Inspired by our January felting & looming workshop at Leola’s Studio, Renaissance Woman Sheila challenged the rest of us to commit to creating art every day for a month.
We thought it was a great idea, and each signed up for a few days in February. (Not coincidentally, the shortest month of the year …)
As a result, 28 pieces of art were created by our collective of members. On March 2 we came together at Teafarm to celebrate Art Month and “show and tell” our work.
Here are our creations:
Love is in the Air, by Sheila Ie:
A homemade-from-scratch Thai dinner, by Cindy J:
A springtime necklace, by Patti Talbot:
Some subversive cross stitch, by me:
A soother clip, made by Kim K:
Daffodils by Kim K — one of our photographers:
“Morning Cupcake, Any Way I like It,” by Sheila Ie:
Tessa says: “I gave myself a one hour time limit and the task of creating a thank-you card for a friend.”
Brenda says: “I like to create small spaces for special things in my home and office. This is my Wild Woman corner that I have had in every office for a decade – my ‘wild woman’ does not like sitting in front of a computer all day, so I give her things to play with while I am working. I just made this one yesterday in my new office – I change it up from time to time just to keep things fun.”
Maeve says: Acrylic on canvas paper. First time painting with something other than children’s washable paints. I call it “What my heart looks like on the inside when I watch my daughters dance an Irish jig in their pyjamas.”
Cindy J’s art: “It is wet felted and finished with needle felting. My inspiration was drawn from the amazing new energy and growth being brought forth by spring, so appropriately titled Spiralling Energy.”
My 2nd art day! I gave myself an art moment by attending one of the Writers on Campus poetry readings. It was WONDERFUL to hear poetry in Duncan. Here are some of my favourite lines from Patrick Friesen tonight:
“I felt like I was walking over a plowed field.”
“You come home with stones from the beach and then you wonder why you bothered.”
” . . . naked in your green dress . . .”
“I don’t like long cars. They hold a human like a tiny seed.”
Also, the word “anaphora.”
Preschooler Valentines by Sheila Ie, made with construction paper, tissue, glue:
Patti says: Meet “Florencia,” my beautiful piece of turquoise seaglass found at Florencia Beach, Tofino. I made a lovely cage for her out of copper.
“Tofino Dream Catcher,” by Patti:
To the mountains! we declared.
A roaring midnight fever
silenced our call.
This rare February day
so bathed in sunshine,
now spent indoors
snuggled on a couch
with books tottering
piled high on blanket folds.
We took council by the fire
with chicken soup
and stories of camping
years past and those to come.
And tonight I sit in gratitude
for tottering books
and this messy life
with her gifts
of unexpected pauses
and so full of fevered blessings.
Maeve playing “Chariots of Fire” on the piano with video footage of her amazing daughters:
For my 3rd art day I experimented with hand-quilting designs, using some drawn designs and some freehand. I usually just stitch the seams of my quilts (straight lines), but after seeing Angie’s designs on one of her quilts I was inspired to try this. This quilt has been my “play” quilt — I used it to learn how to hand-stitch curved pieces.
Front of quilt (look carefully to see the yellow thread …):
Katie made fridge magnets featuring Bruce Springsteen. She says: “The picture of him in the toque is from 1975, the year Born to Run came out.”
Angie says this about her quilt: “I’ve been working on it since November, with a fabric line called Botany. It’s my first full quilt, and a whole lot more work than I had anticipated (I thought it would be done for Christmas, which is so comical they could make a movie about it). I used a shot glass for the circle patterns, a ruler for the lines and a leaf template for the, well, the leaves Today, to make sure I was doing something arty and specific to to our goal of trying something new, I changed up my pattern for the edge (gasp!), which I was going to leave plain, and did some crazy freestyle.”
“When the dog bites, when the bee stings,” by Heather K. (mixed media collage)
Sheila Z. calls this ”The Art of Thrifting.” She says: “a roll of salvaged vintage upholstery webbing, a thrifted hanger, and a creation to chart your little bundle of love’s growth.”
Pressed flowers from last summer made into tiny fairy cards made Linda D:
Heather K says: “This is what happens when the dog wakes the baby from his nap, the one you were counting on to make some art! This was co-created by myself and daughter Sami after a family hike down to the water where we found the driftwood. It’s called “fairy seahorse”. Her vision; I merely followed instructions.”
