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.”


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:

SOLD: “I saw the angel in the marble.” (Drawing on marbled paper)


I received some gorgeous Italian paper from Terry and Kevin Cowan recently.  I let the marbled sheet guide my mark-making. No planning. Just unfolding. It’s my form of meditation.


I saw the angel in the marble. (Katarina Thorsen, 2019)

20″ x 27″

China marker, acrylic, water colour on Italian marbled paper

ART SALE: $85.00 CAD (including shipping)

To purchase:

PayPal or e-transfer to britakatarina@gmail.com

(include mailing address)


Relaunch and new look: my online graphic novel “Molly, a True Crime Analysis, the third draft”

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Molly- a true crime analysis is my experimental graphic novel, originally workshopped online in weekly instalments between January 15, 2017 and January 13, 2018.  

I call the current online version the third draft.  



My work is based on extensive research, interviews and published accounts.  I use mainly primary and secondary sources in order to build the story.  I have attempted to stick to the facts in the text and avoid assumptions, yet draw conclusions from the circumstantial evidence.  Visual scenes have been created for the purposes of dramatization.  This is a work of creative non-fiction inspired by true facts, physical evidence and historical research.  In the end, this is my artistic interpretation and nothing more than that.  




This chapter is enhanced when accompanied by:


© Katarina Thorsen 2019


Readers of this publication agree that Katarina Thorsen will not be held responsible or liable for damages that may be alleged or resulting directly or indirectly from the reading of this publication.

Model: Jocelyn Louise

Inktober 2018: 31 studies of Truman Capote’s IN COLD BLOOD



Imagination, of course, can open any door– turn the key and let the terror walk right in.

– Truman Capote

No. 1 Richard Hickock: “It was early, not yet nine…”

No. 2: “Nancy Clutter is always in a hurry, but she always has time.”

No. 3 Truman Capote: “In Cold Blood- a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences.”

No. 4 Kenyon Clutter: “… so I took him down and to the playroom where there was a comfortable looking couch.”

No. 5 Herbert Clutter: “The master of River Valley Farm, Herbert William Clutter, was forty-eight years old…”

No. 6: “… 7 miles west of Garden City.”

No. 7 Bonnie Clutter: “… poor Bonnie’s affliction was in the least a secret.”

No. 8 Bonnie Clutter: “… had resurrected her ‘old self’; as if serving up a preview of the normality…”

No. 9 Floyd Wells: “His drowsiness instantly vanished when he heard, officers investigating tragic slaying of four members of the Herbert W. Clutter family…”

No. 10A: “Truman sits with his coffee, reading the New York Times.  He sits up straight, folds the paper over, reads it. C/U of article being snipped out of PAGE 39 of the Times.” [Capote Screenplay by Dan Futterman]

No. 10B: “I think this is what I want to write about.” [Capote Screenplay by Dan Futterman]

No. 11 Perry Smith: “Were any representatives of the cinema there?” [Life Magazine, May 12, 1967]


No. 12 Nancy Clutter: “The snake swallows you?  Or what?”

No. 13 Richard Hickock: “Well, hell, give it all to us then.”

No. 14 Harper Lee: “You’re the only one I know with the qualifications to be both research assistant and personal bodyguard.” [Capote Screenplay by Dan Futterman]

No. 15: Forty seven dollars.


No. 16: EXT KANSAS STATE PENITENTIARY (KSP) LANSING-DAY. [Capote Screenplay by Dan Futterman]

No. 17 Walter Hickock Sr.: “The judge up there! I have never seen a man so prejudiced… No sense.  Just no sense having a trial.”

No. 18 Susan Kidwell: “Susan Kidwell, her confidante…”

No. 19 Richard Avedon: “Perry, honey.  You look terrific.” [Capote Screenplay by Dan Futterman]

No. 20: “My cup runneth over…”

No. 21 Alvin Dewey’s cat: “Courthouse Pete, the family watchcat.  Pete weighs 13 pounds.” – from Harper Lee’s article in the Grapevine, March 2960

No. 22 Truman Capote: “Imagination, of course, can open any door– turn the key and let the terror walk right in.”


No. 23 The Big Yellow Bird: “… the yellow bird, huge and parrot-faced, board in Perry’s dream, an avenging angel who savaged his enemies or, as now, rescued him in moments of mortal danger.””

No. 24 Truman Capote: “It scraped me right to the marrow of my bones.  It nearly killed me.  I think, in a way, it did kill me.”

