10 years since “Olivia Saves the Circus” stop motion animation project at Keith Lynn!

Dolls and stuffed animals make me happy. Very happy. They always have. Some of my faves are hand-sewn little pig characters… but I will get to that.

I am 58 years old and I still have dolls, still rescue dolls, make dolls. love dolls, receive dolls.


I still have the first one (“Lisa”) I received from my parents in the early 60’s:

I also collect sock monkeys and crafts made by me and those made (and given to me) by my past students (of all ages) and friends:

I just dusted, aired out and re-organized my giant collection of old dolls and stuffed animals… Including a treasured basket of props from 2009-2010 school year at a school I worked at in North Vancouver:

I just realized it has been 10 years since that very special  stop motion animation project at Keith Lynn Alternative Secondary School!

During the 2009-2011 school years, I had the pleasure of co-facilitating (along with my colleague, Ian Powell) an animation course at Keith Lynn Alternative Secondary School.

In 2009-2010, the students recreated (with incredible ingenuity) the story of OLIVIA SAVES THE CIRCUS by Ian Falconer:

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A few years later, I rescued the collection of props from the project that were mixed in with items to throw out when the school had moved locations to become Mountainside Secondary.

Much love to past Keith Lynn students and staff and to all my present colleagues at Mountainside. Thank you for enriching my life!

Dear Richard: corresponding with Richard Selzer, M.D.

I was going through some old journals two days ago and in the one dated June 2, 2002, I came across printouts of a very special email correspondence.

Background:

In the mid 90’s, I was told about a bookstore in Seattle by my dear friend, Patti.

My (then)partner and I went down to Seattle a while later and when visiting the shop, my partner found a lovely little book:

Mortal Lessons by Richard Selzer, MD:

In this collection of nineteen unforgettable essays, Dr. Selzer describes unsparingly the surgeon’s art. Both moving and perversely funny, Mortal Lessons is an established classic that considers not only the workings and misworkings of the human body but also the meaning of life and death. [source]

 

I loved this book. Read it many times.

One particular passage made me weep:

I stand by the bed where a young woman lies, her face postoperative, her mouth twisted in palsy, clownish. A tiny twig of the facial nerve, the one to the muscles of her mouth has been severed. She will be thus from now on. The surgeon had followed with religious fervor the curve of her flesh; I promise you that. Nevertheless, to remove the tumor in her cheek, I had to cut the little nerve. Her young husband is in the room. He stands on the opposite side of the bed and together they seem to dwell in the evening lamplight, isolated from me, private. Who are they, I ask myself, he and this wry mouth I have made, who gaze at and touch each other so generously, greedily? The young woman speaks, “Will my mouth always be like this?” she asks. “Yes,” I say, “it will. It is because the nerve was cut.” She nods and is silent. But the young man smiles. “I like it,” he says, “It is kind of cute.” All at once I know who he is. I understand and I lower my gaze. One is not bold in an encounter with a god. Unmindful, he bends to kiss her crooked mouth and I am so close I can see how he twists his own lips to accommodate to hers, to show her that their kiss still works. Richard Selzer, Mortal Lessons: Notes on the Art of Surgery

Why did this passage move me so deeply? In the late 70s and early 80s I had several surgeries (and radiation treatments) for a parotid gland tumor that wrapped around my left side facial nerve and the threat of facial nerve damage looms. Always looms.

Eventually my younger brother and Patti read the book as well and folded it in to their creative work. And we began collecting Selzer’s work.

 

Patti, ever the diligent sleuth/creative, found Dr. Selzer’s email address. In 2002, my brother visited Dr. Selzer in Connecticut to explore the potential of a collaboration. He had a glorious visit and had Dr. Selzer sign the inside of the Mortal Lessons book.

I then connected with Dr. Selzer through email and what followed was a short-lived exchange of letters. My marriage was in the midst of unraveling and this correspondence was a sweet interlude during a very painful and transformative time.

