolour pads I had in my collection): I thought I'd play around a bit to see what worked best for me.

Of the five prints I created, I got two that I'm rather pleased with: the one at the top of this entry riffs off a photograph I took at last month's FlickrMeet.

I used gum arabic as the release agent here, and my watercolour tray. In the past, I've used solid watercolours (I've got an old Grumbacher set), but I can see where ones in a tube would be better suited for monotypes.

The second one I quite like is a sketch using watercolour pencils, dry, on detergent-coated mylar: I used the opportunity to create a study for one of the pieces I plan on knitting as part of My Past Life.

Monday, 5 November 2007

George Blooms!

George in bloom
Wasn't quite expecting it so soon, but was very pleasantly surprised when I discovered an open blossom on George last Thursday. When you consider his stick isn't two inches (5 cm) wide, and the flower is bigger than 1/2 inch (1 cm), it's really pretty neat.

Strange thing though: all the material I've read on Leptotes unicolor said that it would be some shade of mauve or purple, and this flower was white.

All I had to do was wait, as this is what he looked like this morning.
Changing colours
Isn't nature wonderful?

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