Tuesday, 28 October 2008



We both worked Election Day here two weeks ago -- me as Central Poll Supervisor, Dennis as one of my Deputy Returning Officers -- and decided that with the proceeds of that very long (0615-2230) day, we would treat ourselves to a quiet weekend in Banff.

The weather was fine when we set out Saturday morning, turned nasty as we entered the mountains, and cleared up during the afternoon: the photo above, taken at Lake Minnewanka, was shot just before noon, when we had low clouds, flurries, strong winds, and occasional peeks of sun.

By the time we had driven the loop, stopping to take pictures and do a little wandering around, and checked into our hotel, the day had improved a great deal.

After the storm

A lovely dinner at Ticino with a bottle of our favourite Grey Monk Rotberger (the perfect complement to my chicken with chevre and Dennis's duck), and a stroll back to the hotel capped off a lovely day.

Sunday, we took the Bow River Parkway (below) to Lake Louise, then the TransCanada Highway back to Calgary.


Nice. Peaceful.

The weekend was especially appreciated, as the rest of the week after the election, I worked in Artist Liaison for WordFest again this year, and had a great time. Not all of the writers came into the room on my shift (or were particularly chatty!), but I was pleased to be able to talk at some length with Coral Bracho, Brian Brennan, Cecil Castellucci, Sylvie Desrosiers, Leif Enger, Sheree Fitch, Ken Harvey, C.C. Humphreys, Ikwunga, Martine Latulippe, Randall Maggs, Miles Merrill, William Neil Scott, Paul Quarrington, and Nino Ricci,

And like last year, I ended up spending a great deal of time with one author in particular: this time, it was the wonderful children's author and illustrator Geoffroy de Pennart of Paris. As the only member of the Artist Liaison team who spoke French, I was detailed to accompany him out to Okotoks for a reading at the French immersion school. He was a perfect gentleman, terrific with the kids, and draws the most amazing creatures. I'm thrilled to have a copy of his Igor et les trois petits cochons on my bookshelf.

While recuperating from all this activity last week, I got more work done on My Past Life: check out my progress here. Now that the dowels are completely dry, I'll be attaching the elbows (one elbow at one end of each dowel) with epoxy: that way I can set up and take down the piece easily, but not have to worry about losing the elbows.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Plus ça change....

Au clair du lune in the afternoon

A Flickrmeet on Saturday out to Kananaskis Country provided the most abundant proof why I love living here: in the space of six hours, we had every season imaginable.

It started out dull, then rained and began to sleet even before we had left the city limits. Forty-five minutes and a blinding blizzard later, we turned off the Trans-Canada Highway, saw a snowplow heading north on the road we were heading south on, and discussed our options (the primary one of which was turning back).

Not a good climbing day

After a stop at the information centre, we discovered that we had lost one vehicle in our caravan, but decided to press on. Within ten minutes of being back on the road, we saw a glimmer of sun and a patch of blue sky -- twenty minutes after that, it was mostly sunny.


But by the time we were at Highwood Pass, the wind was howling again and there was lots of snow on the ground, and we were glad to press on further south.

Guardian of the Larch Forest

Dropping down from the pass, the snow quickly disappeared, and by the time we had turned onto Highway 541 to head to Longview, it was positively warm, the sky was that unmistakable Alberta blue, and the colours of the changing foliage bright and comforting.

Native grasses

Our Canadian election last week didn't solve anything -- the Regressive Conservative party is still in charge, thankfully with a minority, but because of the split of the left (however one defines that!), will rule as if they have a majority. Our elections aren't cheap to run (I certainly did well, working in Special Ballot in the four weeks before, and being a Central Poll Supervisor on election day), and I don't see another one happening for sometime.

Which makes life tough for us artists. As creatively bankrupt as the politicians are, I'm not, and there are some interesting things I'm looking at participating in.

But for the next while, I've got a long list of things to catch-up on (right after the election, I volunteered at Wordfest, about which I will write more in my next entry), a lost ball of yarn to track down, and some applications to finish.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

A light at the end of the tunnel

A light at the end of the tunnel

It's officially Indian Summer here -- can one still say that without being labelled Politically Incorrect? -- we set a new record temperature yesterday by making it up to 27.2° Celsius. That broke the old one, from 1913 no less, by half a degree Celsius (almost a full degree Fahrenheit).

Lots of things happening here on the bookbinding front: the two Canadian Bookbinder and Book Artists Guild (CBBAG) shows I'm in out in Central Canada -- one in Toronto, the other in Montreal -- opened last weekend. Details are in the right-hand column as to locations and dates.

What I Felt will appear at the CBBAG Book Fair, to be held in conjunction with the Guild of Bookworkers (GBW) Standards Conference in Toronto on Saturday, October 18, and, with luck, How to Make a Peacock Fly will travel down from Montréal to join it.

So for the first time in my artistic career, I've got three books out on display and that's a tribute to how I've managed to increase my output of finished works lately -- only The Zebra Book was around at this time last year. With luck, I'll have Spirit Level, My Past Life, and my entry for the GBW Marking Time exhibition done by the end of the year -- the latter two have March deadlines and I've got gelatine soaking away so I can glue up the former today.

(Plus I've got an entry to finish that will be going into Knitter's magazine's Think Outside The Sox and they are due January 1: it's a busy creative time here.)

The last thing I needed last Sunday was to go to see Martha Cole talk about her experiments with making paste cloth because I can now think of all sorts of projects I could do with that knowledge. While watching her talk about her process and see some of the wonderful work she's created, part of me kept wanting to clap my hands over my ears, go lalalalalalala and run out of the room.

Having signed up to Spoonflower, where they will print up fabric from your computer-generated files, and seeing Martha's work, I can see lots of ideas to work on in the future.

But for the next day or so, I'm going to enjoy the sun, the colours, and the smell of burgers on our barbeque.....

Blue + Yellow = Green

Books for Sale

The shop is currently empty.