Excerpts from some of the letters in the June 2, 2002 journal:

June 7, 2002

Dear Richard,

At my brother’s encouragement, I am writing your directly. I do hope that you don’t mind. As I write this, I am sitting on the ferry heading home to Roberts Creek… I have put aside my psychology studies and read your manuscript. I know that Nabokov detested readers who see themselves in the words they read, whose hearts bleed in recognition. I admit I have felt embarrassment at being that kind of reader. But why? As Anthony Burgess writes about Shakespeare- to see his face, we need only to look in the mirror.

I read your words in “The Atrium” and they are the exact ones I needed at that moment. In this moment…

… Working with the families of the missing and murdered women this Spring, my thoughts have been centred on death…

Death has always been strangely reassuring to me (personally). I can write with sincerity that I am not frightened of my death – BUT what scares me is leaving my kids…

I read your words and cried. Could one become blind by seeing too much? I have experienced intense sadness in the past year, and during that year I often walked alone in the woods to lay down in the moss – being one in the forest – rehearsing your dream.

… I am blessed to love reading. For it takes me to places far beyond what is possible in “reality.” And today I spent time in the atrium, observing you, through your words. Thank you.

The ferry is docking.

Love Katarina

June 8, 2002

Very dear Katarina,

You cannot imagine how touched I was to read your letter to me. I can see precisely why your brother loves you so much. You have a great heart that is both open and vulnerable.

I had not heard about the disappearance of the women of Vancouver, but now I know. It is a chilling tale. To take part in the healing is your destiny; I believe it will guide you for the rest of your life.

Your words about my “Atrium” serve as reassurance that I have not miscalculated in writing that piece. Just to think that I have you for a reader is thrilling. 

Love Richard

June 8, 2002

Dear Richard,

Thank you for your kind and inspirational words. I do feel like I’m riding a thrilling wave of learning. To connect with humans hungry to explore circumstance is wonderful. That is what I admire so much in your spirit! It is truly exciting to witness some of your creative process. The manuscript, the photo of you on the park bench…

Time for coffee on this early Saturday morning. I like this time of the year, day and week. The kids sleep in, the sun shining through the greenery, the birds singing and I have my coffee and mountain of books strewn on my bed. 

Love Katarina

June 9, 2002

Dear Katarina,

It is so good to imagine you lying on a bed bestrewn with books, one of which is “Down From Troy,” a variety of intimacy I don’t often enjoy.

Warmly, Richard

June 11, 2002

Dear Richard,

My brother and I wrote our Canadian Citizenship exam yesterday. We knew we arrived at the right place when we saw a line up of dozens and dozens of people from different nationalities lining up clutching their papers. It was surreal and wonderful.

The process took quite a while and as I was waiting in my seat, I pulled out my copy of “Down From Troy”… the page opened to:

For the more than sixty years that he lived on the continent of North America, Grandpa remained blissfuly stateless. The idea of citizenship never occurred to him, neither in Canada, which he had entered illegally, nor in the United States.

Miraculous coincidence. My copy is beginning to bulge with post-its… Many things I want to ask you, discuss, share! You’ll have to excuse my obvious enthusiasm. 

All the best to you,

Katarina

June 11, 2002

Dear Katarina,

In you I have found my ideal reader. It is infinitely touching to me, the way in which my words echo in your heart. Fate was looking over my shoulder when she decreed we should come together. You are one of those things for which I am grateful to your brother. Please don’t hesitate to write to me as often as you wish. 

In warmest friendship, Richard

June 12, 2002

Dear Richard,

I woke with a start this morning… my dreams were heavy with images of people I love, morphing into ones I didn’t know, words swimming around me: subatomic physics, Feyman’s Sum Over Histories, ethical issues in psychology… all the while I was spitting out little white pills that formed on my tongue – some the size of a tic tac, others the size of a pinhead.

I had fallen asleep with your book beside me. I recall the heaviness of p. 51: Whatever their true domestic drama, it was not naked but clothed in civility. Whatever their secret disappointments or resentments, each of their mouths was closed upon a pill of silence. 

It is precisely this civility I have fought against, played into, cursed, embraced, uncovered, shied away from, discovered, torn apart, understood…

It’s a beautiful day. I picture you in the library… I can smell the books.

