Monthly Archives: November 2013

Helga

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Helga she is named. Once again I’ve been dragged away from my studio all last week to fill orders that are due. This lovely little swimmer came together quite nicely and the new owner just loves her to death. I’ve two other Martelock dolls to finish before end of month. Martelock dolls are replicas of characters in my favorite Ottawa Artist’s paintings. Dan Martelock creates the most amazing characters and last year I decided to try my hand at crocheting his creatures. I did several in amigurumi size (pretty small). They were an instant hit but they are indeed time consuming. The first batch sold out in one day.

Then I created a larger version. This is one I call Fallout Gurl and I’m on my third edition of this wonderful character.

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I think I’m slowly realizing how artistic crocheting really can be. And as long as Dan keeps painting insane characters, I’m going to be drawn to recreate them in crochet. And of course we share the profits…after all..he is the Big Daddy of all these beautiful dolls lol. Thanks Dan for being such an amazing artist.

Actually, I stumbled across another of my favorite artists last weekend who may do the same collaboration with me with her characters…and that excites me! I keep saying I’m going to take a break from crochet but obviously the universe does not have that same plan for me. But I do need a break to rest my crumpling fingers soon lol. Must take care of the hands!

Interview with Shad — November 8, 2013

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Best local music scene coverage!

Ottawa Showbox

Shad

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Shadrach Kabango, better known as the Juno-winning Canadian hip-hop artist Shad, as he came through Ottawa while touring his new album Flying Colours. Here is the interview I conducted with him before his stellar show, which you can read about here.

I have been listening to the new album since it dropped and I really like it.  Where does the album title, Flying Colours, come from?

The title comes from the phrase passing with flying colours. I knew I wanted to talk about success and failure, and knew that it would be a thread throughout everything. I just like the idea that we are all doing well, in some kind of grand scheme and ultimate sense. Particularly because it comes as a surprise to everyone, we are so self-critical and to our surprise we are all doing quite…

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Fish Scale Art

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fish scales that have been dyed pink

Have you ever heard of this? Neither did I until I attended a workshop at Gallery 101 last week. I didn’t even know you could save fish scales.  I’m very impressed that someone took the time to look at the tiny , shimmering flakes and knew they could be turned into something beautiful after the fish was finished with them. And that is the basics of this art form. The workshop was taught by a Metis woman named Jaime Koebel and she explained how every part of an animal who gave their life for humans must be used to honour the animal. I absolutely agree and admire this concept. It reminds me of the time I spent cleaning, painting and using oak tree seeds to make a giant mandala which my mother still has in a frame. Everything on this living earth can be used to make art.

And this brings me to something that has been rattling around in my head for quite some time now.  Is art considered better or worth buying if there is some sort of challenge to the way you think? Does it increase in value when it sends a clear or even befuddled message to the viewer? Does a piece of art “mean more” if there is some sort of angst or struggle behind the creation of it?

I’m often asked these questions, “What is behind the painting?” Why did you paint this? What does it mean? What are you trying to say with this painting? Why do you yarn bomb? What is the purpose? Are you raising awareness for something?

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Amazing art made from fish scales from white fish scales and porcupine quills from Lac La Biche, Alberta.

 

My first reaction and answer for most of those questions is….I do this because its fun. This is my passion, this is what I love to do. I normally don’t set out to make a political statement or change the world when I pick up a paint brush or a crochet hook. I just do it.I do it because its in my soul to create and I have a vision of what the end product is supposed to be but it doesn’t always conclude like my vision. There are wonderful mistakes that happen along the way that make the process the magical part of art for me.

I find it difficult to deal with these types of questions because I don’t really have an agenda other than to have fun and create. Does that make me less of an artist? Can people not buy into art made simply for the pure purpose of creating art?

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This is what I made during the workshop just because its fun. I really loved that you dampen the fish scale on your tongue in order to make it pliable so that you can manipulate the scale into a cone or a cylinder. It felt like a salt of the earth process and the end piece can be quite stunning.

 

How do you measure yourself as an artist?

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When I was a young girl, my sister moved out of our home to go to college. I immediately begged my father to give me her room as a studio, a place to do my art. He gave me wood and stuff to make a simple desk and shelves and he gave me a Easter Lilly  to put in my studio. As I sat down to sketch the Lilly,  I WAS AN ARTIST.

I’m 50 years old and have just acquired studio space again. I’ve been painting in my tiny apartments over the years but I really did need a space to call my own. I needed a place where I could work on the many pieces that swirled around in my head. I found a space in a building that used to be a bread factory. It’s on the third floor, no elevator, and I share the entire floor with 17 other artists. As I sat down at my 1950’s dining room table that I purchased from a vintage shop, looked around and saw art everywhere, I AM AN ARTIST AGAIN!

Two weeks ago the artists of The Loft (the name given to the third floor collective of artists) hosted an open house to coincide with the artists of the first and second floors who are called The Enriched Bread Artists. I did not participate as I don’t have any new pieces and I was just getting my bearings having only been a member for a month. However, I was going to take part by touring every studio. And I did. Which made me feel a bit intimidated. Was I an artist? I mean most of these artists have had some sort of formal training and they really look like they know what they are doing. How did they get that texture? How did they make that so translucent? What is that material in the middle of that…..the questions were endless. Despite my feelings of inadequacy, I pushed through every studio and talked to every artist. One artist was working with blown out tires and I picked her brain for a paint that would adhere to rubber as I am presently working on an old gas mask. Another artist’s studio looks like the lab of a mad scientist so I just had to tell her where she could get her hands on an old embalming table. Oh yes, I do know where to find such things. Another artist had gone to the Netherlands on a grant to express her art in a performance piece. I was envious as the Netherlands is on my bucket list of destinations. I met an artist who is building a giant stuffed toy bunny rabbit. There were so many different types of art and artists and I filled my cup.

As I sat at my studio the following day, I felt dumb, unequipped, unworthy and discouraged. I’m never going to be able to live up to those standards, I’m never going to make any money with my limited skills. And then I caught myself, stopped those thoughts and looked around my studio. MY studio. Yes, I was in studio again. I have not painted in four years and yet in one month I began three different paintings and continued work on projects I had set aside for four years. I may not have an art education but I have an artist’s soul and heart. Why else would I pursue this every day of my life. Every day I must be able to create something even if its just this blog! I may not have attended classes but I’ve learned so much from my mistakes and now I am studying in an environment where mistakes are made every single day.

So my new measurement of an artist is a fun one. I work as a receptionist during the day to pay my rent, and now my studio rent too !  But, when I can walk down the street with my dreadlocks of many colors, then I will entertain the thought that I am a full-time artist who lives and breathes nothing but art.

How do you measure yourself as an artist?