Tuesday, June 23, 2020


So sad about our Provinces exhibition.  We finally took it down June 13th. The Library had been closed since March 15th so not many people had probably seen our exhibition.  We were asked to take it down before the Library opened up again.  I expect they needed to have bare surfaces in order to keep things as clean as possible.  Sad though.

In the meantime, during the lock down, I kept myself busy by taking part in a Zoom drawing class given by Dionne Swift, from England.  Although I have done several drawing classes prior to this, I have really enjoyed Dionne's approach.  Each week, she presents a different aspect of drawing and also gives us lots of homework, which I think is the key.  I have carried my sketchbook all over the world, and never thought I had time or opportunity to draw in it.  Now, after doing the many quick drawings, I have already started drawing in my sketchbook.  Too bad I am limited in places to go!

Contour Drawing

Landscape - from photos

Landscape in plein air


Atmospheric Perspective

Tonal Drawing

My other lockdown project was to finally finish my daughter's wedding quilt.  She was married 14 years ago so it was definitely time to get this project further along.  The material had matured long enough!  It is probably like everyone's unfinished projects.  You get stumped by things not working out as expected, you are not up to the task and need to learn more skills or just need the get up and go to work out problems as you go along, secure in the knowledge that you can do it.  It is a big project, a double wedding ring  quilt.  I have been learning and improving as I go along.  It is not finished yet, but finally the top and back are together and I am about half way through hand quilting.  It has been meditative work doing the hand stitching and has been great company for the many hours of Netflix we have endured.

I have started to have a few outdoor group get togethers recently, although I am not really comfortable yet with seeing people.  I feel that if I want to take risks, I would rather do it with my family and grandkids, who I haven't hugged in three months.  I still haven't set foot in a store and get my groceries either delivered or my kids get the odd extras for us.  Otherwise we have made good use of online shopping;  something we did pretty regularly before.  We have also done some click and collects which have been really successful.  We are learning to manage in the new normal and the Zoom get togethers and family Scatagories games have meant we are still keeping in contact with family and friends.

Here's to all the people who have been keeping us safe; the health care professionals, including members of my family who are taking care of those who fall ill; and all the unsung heros who keep doing their jobs from home, parents becoming teachers for their children, and many others doing the mundane jobs but without whom we could not survive.  In the meantime, I will keep my distance, wear my mask, keep doing things to keep my brain active and walking and doing online workouts to keep my body from disintergrating too far, and bake the odd loaf of bread;  until such time that we come out the other end of this.  Hopefully we will remembers the lessons learned and create a better more caring, clean and just world.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Provinces Exhibition

We spent this morning hanging Articulation's latest exhibition, called Provinces.  Actually, it is a portion of the body of work.  Each of the six members made two panels representing each of the 10 Provinces, 3 Territories and 1 general Canada hanging.  The Fish Creek Library, had enough space to hang three full sized pieces and one panel of the remaining pieces.  It is the first time we have hung this exhibition and we were not sure how it would hang together as the pieces were so different.  However, I really like the way it looks and Donna and I were really happy at the end of the hanging.

The middle piece is my depiction of Nova Scotia.  The piece is hung at the top from the Nova Scotia Tartan, and the colours represent the stormy seas and red soil.  There are also fish and Bay of Fundy Fossils appliqued.  The Blue Nose, which is still found on our ten-cent piece reminds us of the proud shipbuilding history of Nova Scotia.  I will have to go back and get a better picture of the piece.

A shot of the first pieces up.

My piece is depicting Ontario.  I had used a technique of laminating photographs onto organza in a Pojagi style to connect the pieces.  There is a mixture of photographs that include the Parliament buildings, maple trees, Trilliums which are the Provincial flower; as well as tulips that were a gift to the people of Canada from the Netherlands after the war.  Of course there is also a picture of Niagara falls as well.

This pieces depicts Prince Edward Island.  The colours reflect the sea and the red earth, so good for growing potatoes. The hanging pieces in front of the dyed cotton, depict the many motifs that make one think of P.E.I., lobsters, lobster pots, different shell fish and the bridge that was finally built after many years, which connects the Island to the mainland.

The exhibition is up for the month of March, so I hope lots of people are able to enjoy the exhibition and reflect on how lucky we are to live in this diverse and beautiful country, while they go about choosing their books!

Thursday, November 21, 2019


Thing to Wear Exhibition at Alberta University of the Arts, Illingworth Kerr Gallery

I spent an hour this afternoon attending the gallery tour led by Bill Morton and Jolie Bird. What an inspirational exhibition about Kimonos.  There were not only some amazing Kimonos made by both Bill and Jolie, but also some also made by students who had taken classes with Bill over the years.