Cheers, Katarina

June 12, 2002

Dear Katarina,

Yes, I am in the library, daydreaming away the afternoon. My mind is not mine to control; it wanderers whithersoever it listeth. It was always thus. It’s because I was a changeling. It was your lovely message that brought me back from… where was it? Scotland! I’ve never been there except in the novels of Sir Walter Scott, but I’m sure that the Scotland of my imagination is more “Scottish” than the real one. This wool-gathering can turn one topsy-turvy. I sometimes wonder if something really did happen or whether I dreamt it. One’s grip on reality loosens after a while. But then, what IS reality? Certainly it is not the truth.

You are lucky for all sorts of reasons, but the two I’m thinking of are that you are engaged in study of a new discipline; nothing is more satisfying to the spirit than mastering a new art or craft or field of endeavour. The other is that you have passed through the flames and come out whole with new understanding of yourself, having shed the falseness of a former life.

I have to tell you two things, One is that our correspondence will end up in the Archive of my papers at the University of Texas in Galveston. One day, it will be read by others. I can say that I’ll see that doesn’t happen, but whenever I’ve tried, I find I can’t sort. I just thought I’d better tell you that I’m no longer Richard Selzer but “Richard Selzer.” There is a woman in Finland who was quite horrified to think that her letters to me weren’t going to be private.

The other confession is that there is a woman, also in Texas, who is engaged in writing my biography! I have tried mightily to dissuade her, but she persists… if you prefer, I shan’t give give her your address. 

Please write to me again soon.

Affectionately, Richard

June 12, 2002

Taking a break from studying… both kids made it to school today – my son’s weekly migraine is looming, but he wants to make it today as it is his last chance to talk to a girl in his science class who he has had a crush on since September… in his pocket is a beeswax candle and a cinnamon stick – and ancient love booster recipe that I gave him before he left.

What is reality? “Not the truth…” concepts I have been struggling with and fighting against. And finally I accept! How often I have cried, “is this not real? and this? and this?!” There was much camaraderie when I read your words: “Things do matter, I am not opposed to owning property…”

Re: emails not being private – I have no qualms about that. Myself, I am an avid journal/image-idea-file keeper and ALL gets inserted, much to my mother’s concern. I am in full support of correspondence being kept for future eyes… I love books of letters, private diaries.

Given the choice between two discoveries – that of an unknown play by Shakespeare and that of one of Will’s laundry list – we would all plump for the dirty washing every time.  (Anthony Burgess)

How exciting and bizarre it must be to have a biography written about oneself! Where does truth fit in there? If you would like her to have my email address, please feel free.

I am in awe of the “writer.” My art is the 2-D visual. Do you process your thoughts, then write? Does it flow through you? Are you a careful writer, going back, correcting, changing? Or is the final product simply a dictation of what you have already worked out? And the “surgeon” in you. Does your writing parallel your art as a surgeon? Oh, for a simple few seconds, to see the human body as you have seen.

Love, Katarina

June 13, 2002

Dear Richard,

Having spent hours in the garden, I took a break on the porch and started rereading your book, “Raising the Dead.” Your command of the English language astounds, for it is not only storytelling, but word-plays. When I teach drawing, I tell my students – you must be able to extract a small segment of your drawing, any segment, and have the composition work within those limits.  I feel that technique of analysis works with your sentences.

I love when I read and have to put the book down and pace the room in excitement before getting back to it. I am completely humbled and gratified that I get to be the reader and not the creator. Creation can be exhausting.

Is that the torment of the artist? To always have to be the creator and not the observer of one’s own work? I struggle with the need to create that which I already know, see, feel INSIDE. To interpret and regurgitate in order to see it, see it, see it. But as creator, I am always a step behind. The process of creation includes a time delay between the internal conversation and the actual act of creating the work. The real vision spills out ahead of me into the dark abyss of eternity and I am left behind scampering and clawing, desperately trying to capture the minutest glimpse of what I have already experienced just a spit second before.

I love to fantasize about the writer’s palette of words. It is often theorized that “Lolita” in the guise of a prepubescent was actually the English language. Nabokov, being Russian was new to the language and he adored it, coveted it, explored it dangerously. 

Here comes my cat with a garter snake in his mouth. Must be a signal to get back to work!

