Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Practice and Process

What May showers bring #2

In the art world, practice is "what you do" and process is "the examination of the impetus of how to do it." When I had my solo show down at EPCOR Centre two years ago, it was "process-driven" for example.

But they have somewhat different meanings as well, in and out of the art world: practice is usually "how you get -- or stay -- good" and process is more simply "how to do it." I've been working a lot on both lately.

I completed spinning the fluff I started at Fibre Arts Day out at Fish Creek Park Library on March 2: it was the first real skein of yarn I had spun on my wheel in nearly two years, and my spinning muscles were pretty creaky for the first couple of bobbins of singles. It's not exactly attractive yarn to my eyes, which is why there isn't a picture of it, although the non-spinners who have looked at it think it's just fine.

What May showers bring #5

Didn't help that the fibre I was spinning was old (from 1996, I think), given to me when I was still a relative beginner, and was a mixture (70/30, I seem to recall: there was nothing on the bag) of wool and cotton. I tried preparing it a few different ways to see if I could find a way to make a more attractive singles, and ended up splitting the thick roving into narrower and narrower strips to minimize the amount of drafting needed to get the size I wanted.

Doing that helped speed up the process as well: I really wanted to like this yarn, as the mix of wool and cotton held some wonderful potential for dyeing after, for a lot of complex reasons dealing with how protein fibres like wool, take up dyes differently than cotton and other cellulose fibres, but it never really became something I would ever want to keep around.

What May showers bring #6

Some fibres are like that: they don't tell you what they want to be and so you have to keep improvising to see what works. If "insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results," then I was being pretty savvy in finding different ways to make the fibre do something: too bad that doesn't necessarily work with people.

(And I never thought I'd ever find a use for this song, but right now, it's about dead on....)

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Pushing the envelope

May 2013 Pilgrimage #1

One of the hardest things I've been trying to do in the last while has been to revisit emotional triggers that have sent me off into hysterics in the last two-plus years of solitude.

May 2013 Pilgrimage #5

At some level, I've been doing better: I can now walk through our old neighbourhoods -- even past our old homes -- without losing it, and I've even watched our favourite movies and not sobbed from beginning to end. But there are still a few challenges.

May 2013 Pilgrimage #6

Last week, I undertook another one: visiting the engraved plaque and memorial forest that came bundled with the cremation. The last time I remember being there was September 2011, with my mother- and sister-in-law, and I felt more than vaguely guilty about not having been back sooner.

And it is such a beautiful place: one of our favourite escapes from the city where we took visitors for a quick introduction to the wilderness on our doorstep, to seek a quiet place for a picnic, or simply to be together.

May 2013 Pilgrimage #9

The engraving was well-washed with my tears on arrival and departure, my hike up the trail was an abbreviated one, and I've been weepier since, but all-in-all, it wasn't as horribly wrenching as I thought it would be.

On the way back to the city, I started thinking about some of the recent work I've been doing in the studio, the new projects I've been messing around with, and how my perception (both of me and those around me) changes every time I bump into one of those previous boundaries.

But in some ways, I've just been nibbling at the edges of the tough items: there are two that sit on the horizon that still scare the heck out of me. I know that seeing the other side of them needs to be done sooner or later, but taking the kamikaze approach isn't my style.


Sadly, the "video" below is only a series of stills of CANO, but such a great tune: it's from the first album we listened to together.

Friday, 10 May 2013



Ah yes, Calgary: land of the instant season change. What had been snow-covered a week before was starting to green up last Sunday.

In some respects, the photo above reminds me a lot of my life lately, with several different paths running parallel to each other, then converging from time to time. For some reason, I seem to have fingers in a lot of pies lately: not sure why or how, but it makes for some strange days.

Slalom course

Whoever designed where the centre line should run on this stretch of pathway obviously did it on a computer with only the pathway marked, not the light standard or the barriers. But why didn't the crew who painted it do something about it when they discovered that one lane essentially doesn't exist in a rideable form?

Come to me, little mousies

Another in an ongoing series of photographs I've been shooting lately, looking at the intersection between the natural world and the constructed one.


Goldeneye drake showing off: his mate is just out of the frame to the left. Seeing these return to mate here in the middle of the city is just amazing.

Abandon hope

The constructed wetland that was the destination of this photowalk, which was spread out over two days when my batteries died and I didn't have a spare charged set with me, is home to a range of residents, including several red-winged blackbird males. This was as close as one would let me get, and his call to prospective mates is a loud one.

Books for Sale

The shop is currently empty.