Thursday, December 5, 2013

on my drive up to gros morne at the end of october, heading to a month long craft residency in woody point, i came up with a project. i wanted to do something that i would leave in the community. i also had just been diagnosed with severe osteoporosis in my spine and i wanted to pay attention to that.
 recently i'd come across the ancient celtic tradition of the "cloutie tree". "cloutie" is the scottish word for "cloth" and cloutie trees can still be found in scotland, ireland and west coast england.  these "wishing" trees were always located beside a well or a brook. if you had a health problem, you would take a piece of cloth, dip it in the water, place it on the part of your body that was sick and then hang it on the tree.
overtime the cloth would fray and your body would heal.

i chose a tree in a meadow at the edge of town. an old plum tree. with the most magnificent view of the bay and gros morne mountain. every evening i would embroider a body part on a piece of cloth..
sometime during the next day i would walk to the tree, dip the cloth in the nearby brook, place it on my body and then hang it on the tree. i began with my own body. then my family's bodies, my friend's bodies. every day the weather was different and the feeling was different. sun and rain and wind and snow as the weeks passed - october into november.

i then began on the earth as a body. what does the earth need to make it whole and healthy? air and sun and rain .joy and laughter. compassion. friends who visited me in woody point added their own clouties.

on the last day of my residency i visited the tree at dawn and hung the last cloutie.

this past weekend i was back in woody point and in the middle of a snow storm i visited to the tree. all the cloth was wrapped in on itself. keeping warm. i'll see it again in the spring.

Monday, December 2, 2013

winter hit woody point hard this weekend. heavy snow was falling during the 2 day workshop with anna torma at the merchant warehouse building. such a different feeling from a month ago when i was teaching. the warm sunlight flooding in.  what i wanted and what i learned was how to loosen up my stitches. anna makes huge embroidered textile pieces. uses her needle and thread like a paint brush. makes bold statements with a million tiny stitches.
we kept ourselves warm with good conversation, bright colours from anna's hand dyed silk threads. and plenty of delicious food from stan and jenny all weekend long.

Friday, November 29, 2013

anna torma, from new brunswick (but internationally known) is in woody point now for the 2nd gros morne craft residency. tonight she is giving an artist talk at the merchant warehouse in woody point and this weekend she will be offering a 2 day workshop (saturday and sunday 10-4) at the merchant warehouse:
"Anna uses silk fabrics and threads to create both flat and relief pieces. She will introduce her workshop with a presentation about her practice as a fibre artist and demonstrate with pictures and fabrics how a project usually develops from inspiration to design, execution and final selection.
Using a basic vocabulary of hand stitching, the group will sew together different pieces of fabrics and found objects, playing with colours, texture and patterns, learning different ways and techniques to create an even susrface from fragments. Equally important in this workshop are the aesthetics of the final piece and meditative quality of the hand-working process. Previous experience with hand sewing and embroidery is an asset, but not necessary" (taken from the Newfoundland and Labrador Craft Council web site)
The workshop (for 2 days) is only $50.00 and lunch and many materials are included. There are still a few openings.
 anna's work is amazing. i'll be heading up early tomorrow morning to take the workshop and am super excited to have this opportunity... call molly at 1 709 453-2538 to sign up.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

since i've been back home, daily life has taken over. the day after i returned, keith's mum had a fall and hit her head and was kept in hospital for a week for observation. she's fine now, but we spent days and evenings with her to make her stay more comfortable. and the washing machine broke down and had to be replaced. so that meant lugging laundry to a friend's house before we got a new one installed
. and a big yarn order was waiting for me when i got home, so all my creative energy is going into dyeing and spinning again.
the greatest gift an artist residency gives you is time to work. when everything else is pushed to the background. when you get up each morning and all you have to do is make. and when you have unlimited, uninterrupted time, you notice more. during the first week of my residency, along the trail, behind the house, the golden larch needles looked like crazy stitching. this was the inspiration for "larch in autumn". yesterday i sent it, along with 2 other paintings to the emma butler gallery in st. john's.