Love, Katarina

June 14, 2002

How to speak about the creative act? It deliquesces while you are still applying pen to paper, or, I imagine, brush to canvas. It is, in that respect, most like a moment of ecstasy, physical or spiritual. Nor can it be recalled with any exactitude. The bright colours of retrospect cannot be precisely applied, only approximated, as you so powerfully expressed it. 

What moves me most is the human body. Last evening on the shuttle bus, I sat next to man whose cheek was gray, pocked and fitted as though a Satyr with sharp hooves had danced across it. Had such a cheek ever been kissed? I wondered. And thought Apollo chasing the nymph Daphne who, just as he caught her, metamorphosed into a laurel tree, thought of the lustful god pressing his ramous mouth not to wet warm flesh but to the ridged bark of the tree. What’s more, at that moment, I wanted to lean toward the man and kiss his cheek — just to see. It is the unspeakable length to which the true artist will go in search of the truth. 

Whatever else can be said of my work, it cannot be said that I have shirked the body to dwell upon the soul. I’ve never been able to distinguish between the two. And it is particularly the malformed, afflicted and even repulsive body that is the most revealing of what is called the soul. Precisely through the declaration of its vulnerability. Through the flaws and fissures and festering of the flesh, the soul swims closer to the surface where it can be glimpsed. The soul is only visible as it wears the flesh. Otherwise it is a pallid wasp.

I was wondering if I should erase all of the above. No, I’ll let it stand, and count on Katarina to forgive any unintended offense.

Love, Richard

 

The New York Times June 15, 2016:


A sock snapping turtle eating David Sedaris’ tumour. A handmade gift.

Does anyone else (well, I know my daughter does) feel like David Sedaris (and his sister Amy) is a family member? I am that kind of fan. Sorry. Reading his books, alone or in public, inevitably leads to me rocking back and forth in tears or in laughter or both. I have always fought against the word resonate, but oh my God, his words RESONATE.

His book, Calypso, emboldened me to dig further into my relationship with my mother and her hidden alcoholism.

 

 

On Feb 12 at 7 PM my daughter and I arrived at the Vogue Theatre for the Vancouver’s Writer’s Fest: an Evening with David Sedaris.

We had our books in our hands aware that after the show David would be doing signings. I knew if I was going to get a book signed, I needed to bring some Sedaris-esque gift. .

Those that know me, know I make sock creatures. Pretty obsessively. So, of course, I made David one based on his notorious story in Calypso about the snapping turtle and the tumour (3:40 mark):

 

I’ve had tumours taken out and thought similar things. So, again his words… RESONATED.

Here it is – an ugly snapping turtle eating David’s tumour:

Once in the theatre we headed up the stairs to the balcony and turned the corner on the second flight and first thing we see is David Sedaris sitting at a table already signing books!  OMG OMG OMG OMG

A NO PHOTOS PLEASE sign was on his desk, as well as a bunch of coloured sharpies, his empty plate and cutlery etc.

We went straight into the lineup. There are too many great stories about the people in the line-up chatting with David- but those are their stories to tell – glorious, heart warming moments. David is incredibly generous with his time. We felt welcomed. He is also so tidy and refined and fucking funny.

It was our turn and I have no idea what we said, but [be still my heart], I gave him the sock turtle and he seemed delighted and exclaimed. “Oh my! You are an artist!” Then pulled out a little notebook and said, “Please write your name and address here so I can send you a thank you letter.”  {hand shaking, I wrote something-OMG WHAT IS MY ADDRESS?! WHAT IS MY NAME?]. And as he chatted he signed the book.

He then chatted with my daughter as he doodled in her copy of Theft by Finding Diaries 1977- 2002. They discussed her plans to go to university in the Fall and how much better it is to be a mature student.

He then handed her the book and said. “There. It’s a tree. Fallen down.”

THAT IS SEDARIS GOLD.

Yes, we were swooning but also we were so moved by his ease and joy and presence. By the familiarity.

We took our seats. 2 plus hours later we left the theatre, walking on clouds. The evening represented  for us that WE ARE ON THE RIGHT TRACK. KEEP CREATING. KEEP EXPRESSING YOURSELF.

And, oh yeah,  I am getting YOU ARE AN ARTIST, SAYS DAVID SEDARIS tattooed on my forearm.