Cindy J says:
Yoga! I feel an hour and a half practice is most definitely an artistic expression. And since I cannot share this visually with you (thank goodness), here are some of my feelings, emotional and physical, during yesterday’s art of the practice of yoga:
holy moly I can’t hold this any longer
Namaste, my Renaissance sisters.
When one of our members was unable to art it up, Sheila Z. came to rescue with this snazzy magazine holder. She made it using burlap from the same roll she turned into her February 22 art, plus a thrift shop-ed frame (shown on the top left). Final product is on the right!
“Jewelry Graveyard Resurrection,” by Tessa.
She says: “My art tonight was taking a few broken necklaces, and mending and mixing them together to make a new one! Many of my ‘art’ projects are often more creative repair projects.”
“Quick trip on a Rocket Ship,” by Sheila Ie (Oil Pastel, Chalk Pastel, Black Ink Pen, Illustration Marker, Paper 2013)
To share in the adventure and cheer on our members, please join our Renaissance Women Facebook group!Continue Reading »
I grew up in a small town with a spectacular thrift store. It was run by the local Hospital Ladies Auxiliary, and I vaguely remember lining up with a crowd of shoppers in the entrance-way of the pharmacy in anticipation of their weekly opening. A little old lady would open the door, hug the wall, and we’d race down the stairs to the thrift shop in the basement.
T-shirts went for 25 cents. Pants for a dollar. My hometown was rife with hippies-turned-yuppies and there were wonderful clothes on those shelves: threadbare shirts with fun slogans from all across North America, polyester and velour pants. My three favourite shirts had a logo from the Slack Alice, the words “World’s Greatest Dad,” and an ice cream cone with the slogan “Lick it. You’ll like it.” (I’ve always been a shit-disturber.)
Once I left home for the University of Victoria, my love affair with thrift stores ended. I browsed Value Village but couldn’t handle the prices. Twenty dollars for a used shirt? Seriously? So I wore my high school thrift shop finds until they wore out, then stuck to the malls.
But this Christmas I had a reawakening.
We had an End of the Year party with friends. Our host and hostess have an actual style to their home decor, as opposed to the cluttered functionality of Brock and my possessions. Sheila gave us a tour of their living room and told us the stories of their knickknacks. The vintage bar cart that they longed for, and finally found at an antiques place in Chemainus. The 1960s cocktail glasses for which Sheila hunted, for months, until she found the right ones to match her husband’s Madmen aesthetic.
We were awed by the treasures Sheila had collected: by the stories of how and where and why Sheila had rescued them. We wanted in.
So earlier this week Sheila took me and our friend Angie thrifting. We started with an antique store, to help us get an eye for the different eras and what was considered a “find.” We saw a lot of kitchenware that looked like corn cobs. Apparently ducks are a cultural meme.
Then Sheila let us loose on some thrift stores, and we practiced seeing diamonds in the rough.
I didn’t bother with t-shirts this time, but did score some plant pots — a very functional investment for our farm. Sheila lured me into seeing the beauty of a vase. (Which I bought because it will serve our farm stand well, should we decide to sell cut flowers. Practicality is a hard habit to break.)
Angie scored a beautiful old dish set that, according to Google, looks like it could be worth ten times its thrift store price.
And Sheila found a story in two gold-teardrop lamps, their beauty masked by mismatched lamp shades. She will undoubtedly restore these finds to their original beauty, or paint them and make them even better.
In this age of consumerism and throw-away materialism, there is something satisfying about rubbing the dust off something in a pile and finding gold.
I overheard two men in the Chemainus thrift store talking about things they’d donated to the store while browsing. Thrift stores create a cycle — instead of objects having a beginning and an end (usually in a landfill), they are reborn into new homes again and again. Having furniture and dishes and lamps and t-shirts with a story behind them make them more than just possessions. They become something to write about.Continue Reading »
I write a column for The Winnipeg Review, an online literary magazine. My fifth column was published November 22, 2012 and is online here.
