Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I'm so inspired!

I just returned from an inspiring collage workshop given by Nick Bantock at his gallery, The Forgetting Room, in Ganges, BC on Salt Spring Island.   An added bonus for the workshop participants was the opportunity to view a large selection of Nick's artwork as he was in the midst of selecting and arranging work for a show at The Denver Museum of Outdoor Arts starting in September 2010.

(My completed collage - Fish and a Bicycle)




This workshop was unlike any other art workshop I have taken part in.  It was more about the process of making art than the mechanics of painting and collage, although we did work on a variety of collage pieces.  Nick addressed specific questions about technique as they came up but the greatest value to me in this workshop was in the group discussions and the individual assessments of our pieces.  Nick's training as a psychotherapist was evident in his critiques which were as much about each of us as artists as they were about the art itself.  "Acknowledge all of who you are and your art will reflect that."

I tend to overthink when I'm faced with a blank page or canvas and that keeps me from getting started.  Nick's answer to that was, "Engage the process before engaging your brain."  Once I started just tearing and gluing down pieces of paper that I was attracted to, my collage took on a life of its own and ideas began to emerge.  This is the piece that I finished and, while it's different from anything I might have conceived normally, I kind of like it.

Nick also advised, "Don't try to control it; explore it," which was a challenge for me, but by deliberately starting without a clear idea of where I was going, I was free to go anywhere.  What I like about this piece has little to do with whether or not it has any artistic merit.  What I like is that I sat on my internal critic's head to give the piece a chance to see the light of day.  And I had fun with it. 


So I'm refreshed and inspired and looking forward to making art.  And I'm going to do my best to follow this piece of advice from Nick Bantock, "Make sure that what you do is feeding you and not draining you."


Side note:  Salt Spring Island was lush and green and flowers were blooming.  I came home to this.  The wind had pushed the breaking ice on the lake into a huge mountain, about 15 ft high, on my beach.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thinking Spring!



The ground is still covered in snow but I'm thinking spring.  The days are getting longer and the sun is glowing warmer.  I especially love that I wake up naturally in the morning, to the light.  But this weekend it's time to 'spring ahead' to Daylight Savings Time and I'll need the jangle of the alarm clock to wake me up again.

While winter is a great time for collecting moose poo, the warmer weather means the sap will be running and it's time to gather the woody bast fibres like willow, red osier dogwood and alder barks for my papers.  Each season brings new treasures for my craft and they're free!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Moose Poo Paper is USDA Approved!

















Moose Poo Card in my Etsy Shop.

Even though I knew my moose poo paper was free of impurities, I didn't want to run into any problems selling to buyers in the U.S.  So, I contacted U.S. Customs who in turn contacted the USDA who confirmed that there are no restrictions on this paper.


And here's a funny aside. The agent who responded to my query said, "I once made a moose nugget tie for my brother..."

Monday, March 8, 2010

An Interview with Huckleberry Bumpkin



Thank you to Huckleberry Bumpkin for featuring me on her blog! 



It's always an honour to be recognized by another artist.