Monthly Archives: May 2014

I’m not just another pretty painter you know!

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I’m also a yarnbomber (aka textile artist, aka crocheter, aka hooker) ! And this is the installation my team, The O-Town Bombers whipped up for Chinatown Remixed 2014. 

It is titled “Take it or Leave it”. A wall of flourescent generosity. People are encouraged to take something and/or leave something in the various pockets along the wall.

For me, there are many great moments of observation in human nature. Many people did not want to take anything because they didn’t have anything to leave in return. Even after being assured that they didn’t HAVE to leave something behind, many refused to take something for nothing. Then there were people who wanted to leave the entire contents of their purse and many parents who guided their children that they must find something to leave behind in the pocket before they take anything. There were also unsupervised children who came back a few times to the wall and who had to be stopped from removing everything from the pockets. They were being very sneaky about it and they had to be told to move along and leave something for other people to enjoy. There were many artists who latched onto the idea right away and many couples who giggled secretly as they peeked into the pockets. . My favorite was the young mother lugging around several children who put a condom into a pocket. Subliminal messaging perhaps?

I would like to officially thank my awesome team for coming out and whipping the panels to the fence in lightning speed and precision and for sticking around the entire Vernissage and Sunday. I would also like to thank Lisa Knight for her brilliant design and idea for this wall and for pushing through the chronic pain that she has to live with on a daily basis. You are a trooper Lisa and a great example of not letting anything stop you.

I also have to give a huge thank you to my mother and fellow Bomber who has been by my side crocheting little dolls to put in the pockets since February. You are the best hooker I’ve ever known woman!

Chinatown Remixed is an amazing adventure for all local artists in Canada’s Capital City and I’m so honoured to be part of it for the second year in a row. I love the support and dignity that is given to all artists. I am grateful for businesses throughout Chinatown that support and show off their talented neighbors. A huge thank you to the generosity of those neighbors as well in helping us support The Door Youth Centre in Chinatown by leaving donations in our fundraising box.

O-Town Bombers will continue to exhibit Take it or Leave It until June 17th but only on weekends. The unfortunate thing about public art (especially warm and fuzzy public art) is that it gets stolen. We will be setting up every Saturday and Sunday until the end of the Remix. Hope you come down and Take Something and/or Leave Something. It’s a great chance to go home with an O-Town Bomber original work of art.

 

Anne-Marie and Amanda hard at work sewing pockets on the wall.

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My amazing mother, Olga…our oldest and most prolific hooker proudly showing off her wall.

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The designer of our wall, Lisa Knight smiling as her idea becomes reality.

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If she’s not planking she’s dancing…our fun gal Amanda!

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The wind was cool but the sun was bright. The weather was actually quite cooperative all weekend! Yaaa!

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These girls were absolutely thrilled with the idea of picking pockets and not getting arrested !

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Ottawa is such a generous city !

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The wall could be seen from quite a distance.

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Our loveable goofball 🙂

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This little girl investigated every pocket. She found this little doll and put it right back in the pocket. For her, the prize was getting to look in each pocket. I finally convinced her to take the doll and then her and her father had a 10 minute photo shoot in front of the wall and the Chinatown Archway. She was the highlight of my Sunday!

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So far in 2014

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My team member wrote about our yarnbombing adventures this past long weekend. I suppose I will post some photos shortly.

the Raven quoted "craft more"

It has sadly been awhile since I have blogged or even thought about blogging. I had hit a funk. I used to craft as much as I could. Almost everyday had, however small, crafting or creating art, some expression of my soul. Then something happened, somewhere, someone, somehow I was told I was not good enough. The inner critic is an artists and crafter worst enemy, and then on top of that have an actual living being tell you that you are not good enough…..disastrous.

I have com to a point where I am telling the inner critic and any doubters to shut their pie holes cause I have had enough of their chatter. This year is when I will come out of this shell and shine once more!

What better way to start then Chinatown Remixed 2014, ‘a month long celebration of art’.

May 17, 2014 the vernissage. I…

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A non-art related observation

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WHAT IS US WITH ALL THE DAMN BEARDS?? 

It certainly seems to be the hottest rage  lately and its not just a hockey beard either. Yesterday on a 5 block walk home I counted the ratio of bearded to un-bearded men I encountered.