My partner Brock, a full-time vegetable farmer, spends his work day lifting heavy tubs of carrots, yanking out overgrown weeds and balancing precariously on ladders to build greenhouses.
Surprisingly, I was the one injured this summer.Continue Reading »
Re-Skilling in a Virtual Reality …
I’ve never been a gamer. Aside from Mahjong Solitaire and the occasional click through Minesweeper I’ve never been tempted. Perhaps it’s because I already spend the majority of my day staring down a computer screen, so when I earn a free evening or weekend I prefer to debate philosophy with my sweetie (e.g. “is there objective truth?”) or sip a crantini while reading Can-lit.
A casual conversation with my friend Kate introduced me to Glitch.com, a multi-player virtual world created by Tiny Speck where players “learn” skills that allow them to interact in progressively more interesting ways with the pigs, trees, barnacles, fireflies, etc. that populate the game. (Note: I’m justifying this blog post with the “skills” bit.)
An innocent foray into this alternate universe one evening led to Glitch becoming my new favourite past-time. (Along with Twin Peaks, courtesy of Netflix.) Within a week I’d logged 11 hours as a glitchling and found a new passion: bootlegging, courtesy of a virtual still and backyard patch of potatoes and corn. Now, three weeks later, I’m at level 19 and am mastering Teleportation III, which will make it even easier to move from my homestead in Groddle Forest to the Community Herb Gardens and the caverns of Ilmenski Deeps where I can collect the guano I need to make Raw Bio-Organic Carob-ish Treats.
Here’s why I think I have fallen in love with a computer game:
- Intellectually stimulating down-time.
- Community & Eco-ness.
- No pixels wasted on cleavage or muscles.
Intellectually stimulating down-time
Glitch offers interactive escape. Unlike TV, which is passive, Glitch requires that you interact with its virtual world (at your own pace and schedule). Every time I play, I do something new. I’ve gone on a vision quest, hunted down eight ghosts, attended a farmers’ market and crashed a party for miners. (I’ve also re-learned a whole lotta polysyllabic words that I haven’t heard since UVic. Glitch is a logophile’s dream.)
As you explore the world of Ur, learn more skills, finish more quests, and interact with its various inhabitants, you earn “experience points.” So true to life. So true.
Because of little touches like that, I often get the feeling that there’s some intellectual in the backroom, giggling. Why else do I have to stomp grapes to redeem myself when I “die” in the game? What’s up with that? Glitch’s founder, Stewart Butterfield, has a Master in Philosophy from Cambridge. I can smell his brain when I walk the desert streets of Xalanga and am almost overwhelmed with Ancestral Nostalgia.
One last point under this bold heading … I have yet to find a typo in Glitch.
Community & Eco-ness
Yes, I said it: there’s a farmers’ market in Glitch. It’s organized by an everyday glitching, not Tiny Speck’s programmers. There’s also a grassroots-founded community kitchen and a welcome wagon. Community gardens and communal Machine Rooms are part of the landscape.
Another cool community-building strategy: the quests in Glitch encourage and reward cooperation. You can give gifts and “bestow random kindness” on your fellow players. And if you’re a newcomer to the game, watch out: you will be inundated with presents from the veterans.
The Glitch “community” extends to its flora and fauna: trees must be “pet” and watered to stay alive. A “save the wood trees” (this is not redundant in Glitch) movement began because some plank-greedy players were clear-cutting.
There is a bizarre, logical-if-you-don’t-think-too-much interconnectedness in this virtual world. For example: to make cheese you first massage a butterfly, then milk it, then shake the milk and compress the resulting butter. Note that you have to massage a butterfly first: you must give before you can receive. You can also get meat from pigs without having to kill them, as long as you pet them nicely first.
Most computer and video games I’ve seen feature practically bare-breasted women with DD-cups, and men whom I doubt read novels. Why would I want to play a game like that, where I get points for killing people? As you’ll note from my portrait above, glitchlings look more like kids playing dress-up. And there are some very cool clothes to dress up in.
Come to think of it, Glitch is a lot like the golden days of kindergarten. You can dress up, explore amazing new worlds, make friends, and do pretty much anything you can imagine, from teleporting to making potions to starting a business. You can also bootleg hootch and mix martinis … it’s no wonder I’m hooked.