Shibori, dyed with indigo

A wedding Kimono

Eco dyed

This one was paper made from abaca and blue jeans, by Barbara Sutherland

I was fortunate to have taken a class with Bill, making stencils, so I know how astoundingly detailed and difficult these ones are.  I am in awe!

 If you are in Calgary and able to see this exhibition, I absolutely thoroughly recommend it.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

SDA Conference

I spent the summer at the Contextural Residency at AU-Arts in between various trips.  I was using the wonderful facilities to do some dyeing and silk screening, trying to find my way forward with a new body of work.  Sometimes I find a new piece comes together so easily and others are like birthing a baby and take a considerable amount of time coming together.  This body of work seems to be the latter.  So I am taking my time and "filling the well".

My trip recently to St Louis, Missouri was all about filling the well.  I attended the Surface Design Association's Conference "Beyond the Surface" in conjunction with Innovations in Textile.  There was a list of 38 exhibitions to take in, which was totally overwhelming.  As well as the textile exhibitions of course, St. Louis boasts  numerous museums and galleries.  Then there is the city itself, full of lovely old buildings and great restaurants' ranging from very expensive to an inexpensive steak place where you shouted your order to the guys behind the counter.  It was where I had my first taste of sweet potato pie.  The lady behind the counter was so incredulous that I had never had it, that she kept coming by our table to check out if I liked it or not.  She seemed very please when she saw that I had polished off the lot!

I was lucky to be spending time with 5 members of Articulation, so there was always someone to go visit galleries with.  The first place I went to was the St.Louis Art Museum in Forest Park. I have never seen the work of Andy Goldsworthy, so was very pleased to see his Stone Sea located outside the Art Museum.  I also saw a lot of contemporary work and particularly liked the work of Anselm Keifer

It was boiling hot, but we walked to the Kemper Art Museum next, where there was an exhibition by Ai WeiWei.  Wow, that made a huge impression on me.  One gallery was for his work on refugees both artwork and videos, which just blew me away; so powerful.  The piece below is made completely of lego.

This is a small part of a frieze named Odyssey depicting both current refugees as well as historical refugees with visual elements from ancient Greek and Egyptian art, and Japanese wood block prints.  All emphasizing the universal nature of migration.

This was a pillar made of vases, again depicting forced migration.

The next day we went to the Contemporary Art Museum and right next door was the Pulitzer Arts Foundation. I found the Pullizer the more interesting of the two with this piece, Joe by Richard Serra outside.  I had seen a lot of his other massive pieces at the Guggenheum in Bilbao.

I also really enjoyed the work of Susan Philipsz whose work is based on sound. We sat with this view, listening to Elizabethan ballads, while in the next room she has made sound with her fingers around the rim of glasses filled with water - each individual sound on individual LPs

SDA of course had a wonderful exhibition of extremely high quality work, definitely something to aspire to.  One of my favourites of the exhibition was this felted piece, it was such a simple shape, but so elegant - something to which I aspire.

The last night we went down to the Delmar Loop where we ate lunch at the BlueBerry Hill, which was an old haunt of Chuck Berry.  The current owner has masses of pictures on the wall of himself with an eclectic mixture of musicians old and new.  We really felt we were in a place full of history.

A sculpture of Chuck Berry along with stars in the sidewalk of all the famous people who had come from St. Louis - a surprising number in fact.

Our last day we spent in the Botanical gardens where there was quite a lot of Chihouli glass, some floating in ponds, another large one hanging from a ceiling at the entrance and then this one, that I particularly liked.

With my brain completely full, exhausted and definitely over eaten - I am looking forward to a snowy winter where I can digest all of the information and see if any of it informs my own work.

Monday, April 1, 2019


Articulation Textile Group currently have an exhibition at the Portals Gallery in Duncan.  The exhibition is based on a study retreat the group organized in Tofino a couple of years ago.  Tofino happens to be my favourite place in Canada, if not on earth!  I love the wildness of it and even on a summer's day when there are lots of people around, Long Beach is so vast, people disappear into little dots in no time.


This piece is based on a quote I saw in the Maritime museum in Sidney, where they talked about the devastating effect that plastic shopping bags are having on sea creatures.  The floating plastic bags resemble jellyfish and are ingested by unsuspecting birds and mammals alike. My piece, "Jellyfish" is made with armatures from plastic straws and the rest of the jellyfish are made from single use grocery bags.  The whole thing twists in the breeze and is quite ethereal.