Friday, November 22, 2013

I've been back in corner brook a few days now and beginning to settle back in. I've just returned from spending a month at the gros morne craft residency in  woody point in the beautiful gros morne national park here on the west coast of newfoundland. I had hoped to keep this blog going during my stay but couldn't figure out how to get my photos onto my ipad, So all my entries were on facebook.
What inspired me most, what I carried back with me, were the skies. day and night.
Where the artist's house is located, I had a 360 degree panorama. I would stand on the front deck and spin. My new paintings are all about the sky.

Friday, October 18, 2013

this sunday i'm heading off to woody point to start a month long gros morne national park craft residency. an opportunity to spend lots of time on my own work and also make connections with craftspeople in the area - with an artist talk, mentoring, a 2-day work shop and a visit to a local school. if I have internet access i'll be keeping this blog going. if not, know that i'm making and walking and recording and will come home with tonnes of inspiration to share.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

tipples pond in

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

i've been walking in around town. choosing routes that i wouldn't normally take. pretending i'm in a new place with new eyes. lovely peeling paint on some of the old buildings on brook st.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

corner brook exists because of the pulp and paper mill. the town is built around it. at  8:00 and 4:00 every day you hear the mill whistle and it grounds you in time. from 3 bear mountain (behind my house) you can look down on the mill and then out the bay. the steam funnels then tumbles and mixes with the clouds.

Monday, October 14, 2013

                                                         counting my blessings

Sunday, October 13, 2013

often this time of year, preparing for Christmas craft shows, i'm too busy to get to the cabin. we made a decision this autumn to just do it. so, every weekend for a month we've gone down saturday and back up sunday. we're learning how to enjoy the long dark evenings with the fire and lamplight. to go to bed early and get up early.

 to cook on the woodstove as much as possible.

 to watch the hills come into colour and begin to fade.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

i've lived in corner brook, newfoundland for almost 30 years (and 10 years before that just outside of corner brook).  it's a small town of about 18,000 (it was much bigger when i first moved here). it's slow and pretty sleepy. the biggest attraction here are the walking trails - and they are magnificent. but the town itself is kind of boring. i figure i know corner brook pretty well. one of my goals with all this walking is to find things i hadn't seen before and to look at what i do know differently.

Friday, October 11, 2013

i'm not the only one benefitting from these long daily walks. abigail is 11 years old. as excited as she always was when she hears the word "walk".  romps and scurries and explores. but i'm almost pulling her up the last hill to our house at the end of the walk. and she has long deep sleeps once she's home.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

such a good visit with the doctor yesterday. he's confident that my wonky thyroid is connected to my wonky osteoporosis. the latest blood tests (after being on thyroid meds for 3 months) show much more sensible numbers. so, i'm hopeful I can be fixed. and... he gave the ok to resume yoga. gentle gentle. so I've been online and worked out a routine using a chair. I have to keep reminding myself that this is all. hopefully. temporary.  

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

the corner brook stream trail. with all the wind and rain these past few days, the leaves are falling hard now...

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

well, yesterday's walk involved back and forth 4 times to the hospital. so I guess that counts. I've always been super healthy so all of this is new to me. taking medication. restricting my activity. yesterday I was injected with a nuclear substance and 2 hours later under a bone scanning machine (to see if I have any fractures that I don't know about). on days like yesterday I feel the need to detach myself from my body and just observe...

Monday, October 7, 2013

                                                         tipples pond

Sunday, October 6, 2013

one of the cabins at dark cove is falling in. layers of old linoleum being exposed to the weather.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

        broken chairs along the old highway.

Friday, October 4, 2013

                                                      wild and windy cook's lookout.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

on a walk up to three bear mountain yesterday. in the rain. watched them load and dump and crush hospital beds from the old veteran's hospital. so poignant. i've known men and women who spent their last days there...

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

                                       my new walking shoes. I want to wear these down...

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

last week i was diagnosed with severe osteoporosis in my spine. when I asked my doctor about exercise he said "at this point, all you can do is walk." i have started bone building medication (a very hard decision for me). yesterday i bought some really good hiking boots with ankle support. i will walk at least an hour a day. with my camera and sketchpad and try to turn this into something positive. the photos i'm taking now are about how I see my spine. fragile and tangled.