Sunday, November 23, 2014

Not feeling it.

Oh folks- I had good intentions of continuing with this blog- I really did- do maybe- I'm not sure yet. But for right now- I'm just not feeling it. Maybe it's the winter colds and 'flu ( I love that jaunty little apostrophe on it don't you? It makes it seem so casual and fun). We've been sick once a month at our place since N started school- and so I've been boning up on my herbal cold care- taking an online course, brewing teas, searching out books. And I love that- and also I'm darn proud to say that this last cold has been treated pretty much 100% with herbal remedies- (the exception was at 3 am on the first day- when I gave Tylenol, I just couldn't think straight. And I think they work even better than the over the counter stuff to be absolutely honest with you (Chamomile tincture in glycerin is my new Tylenol replacement- more on that later maybe, I may have a bit of an Herb crush on Chamomile right now).

Okay so I'm not sure where this leaves me- but I think I'm ditching Monday Inspirations- it's not so inspiring and then I feel like I'm skipping school or something by not doing it. I'd like to share what's happening in the studio I think- mostly sewing right now- but some clay ideas are on the verge. and possibly I'll start posting a few photos that cultivate some gratitude- cause it is that time of year. Right now I've got to go watch Christmas with the Kranks, and drink my ginger tea snuggled up on the couch with one kid on my lap, and another pressed into my side, good times, if you can look past the snotty hankie poking out from my sleeve.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Monday Inspiration: Frances Loring

Frances Loring, Inuit Mother and Child, 1938, carved 1958 (source)

Another view (source)
Frances Loring (1887-1968), was American Born, but settled in Canada early on in her career- she worked closely with (partners even?) Florence Wyle, a notable sculptor in her own right. She founded the Canadian Sculptors society in 1928 with  Emanuelle Hahn and Henri Hebert. She is well celebrated and collected in Canada, and her works are easy to see on line and in person at the national gallery and elsewhere.

I love the graceful flowing lines in her work, the feeling of lightness in such a heavy medium. She did many war memorials and public commissions too- which I will not post here as the kids are going nuts right now, trying to 'help' me type this- drinking my coffee (decaf- so it's only so bad), barking like dogs, telling me things and when I don't listen attentively enough grabbing my face between their hands and telling me again- their big eyes wide and their milk breath blowing on my face forcefully.

I sort of envy this Inuit mother with her child tucked snugly away on her back- though you can tell he's just itching to get out and make a break for it, calculating the fastest way to make his mothers hair fly out of those neat braids while she chases him. and there I suppose is the beauty of this piece in particular and Loring's work in general- they are specific people, but also they are general enough to make us relate, to represent an archetype, or an emotion and that is powerful stuff.

Monday Inspiration 2014 is all about Canadian artists. Each Monday I'll pick a new one to profile- If you can think of any that you think I ought to look up- please let me know in the comments- I'd love to hear from you. You can find a list of the artists I've done so far here. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

A Personal Photo Challenge: Trees

Well, no new photos of trees at the moment- but I saw the monthly prompt and knew at once which three photos I would choose- so I'm putting up these ones from my archives. The trees are in that slightly mangy stage here at the moment- their few hanging leaves make them look like scruffy dogs, shedding their coats. These photos however capture them at their most majestic, stark and skeletal and also lush with new growth.

The top one is my favorite tree in our yard- or two trees, sister Manitoba Maple trees- growing up together to form one magnificent canopy. So far they've been untouched by storms and I hold my breath each time the winds blow hard.  The hoar frost almost makes winter worth it. In the middle is an old scraggly maple, more as a backdrop to the lentil sprouts from last summer, and then the bottom, my big five year old when she was only 3, walking on top of the snow in march, with it's crazy tough top, and the trees ready for spring sheltering her.

These photos are not technical exceptional at all- except possibly accidentally- but I think the composition makes such a difference, I figured out while taking the ones with N that a lower horizon line makes the enormity of the trees clear. Before I figured that out I was never happy with my trees, they always looked too short, not leggy enough under their branches. I think also they're helped by having something small in them- (the lentil sprouts, and N) to help give a sense of scale.

When you're trying to make them seem big that is...

Joining in with a personal photo challenge again this month- I've been away from the blog- but I did miss it- so I'm back I think!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


Well hello there...I've been thinking of you. Things have been busy, and hectic, and I've been caught up in trying to make things cozy and just right for winter, and taking a course on reduction lino printing, and making clay stuff, and getting into the rhythm of school, and being outraged at Jian Ghomeshi, and Steven Harper, and, well, things, you know. During it all I've been wondering about this space- and it's purpose, and if I need it, or if I add anything to this excellent internet community, or just what is it all for anyhow.

I've realized lately that "what is it for?" is one of those negative mantras of mine, one of those things that crops up in my head and puts a stop to any positive creative energy. My creative center will say- "how about this?" and my serious side will say "what is it for?" and the creative center just shrinks down and shrugs, while backing away. It's not helpful, and even though I know what it's for - creative expression, joy, beauty, chronicling my experience in the hopes that it relates to someone, I still get hung up on that "what is it for?". The reality is that I create things all the time, it's part of who I am, I can't help it, and even when those things are utilitarian- I still make use of creativity to do it differently, or better, or prettier, or even, not much better or prettier- but much more complicated.

And so maybe "what is it for?" is not the best way to approach the blog- but rather- "how does it serve me?" or better yet "how does it serve those of you who actually read it?". I think that I am not a writer, I can write- passably some days- but actually it's not my strong suit, I do love taking photographs- but often I find my camera is just not there when I need it, The garden is worth documenting- but it's a bit boring probably for all of you. The Monday Inspiration posts are successful in that it really does serve me- as I get to expand my knowledge, and you- dear reader- as you find it interesting- (I presume).

So there's one aspect to keep. The photos of the kids is again tricky- because as N grows I feel that she sort of outgrows the space, and I wonder how she'll feel about it as an older kid, and A is honestly hard to capture on film, not being the camera hound that N is. But I do love documenting them this way- I love that the images are there for friends and family far away, and that people get a sense of our days here, not just annual Holiday photos. Possibly a photo journal mentality would be best then- not too much info and quicker for me. A record of our days, so maybe a weekly photo heavy post would be best there- 'this week', or 'lately', or something along those lines.

The other thing I'd love to document here is the studio work in studio season, and the garden in garden season, that's a bit tough as sometimes other things get in the way and I've got nothing new to show you- but as the kids get older I hope to get more of a routine going. I also hope to open up an online store soon, errr... maybe soon, and it might be nice to have it connected here so you could see a piece get worked through right to the end.

So that means- 'Monday Inspiration', then a 'Lately' post with photos of our week, then a weekly garden/studio post too. Okay- I think that's sorted out. If you're still reading this unspeakably boring brainstorm- thanks for being a sounding board- let me know what you think.