Waves Upon the Shore

I love to walk along Long Beach and watch the waves crashing and gently rolling in upon the sandy shore.  There is something very peaceful about watching waves, even when the weather is bad.  Something primeval I think. Then there are the various sea birds running along the shore line.  This piece is made in felt, attaching layers of felt and wet felting them in.  I added some knitted linen while felting the individual waves and then added some beads and french knots to give a bit of depth and sparkle.

Gifts from the Wrack Line

The other fun thing to do on the beach of course is to walk along the wrack line, the line where the high tide has left a line of gifts of shells and seaweed and other bric a brac to find.  I chose to represent the gifts, although I was tempted to include the awful amount of trash that can be found these days, old shoes, the ubiquitous plastic bottles etc.  Instead, I had a great time interpreting the gifts that can be found, using felt as a medium.  They ended up being like little sculptures.

I will be heading out to Duncan to attend the Artists Reception on April 13th.  The invitation is below. All are welcome!

Friday, October 12, 2018


So - finally the elephant has been birthed!  I dont know why this one was so difficult to resolve and get finished - well, I do know why, it was technically quite challenging.  

This is how it has been for quite a while.  The challenge was that I wanted to light up the picture of my grandfather as if you were seeing him deep in a tunnel of forgotten memory. I had originally wanted to have a motion sensor that would turn on the light when someone passed in front of it.  But the challenge was finding batteries that would last long enough that the people at the exhibition didn't have to change them every few days.  It is not always possible to plug things in, so I wanted to avoid the necessity of having a power outlet.

So this is how it has turned out.  There is a light switch button in the middle of the poppy on the left

Which the viewer will have to press.  Not ideal, but it should take so little power that the batteries hopefully will last the entire show.

This is the side view to show the "tunnel" idea.

Strategically placed poppies to hide the ugly joining mechanism.  However it was necessary to be able to take the whole thing apart so that it can be packed flat into an art portfolio case. The poppies hide the nuts and bolts that hold things together.

Another poppy with the press button in the centre.

Here's hoping Air Canada will treat the box very gently and it will arrive in tact in Victoria. I am excited to help hang the show monday and see it all together in one location.  Having seen bits and pieces of the rest of the group's art work - it will be very fun to see how the finished items look together. 

We will be giving artists tours during the week, so I do hope if anyone has friends likely to be in the area any time from Tuesday until the end of November, you will call in and see the exhibition.

Thursday, October 4, 2018


Articulation Textile Group, of which I am a member, have been working on our most recent body of work for exhibition.  Instead of focusing on a landscape theme, this time we each, as individuals, reflected on how war has personally affected us.  For me, I focused on my father's father.  He died when my father was only an infant, and he subsequently grew up without the love and direction of his father.He did well for himself, he was bright and got a good education and became the managing director of the company he worked for, for years. We had a good life.

When my parents died, within eight months of each other, I came across the letters my grandfather had sent my grandmother during the War, together with other memorabilia, and the letter informing my grandmother of his death. After getting on line and doing some research, I gradually learned more about this young man  who had left such a hole in his family.  My husband and I went to Belgium, to see his grave and then went to Ypres to the Flanders Field Museum.  It was a profound experience, the entire trip.  My work,has been greatly influenced by it.

Our work will be exhibited at the Sidney Museum on Vancouver Island.

This piece is called A Blanket for my Grandfather and the poppies reflect the number of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren who are direct descendants of my grandfather. It was made to lie on his grave in Spierre churchyard.  Instead of leaving it there, I instead made one felt poppy and left it on his grave. I hope it is still there.

This is A Message of Peace.  It is in Morse Code, a universal language, of a passage from the Old Testament.  Isaiah is a revered Prophet in the Christian, Jewish and Islamic tradition. This passage he wrote of Peace has been written in many different languages, Maybe translating it into Morse Code will reach even more people.

News from the Front: I found the letter informing my grandmother of my grandfather's death. This is a copy of  a huge photograph of my grandfather that hung in my grandmother's tiny living room, until the day she died.  The twenty poppies denote his age when he was killed. 

So Many Crosses is an interactive piece, where the audience is invited to add a few more stitches in the knitting to remember a loved one killed in the many wars since and including the First World War. I was involved in a project in Calgary, knitting poppies to be added to thousands of others that will be hung from the Cathedral's spire this Remembrance Day.  I was on a roll, knitting poppies when I realized they were the perfect embellishment for the stool where people can sit and knit.

I have one more piece, which has been giving me trouble finishing it off.  It is completely made apart for an illumination device which I have been fiddling with for ages.  I have to come to a decision and get this done so it is ready to take with me to the exhibition. Why is it some pieces just come out fully formed and easy to make, while others feel like birthing an elephant!