Extra treat:

UPDATE February 27, 2020:

Father, daughter, Fenrir, Gleipnir and “Drawn Together”- the book: 6 years later.

Wow.  October 25, 2018 will mark the sixth year since my father passed away.  I am so aware of all the dates in October… so aware that he was winding down.

Interestingly, more October connections: on October 12, 2005 (13 years ago), my father drew for the first time after his life threatening stroke (September 21, 2005).

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My father, the Viking, my greatest cheerleader, infused in me the joy of creating, the joy of hard work and the importance of never giving up.

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And so we wrote a book together.  And on October 15, 2012, as he was navigating the fog of morphine, surrounded by reminder posters on the wall as to where he was and what year it was, we pressed send to the publisher.  We marked the occasion by signing the inside of our favourite book that inspired the project.

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On October 25, 2012, the morning of the day he passed, I played this Swedish lullaby, sung by his favourite actor, into his left ear.  Over and over again.  Sleep, my little heart.

 

Six years.  Why does it feel so significant?

In our Viking heritage/ Norse mythology, the number 6 represents the leash Gleipner.

Gleipnir was the name of the super strong leash used to hold the dreadful Fenrir Wolf. The Fenrir Wolf was one the monstrous children of the trickster god Loki. The dwarfs had made this extraordinary leash.

The Fenrir Wolf only agreed to try the leash if Tyr put his hand in his mouth. The wolf bit off the right hand of the god Tyr. Tyr gave his name to Tuesday. Gleipnir consisted of six items:

1. The sound of a cat walkingTyr and Fenrir - John Bauer

2. The beard of a woman

3. The roots of a mountain

4. The sinews of a bear

5. The breath of a fish

6. The spit of a bird

The Vikings explained that the Gleipnir was the reason these six items no longer existed. The Fenrir Wolf will not break loose from Gleipnir before Ragnarok (the end of the world). source

I kind of see my father as Fenrir and the stroke as Gleipnir.  And my father has broken free now, and devoured Odin.  But there is so much significance to this myth that I will write about at a later date.

I am moved to share our book in full today:

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Frida Kahlo, Muere el 13 de Julio de 1954

I hope the exit is joyful and I hope never to return. – Frida Kahlo

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Frida Kahlo July 6, 1907 – July 13, 1954 (china marker, dry pastel on newsprint)

Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away. – Frida Kahlo

Remembering Claudia Camille.

In honor of Claudia Camille

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September 14, 1964- February 26, 2007

It is my dance partner’s birthday today.

We were science students and dancers together at the University of British Columbia.  I met Claudia Camille in dance class in 1983 and we formed a duo dance troupe, Principia, choreographing and performing around Vancouver.  We revelled in all things creative (dance, arts, literature, science), in all traditional crafts and baking, in pies, fresh cut flowers, clove oranges, dried flowers, knitting, letters, in our European heritages, in making life cozy.

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Claudia’s hand-knitted sweater for my daughter, 1985

Claudia became a pharmacist, but she took a big step to pursue her love for the book arts and enrolled in full-time art school in Portland in the late 90’s.

She changed her name to Claudia Camille in honor of her favorite artist:

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Claudia was so gifted.  SO GIFTED.  Her meticulous rich work embraced both deep introspection and dedication to tradition and craft.  She created exquisite handmade books that I will feature over the next while.  I collect the treasures in a box.

 

She was diagnosed with (what I believe was primary-progressive) multiple sclerosis (she went steadily downhill physically) and tragically lost her ability to work, to create.  With her severely debilitated condition, she took many months to write a 14-page last letter.    The letter was sent out to her network by her family after she passed.

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It is filled with pain, love, anger, sadness, despair, determination, truth.  HER TRUTH.  She chose to take her own life, on her own terms 10 years ago.  But because of legalities, she had to be alone.

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I worked with my therapist, in 2007, to work through the letter step by step- I recall extending the session to two hours- and I knew that day, my therapist and I were done our work together.

We crossed a threshold that was both liberating and bittersweet- crying together, honoring Claudia, processing to help me let go of my guilt for not being able to care for her in her final years (I was caring for my parents).

