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Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Heavens to Murgatroyd !

That was what I said.  I don't think I've heard that phrase since the early '70s but that's what I hollered when I saw all this!

Not now...


That is a late-night screen shot just before my phone died.  It's a book that's made my Janine Vangool, editor and creator of UPPERCASE magazine.  She is creating a series of inspirational encyclopedias.  Stitch*illo is the third book.  The first two are 'Feedsacks' and 'Botanica'.  The subtitle of this one is 'Every Stitch Tells a Story' and lookie!  I was invited in!

Not now...


... in with a group of incredible embroidery artists from around the planet!  Wow.  UPPERCASE magazine has been around as long as I've been blogging, and is entirely self-published and ads-free. You know what happens when you pull all the ads out of a magazine?  Well, there's not much content left.  Uppercase is chalk-full.

The book set is equally gorgeous.  The set is available for order (this one edition is still in pre-order phase).  They come with a few changeable dust jackets as well, loaded with colour and patterns.

And so image me with a smile ear-to-ear when all of a sudden someone shows me THIS!

okay, NOW!


HEAVENS TO MURGATROYD !  That's MY art!  Wow.

I realize I don't have much to say that's sounds remotely intelligent in this post, but my mind has been blown.  ; )  This is fabulous.  If you are on IG, you can also check out some production shots of this book at uppercase.  : )  To learn more, see the whole set, or pre-order, you can go to their website here  UPPERCASEmagazine.com

Have a great day!


Saturday, 22 April 2017

Visual Storytelling

Last year I delivered Visual Storytelling workshops to the Children's Discovery Museum here in Saskatoon. This spring I was honored to offer a similar opportunity to newcomers; specifically immigrant and refugee women.  Let me just say that I REALLY like being hired to work with groups to do art related projects.  This workshop was something I put together myself, based on the concept of paper quilts.  Using paper and fabric and scissors and glue, participants made 'quilt' blocks based on themes.  The resulting collection of finished blocks were put in poster frames.


On Day 1, with the help of translators, the theme I gave was 'what makes you strong?'  The blocks they made then became all about family, children, inner strength, and skill sets.  I was pleasantly surprised at how open the women were to jumping in and creating symbolic versions of their very personal and often painful stories.  Of course, I had needles and threads there for some extra embellishing.  It was great to see their existing talents really shine through with their creations.

This is Emily who runs the Women's Program at the Saskatoon Open Door Society

On Day 2, the topic revolved around future.  The women were asked to create pieces that spoke to the hopes and dreams they have for themselves, for their children, and for their new life here in Canada. They had so much to say.  It was important to add text to the art for people to better understand the meaning in the symbolism.  Even for myself, I wouldn't have known the stories behind the shapes. All of the stories are incredibly moving.


At the end of the week, there was a wonderful event!  There was a Women's Celebration put on by the Saskatoon Open Door Society that all the newcomers were invited to attend. There were guest speakers, performances, and a cultural fashion show too!  (A joy for me to photograph for the hosting organization with so much fabric, colour and embellishments!)

Then these brave women from my group had the opportunity to stand with their pieces in front a large hall full of women.  One by one, they went to the microphone to tell their stories.

The Women's group sharing their stories at Queen's House of Retreat


Some required the aide of translators.  Some spoke alone.  There were tears and silence and smiles and applause.  And you know... when one women starts crying - well, everyone teared up.  It was amazing for me to watch their determination in sharing what they went through and what they hope for, even if it was a painful thing to share.


I will be doing a repeat of this workshop one more time with the next group of newcomers in May so that we will have a good amount of art to fill the gallery space I've secured.  I am excited to have a public spot booked for the month of June where all of these pieces can be seen!  My goals for this project are to create a safe space in our community for these women to tell their stories because their stories are important, and in turn educate the public in the hopes of moving toward acceptance.

Thank you so much to Emily and to the Saskatoon Open Door Society, and of course, to the amazing participants.  : )

SHINE ON!

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Sketchbook Sunday #2

I've been filling sketchbooks like mad.  Lately, I've even been sketching things that don't interest me!  (!?  what ??)  Let me explain.  April is International Fake Journal Month.  The theme for this year's challenge is 'detail,' and you are encouraged to pick a character or topic that you know nothing about.  So, I picked Dr. Ilsa Schmetterling.  She is a retired biologist who still has some butterflies on her bucket list.  I'm working quite diligently on being her.  Each morning, I pick a butterfly from my reference books and I sketch it.  Folks involved in the fake journal challenge use a lot of different mediums as an effort to experiment.  I'm using a black ink pen and colouring in with pencil crayons. That's enough challenge for me!


It's been a great learning experience.  I'm learning about patterns, names, and habitats of some butterflies.  I've added the inclusion of details on each one's host plant as well.  I spend as much time cross referencing as I am sketching.


I'm learning about their life cycles and their specific characteristcs.  It's so interesting!  I'm having loads of fun with social media.  I have always been comfortable with drawing, however, I am definitely feeling the challenge with all this symmetry!  That takes some skill.  Considering that I am only half way through the month, I'm welcoming all this practice.

Here are some of my sketches that I've made so far...


There you go.  Happy Sunday!


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