No. 25 Perry and Dick: “A week in Mexico City…”

No. 26: Plot Analysis

No. 27: In the District Court of Finney County Kansas.  The State of Kansas (Plaintiff) vs. Richard Eugene Hickock and Perry Edward Smith (Defendants), No. 2322

No. 28: “Autumn rewards western Kansas for the evils that the remaining seasons impose.”

No. 29: “Or the moon.  Oh, he can fool you.”

No. 30: “Using their paws as though they are surgical instruments, the cats extract from the grilles every feathery particle.”

No. 31: “He looked at his fingers, which were stained with ink and paint, for he’d spent his final three years on Death Row painting self-portraits and pictures of children, usually the children of inmates who supplied him with photographs of their seldom-seen progeny.”

© 2018 Katarina Thorsen

WORKSHOP: YOUR VISION for 2018 through creative process

WORKSHOP: YOUR VISION for 2018 through creative process



LOCATION: West End Vancouver BC



ONLY $40 per person until January 31, 2018! 

Contact me at britakatarina@gmail.com for CUSTOMIZED CLASSES 

Start this new year on a creative note by creating your own evolving vision for 2018 using creativity.

In an intimate setting in my art studio, I will guide you through multiple exercises to enable you to focus on YOUR SELF– and to come away with a unique very personal vision board. This vision board will be YOUR SAFE PLACE.

We will use processes such as:

• Journaling

• Drawing

• Collaging

• Mindmapping and Action Planning

• Big Vision Visualization

• Right Brain Tools

• Whole Brain Engagement

In order to bring my creative adventure to fruition, I will visit this fortress, this safe house, many, many times. Gradually I will assemble the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle I have stored here. Finished, it will provide the ideas, moods, and ingredients that will feed my dream.

– Phillipe Petit




Some pre-work will be encouraged.

Love, Katarina

Contact me at britakatarina@gmail.com for CUSTOMIZED CLASSES 


Mind maps integrate both right-brain and left-brain thinking by capturing your stream of consciousness in a structured way.

– Jennifer Lee



Sock owls and creative engagement



These crazy little sock owls are wonderful for creating dialogue around the craft table!




OWL talking piece for tomorrow’s professional development day at a local middle school.  The owl feathers- a gift from Kevin Cowan








Our intergenerational sock owls will be on display next week at Mulberry PARC’s Ignite Your Passion event (September 28, 2017 2-4 PM) as part of ACTIVE AGING WEEK!

See also:

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My @TwinPeaks fan art helps me hold on to the dream

We are like the dreamer who dreams and then lives inside the dream.

I process my obsessions through creativity.  And there is a lot to process as we have reached “the end” of Twin Peaks: The Return.

A Lynch fan since Eraserhead, deeply deeply influenced and inspired by The Elephant Man and Blue Velvet, I recall cutting out the news article about the pilot in early 1990.  It showed Ronette Pulaski walking across the railroad bridge.


I recall the cultural shift when the show aired on April 8, 1990.  The camaraderie as the weekly episodes were inspected and analyzed voraciously.

Our family’s countless trips to North Bend and travelling to all the sites from the show.

Staying at the “Great Northern” (The Salish Lodge) and walking down to the falls.

Meeting the one armed man and the man from another place (the arm) on the streets outside of the RR Diner during the first Twin Peaks festival.  They signed our copy of Lolita- she is filled with secrets.

Drinking coffee and eating cherry pie at the RR diner.

Multiple trips, multiple times.

Being FREAKED OUT by Bob (to this day).  On a visit to Las Vegas Fall 1990, I saw Bob silhouetted by the lights outside, in front of the sheer curtains, sitting in a lounge chair.  He leaned forward and turned his head towards me.  I leapt out of bed.  JEEEEEEEEEZUS.

My son recreating the Laura wrapped in plastic scene at the exact location in 2010.

Reading Laura Palmer’s diary a gazillion times and collecting every clipping, article, book, collecting, collecting.

Trading fan art on instagram.

Buttons and magnets by @skyyedawl

Looking for clues in every other Lynch film.


This new season was so much about my generation aging.  Beautifully aging.


Aging is celebrated, honoured by Lynch.

I have wept for my own losses.  All the life markers experienced since that first episode aired.  (The log lady looking so much like my mother before she passed.)

We are like the dreamer who dreams and then lives inside the dream.


The dumbest and greatest and deepest show.


My illustration (2016) for Matthew Roy’s incredible speculative fiction novel could be renamed “GOTTA LIGHT?” (Episode 8 Season 3)

SOLD: STUDIO CLEARANCE SALE: Painting entitled “The House,” 1998

Raising FUNDS, clearing SPACE and LETTING GO.