Two of my Frida panels are dedicated to Claudia:

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“Frida and Camille”- has been an interactive art piece for many years, added to by multiple people

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Claudia Camille

In memory of my sweet friend and dance partner, Claudia, I am sharing her infamous CRANBERRY ORANGE pie recipe:

Pie crust:
300 ml flour
150 g butter (room temp) YES actual butter
1 egg

Mix all ingredients and form into dough. Let rest wrapped in plastic in fridge about 30 min before rolling out.

Filling:
Mix together
450 g whole cranberries
Orange rind from two oranges (or lemons)
Squeeze the juice from the oranges onto top the cranberries too
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar

Brush pie crust with egg and sprinkle with pearl sugar

Bake at 350-375º F until cranberries sizzle with juices and pie crust is golden brown!

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Burr, Washington, Jefferson, King George sock monkeys. Hamilton in my heart.

I had planned to be in New York City on July 28th this summer, sitting at the Rogers Theatre with my daughter celebrating, watching Hamilton, the Musical.  We would have just completed two days of sock monkey workshops at Graham Windham with children and families (Eliza Hamilton’s orphanage).  I was going to bring my sock monkeys of the entire main cast of the musical.

Sadly, fate/destiny/universe had other plans.  I didn’t get the gigs I expected to have over the summer and as of May, I found myself all of a sudden struggling again to get by.  Dang.  More setbacks and lack of consistent work made things even harder.

And so the tickets were sold and plans changed.  And I admit, I don’t think it hit me till today how truly heartbroken I am.  But that is OK.

What I get from Hamilton is not about going to the show itself.  It is about the creative process.  It is about art about history.  It is about the healing power of art.  And the tenacity of art.  I have been creating every day.  For I am an artist with no choice.  That is what I love about Hamilton and that dream hasn’t died.  The message of the creation of Hamilton lives in my heart.

So today, as part of my studio clearance, raising funds and letting go, I have decided to release 4 of my sock monkeys and regroup.  Start fresh.  Blast the soundtrack.  Surrender. And like Lin and Alexander, write my way out.

On my ETSY SHOP:


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My Alexander Hamilton sock monkey, I am pleased to write, lives with my daughter and he spent 4 months travelling to England, Sweden, Southeast Asia and across Canada…

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I will be collecting materials over the next while, and once my Fall work routine putters along, I hope to begin the cast all over again.

Check out:

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The Mulberry @ParcLiving Fox Panels

Without art we do not die.  But without art we do not live. 

Intersections Media Opportunities for Youth Society participant, 2012

I have the pleasure of working with an extraordinary group of individuals at Mulberry PARC doing art projects that range from drawing, interactive art, sock animals and group painting/quilt!

Our latest session involved drawing the fox and creating two panels for tomorrow’s art show!

Fox animal symbolism takes a turn of intelligence in the Celtic realm, as the Celts believed the fox to be a guide, and was honored for its wisdom. The Celts understood the fox knows the woods intimately, and they would rely upon the fox as their guide in the spirit world.

At tomorrow’s art show ART IN THE PARC we will be showing our Fox panels… 

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… our owls/bunnies/hummingbird/ladybugs embellished panels…

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… and our sock owls!

See also:

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The Mulberry Panels: art project with older adults

I have the pleasure of working with an extraordinary group of individuals at Mulberry PARC doing art projects that range from drawing, interactive art, sock animals and group painting/quilt!  We have had 5 sessions so far and, at this point, confirmed 10 more that will take us into November!

My goal with the art sessions is to not only teach fun arts and crafts techniques to the students, but to build connections and provide a safe and healing space.  My students are very courageous, daring to dive into challenging work, working through frustrations, laughing at the outcomes, letting go of attachment to personal projects in order to create group pieces, embracing challenges such as hearing and sight issues, arthritic hands, and anxiety- being present and curious in the moment and meeting it all with a sense of humour!  I am very honoured to spend time with each and every one and treasure the experience and grateful to the Mulberry staff for inviting me!

 

 

The evolution of the panels:

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This post is dedicated to my dear friend, Cheryl Bain, who has the greatest gift for working with older adults and who inspires me to no end each and every day.

Related:

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Happy birthday, Frida.

I am celebrating Frida Kahlo‘s birthday!