Bearded – 35

Clean Shaven – 7

I don’t have a thing about beards. I personally don’t like a beard on a man but to each his own, nes pas? It just strikes me as a rather fur-ocious trend as of late.

 

 

Aside

I remember when I was a little girl my favorite thing in the world to do was draw. My best friend Kathy Clarke and I used to sit for hours and draw dolls, girls, animals but mostly sweet girls,  we even made our own cut out dolls, We drew books of things! I loved to draw. I still do ! To this day I have one of those little booklets that Kathy and I drew together. I’ll use it in my art one day for sure.

When it came to career day in high school I knew exactly which direction I wanted to take. I wanted to be an artist. I had taken those tv tests, you know, the ones where you reproduce a cartoon or two and send it in for evaluation. I think I reproduced a mouse or a turtle or something along those lines.  My results were encouraging and I just knew that I was a great artist ready to take on the world. I gathered all the college info from the guidance counsellors. I made sure I had pamphlets from every school that offered art programs and I brought them home to my parents for their approval. I was on cloud nine! Now, I know parents don’t always think before they speak. I know I’ve said a lot of stupid things to my son. So when my father said to me that being an artist was extremely hard and that I would never make any money and that I should look at something more practical I was crushed. In that moment I made a whole slew of things up in my mind like I wasn’t good enough, my Father didn’t think I was good enough, he didn’t love me, he didn’t trust me, the list is probably endless but you get the point. I guess I could have been a pretty good story writer too!  I fell down off my cloud and never really got back up again until I was about 40 years old. I mean I kept doing artsy things and was always very creative in making my home beautiful but I let go completely of the idea of being an artist. Now, don’t take that to mean that I blame my father. I absolutely know that he was trying to spare me the “Road of Hard Knocks” and that he loved me and wanted what was best for me. Suffice it to say I took that road and many other rickety paths but I learned a lot along the way and I have an amazing son out of the whole “sidetrack”. 

I did the “white picket fence” deal, the divorce deal, the single mom deal. I was always taking care of somebody or something other than myself and my passions. I am not complaining, this is just how it went. But, once my son left home for school I let it rip! I bought canvas, easel, paint and sketch pads, charcoal, and anything any artist could ever need or want! My pent-up mind exploded all over the place. I haven’t looked back since. I saw art in every minute of my life and I am so happy to have found my one true love again.

For the past two years I’ve been participating in a local all-nighter art festival called Nuit Blanche Ottawa+Gatineau. The first Nuit Blanche was created by Jean Blaise in 1984 in Nantes, France. Other countries quickly followed in offering an all-night summer art festival in the heart of their respective cities. And now, in 2012, Ottawa, Canada finally launched theirs. I was part of that inaugural night! I covered a bus in crocheted grannie squares. Over 500 squares were hooked by me and my team, the O-Town Bombers.

I was absolutely floored, flabbergasted, agape, you name it…I was it…when my Father and Step-Mother pulled up to my installation site to help me cover that bus. It was my Father’s birthday and they drove 12 hours to be part of my art. I tell you, I’ve never felt more loved, touched, supported and recognized as I did the minute I saw my dad’s face. I think it might be a moment of validation but more so, it was a moment of absolute love from my Father. Something I’ve craved my entire life and I am so glad I got it before one of us left this world. And my Step Mom….she had a blast climbing on top of that bus and covering the roof for hours. What a pure demonstration of support and understanding! My own 71 year old mother is a huge part of the team as well! I felt love in the most extreme form that day. My Father’s presence, fueled my confidence and pride as an artist. I will never forget this day.

My Father and Step Mom return to Ottawa each year for Nuit Blanche and this year I’m going to work extra hard to bring them through the city to enjoy the sights and sounds.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better though, my Father has gone a step further in supporting my dreams. He’s built me my own giant easel out of 200 year old birch wood felled in myhome town, Matheson, Ontario. I mean, I just may bowl over from so much love and support ! And I can hardly wait to get that easel into my studio!

A Father’s love is a mighty powerful incentive in life and my Dad has shown me that no matter how old you are, you’ll always feel like a princess when your Dad’s around. I love ya Pops and thank you so much for everything you have ever done for me.

This is my Step Mom Patti posing with the easel my Father built for me.

 

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