Although her birth certificate says she was born on July 6, 1907, Frida Kahlo told people her date of birth was July 7, 1910. She allegedly did so not to seem younger but simply because she loved her home country, according to The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo filmmaker Amy Stechler. Kahlo adopted a 1910 birthday so that her birth would coincide with the Mexican Revolution and the start of a modern Mexico. [source]

Today’s Frida Study:

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Frida’s Diary

(2005) The Diary of Frida Kahlo- an intimate self-portrait.  Abrams, New York, in association with La Vaca Independiente S.A. de C.V.

Thank you LAURA MACK for this profound and beautiful gift.  It means the world to me.

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Alas Rotas [Broken Wings]
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Letter to Surrealist painter, Jaqueline Lamba
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Jaqueline Lamba

Journal entry re: Frida:

Frida and the 7 chakras

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Seventh Chakra CROWN: Spiritual Centre, Enlightenment– central nervous system, muscular system, skin. I am; I understand.

Sixth Chakra THIRD EYE: Wisdom, intuition, visualization– brain, neurological system, eyes, ears, nose. I know; I think.

Fifth Chakra THROAT: Communication, inner voice, truth, creativity- thyroid, esophagus, trachea, mouth, jaw, teeth, neck, vertebrae. I speak; I express.

Fourth Chakra HEART: Love, compassion, unconditional love, hope, forgiveness– circulatory system, ribs, breast, thymus gland, lungs, shoulders, arms, hands, diaphragm. I love.

Third Chakra SOLAR PLEXUS: Power centre, manifestation, self-confidence, esteem– stomach, pancreas, adrenals, upper intestines, liver, gall bladder, middle spine. I can; I do.

Second Chakra SACRAL: Creativity, sexuality, money, career, power, joy– sexual organs, large intestine, lower vertebrae, pelvis, hip area, urinary bladder. I feel; I want.

First Chakra ROOT: Survival, security, family, connections, instinct– spinal column, rectum, legs, bones, feet, energizes body, increase overall health. I do; I am.

I think that little by little I’ll be able to solve my problems and survive.

– Frida Kahlo

Today’s angel card[s]:

Rivera, Guadalupe, Colle, Marie-Pierre (1994), Frida’s Fiestas- recipes and reminiscenes of life with Frida Kahlo, Clarkson Potter: New York
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#SKiP 2017 was amazing!

Recall:

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I had the pleasure of presenting and facilitating at the SKETCHING IN PRACTICE 2017 SYMPOSIUM on June 23 and 24!

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It felt so great to be around such like-minded, like-spirited, enthusiastic, inquisitive, creative people!  I was invigorated!

And being able to participate in three fabulous workshops as well was such a treat!

June 23:

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It felt great to speak about Molly!

Check out: AMY BURVALL

June 24:

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Check out: GRAPHIC HISTORY COLLECTIVE

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Check out: LORRAINE WHITE-WILKINSON

I have so much I could write about the two days.  But for now I will list just a sample of words I scratched furiously into my SKiP sketchbook…

Radical imaginations, weaving process, verbal to visual, resist, politics of care, intersectional framework, history can be a weapon/tool, mutate change, visible thinking, metaphorical typography, critical creativity, Gutenberg Parenthesis, porous pedestrian, kennings, serendipidoodle, fringed oddity, spurned desire, Sanburgian synthesis, scheduled creativity, the way out of the box is the shackles, pareidolia, storytelling ethics, mark making

I am so excited to build on the connections made at the symposium.

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Some photo highlights from my two days:

 

A huge thank you to Jason Toal and the entire team for including me!

 

 

Boundary by Emily Cowan

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Wow.  Emily Cowan, comic book artist, has just completed an extraordinary book:

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What a beautiful journey it has been to dive into Paige’s teenage life.  My cheeks prickle with familiarity– those hot-nosed, overly self-conscious struggles of a 15 year old.

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The book is deceptively gentle, masterfully rendered.

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DO YOURSELF A FAVOUR AND READ THIS GORGEOUS BOOK!

LINK: BOUNDARY

Emily’s decision to create a webcomic has been a huge influence on my own work.

But the journey is not over!

In the words of Emily:

Thank you so much for reading, for sticking with me when I updated late, for encouraging me and supporting me.

I’m so glad I got to share this, my first full-length comic, with you, my sweet readers from the beginning and all the new ones who joined in along the way.  I can’t believe anyone read along at all, and the fact that so many of you did is something I can’t even believe.

The future of Boundary: I’m going to be Kickstarting a book, so keep watching this space for news about that! The archives will stay here, free to read any time.  And in the meantime you can follow new comic news at my twitter or instagram

If you like, you can support my Patreon, where I’ve been posting journal comics every day, and will be sharing sketches and plans for upcoming projects. 

Thank you all again.

And thank you especially to Julian, without whom I couldn’t have done this. – Emily Cowan

I can’t wait to PHYSICALLY hold that book in my hands.  

ABOUT EMILY:

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Hella cool queer brat who makes a comic about sad teens!

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SUPPORT EMILY COWAN ON PATREON:

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https://www.patreon.com/emilycowan

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Traditional craft: handwoven treasure by “Domestic Intervention Co.”

Being Swedish, I was raised surrounded by beautiful handwoven cloths.  When I think about Sweden, I see looms.

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A personal heroine– Karin Larsson, wife/muse of Swedish artist Carl Larsson, at her loom.

Textile art is in my DNA.  My mother loved to tell me stories about my great grandmother– my name sake, Brita.  Brita raised so many children with little money.  She’d walk to town and check out the latest fashions in the store windows, then go home and weave the fabric and sew the outfits for her children.  Her kids were the only ones at their school that brought along PE strips- cleanliness and freshness always tantamount (a trait my mother inherited).  Sadly, her daughter Kristina, my grandmother, died when I was two.  But my great aunts Helma, Alma and Helga were a huge influence on my love of crafting.  I would love our visits, mesmerized by Helma’s loom in her loom room, Alma’s tapestries, Helga’s button collection.

I love the collection of threads, humble bits, woven together.  Cloth is sacred.  Humble, yet showy.

The art of the bird is to conceal its nest both as to position and as to material, but now and then it is betrayed into weaving into its structure showy and bizarre bits of this or that, which give its secret away and which seem to violate all the traditions of its kind. – John Burroughs

As we process life, whether we do it well or badly, elegantly or clumsily, our experiences weave a tapestry that colors our personality.  It’s a strong, beautiful un-anticipated, splendidly imperfect design.

Check out my weaving journal exercise:

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I keep a large basket of family heirlooms, like this runner.  Our family has shared so many meals on this woven cloth, spilled on it, used it to play, washed it over and over:

This Christmas, I was gifted a beautiful DOMESTIC INTERVENTION CO. handwoven scarf from my soul-sister, Patti Henderson.  

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I was MESMERIZED.  All my childhood memories flooding back as I held the delicate fabric.  I am in awe of this Vancouver artist and her product.  

CHECK IT OUT:

DomesticInterventionCo

Manufacturing quality yardage FOR Specialty yardage made to order all TEXTILES Designed and handwoven in VANCOUVER BC by CHammond @truckstopcutie

DOMESTIC INTERVENTION CO.  by artist TRUCKSTOPCUTIE:

Check out DOMESTIC INTERVENTION CO. on Instagram:

Aaaaaaah- a loom room!!!  DREAMY

About saying yes to life, every part of your life, and finding how to weave them all together.
― Lucy H. Pearce, The Rainbow Way: Cultivating Creativity in the Midst of Motherhood

Woot! @BigDrawVan at @strathcentre turned out beautifully!

Recall: BIG DRAW VANCOUVER

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IN THE MIDST OF COMMUNITY CENTRE ACTIVITY, WITH KIDS PLAYING BASKETBALL AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS OF ALL AGES WALKING THROUGH, DRAWN TOGETHER WORKED OUT BEAUTIFULLY.  WE HAD THREE TABLES SET UP IN THE HALLWAY(!) AND THERE WAS A  GREAT TURNOUT!  THE BUSYNESS WAS INVIGORATING AND PARTICIPANTS WERE AMAZING!

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HUGE THANK YOU TO ALISON DONNELLY WHO FACILITATED THE COLLAGE PORTION!

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