(Vancouver BC)


A favorite piece from my 1998 solo exhibit: Asta Sollilja of Summerhouses


e-transfer or paypal: britakatarina@gmail.com


You pick up in West End, Vancouver


The House, 1998, Katarina Thorsen

It was a house and a stable in one.  All that was visible of the inner, wooden shell was the door and its frame, the door so small, the threshold so high that one had to stoop on entering.  Down in the stable it was cold and dark, the air sour with the smell of earth, the toadstools flabby, but when the trapdoor was lifted a faint gleam shone down from the loft.  There were mangers along the sides, and in the farther wall a gap just wide enough to allow access to a hay barn that Bjartur proposed building behind the house… – Halldor Laxness

Acrylic on Canvas

36″ x 48″

(Note the piece is made of two canvases, 24″ x 36″ each.  It is currently framed, with a beautiful handmade cedar frame by Ralph Bowers- in frame measures 37″ x 49″)


There is no more important novel to me than INDEPENDENT PEOPLE by Halldor Laxness (1902 – 1998), Icelandic novelist, awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1955.  I own several copies of the book.  Here is the dust jacket from my hardcover English edition (1946, Alfred A. Knopf, New York):

The exhibit:

The novel inspired a large exhibit in 1998 of multiple paintings, drawings and quilts.  These were exhibited at the beautiful Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle, ironically just a month after Laxness’s passing.

Exhibit Synopsis:

In 1983, through my Scandinavian Literature class at the University of British Columbia (taught by my mentor Peter Stenberg), I was introduced to an extraordinary novel which forever embedded itself into my heart. I honestly didn’t know at the time how much it affected me, for my mind was cluttered with other university courses and accompanying distractions, but I did know that the book was very important, and indeed it was the one I have returned to again and again.

The novel is Independent People by Nobel prize winner Halldor Laxness, beautifully translated from Icelandic by J. A. Thompson, 1946, Borzoi Books, Alfred A. Knopf, New York. The novel was reissued in paperback by Vintage international, January 1997.

It is an epic tale of a farm family in rural Iceland around the time of World War I. The central character is a rough and self-proclaimed independent sheep farmer called Bjartur, who early on establishes his croft in which the epic and isolated events of his family are played out. Bjartur is the centre of the story, but the most striking character is his daughter Asta Sollilja. This lonely pubescent girl is the heart of the novel, embodying beauty, pity, tragedy; she is the face of Iceland. Her relationship with her father is awkward, heavy, yet extremely endearing.

At once inspired by the words of Halldor Laxness and my Scandinavian heritage, I chose to do a visual essay on Asta, an essay that should allow the viewer to understand the character without having read the book first, but to inspire them to read it. The paintings and the quilts in the exhibit are strictly my personal interpretation of Asta, focusing on emotion and relationships with other characters rather than specific themes. The quilts are an important feature of the exhibit, providing a visual and tactile commentary- on women’s hand work, the bed covering as protection, the bed where birth, dreams, rape, death occur.

Central quote to the exhibit: page 351

He did not know what to say in the face of such sorrow. He sat in silence by his sister’s side in the spring vendure, which was too young; and the hidden strings in his breast began to quiver, and to sound. This was the first time that he had ever looked into the labyrinth of the human soul. He was very far from understanding what he saw. But what was of more value, he felt and suffered with her. In years that were to come he relived this memory in song, in the most beautiful song the world has ever known. For the understanding in the soul’s defencelessness, of the conflict between two poles, is not the source of the greatest song. The source of the greatest song is sympathy. Sympathy with Asta Sollilja on earth.

Asta Sollilja, 1998 (donated to the Missing Women’s Legacy Society, 2002) 
Detail from Bjartur Quilt, 1998


I was honored to receive amazing feedback from the show.  I treasure this comment in particular:


Heron Panel donated to “Hear Me Now” youth film fest

As part of the 100 Herons Art Project that has been supporting arts programming for refugee and immigrant youth, this panel will be donated to the HEAR ME NOW film festival for their silent auction!

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“Muslim Food Bank’s HOPE for Youth Program (Healing Opportunities through Prevention and Education) is hosting The Hear Me Now Film Festival on September 9, 2017 at the Shadbolt Theatre.

This will be our first Film Festival where we will be screening digital stories created by local Muslim Youth ages 12-18. Along with that for entertainment we will showcase a variety of talented local Muslim Youth. This program is a platform for Muslim Youth to share their voices, experiences and stories in the community at large. The event will also feature presentations and displays about the Muslim Food bank’s HOPE for Youth programs.”

Also check out:Screen Shot 2017-08-27 at 10.43.30 AM

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Joyful Living: Relaxation and Creativity with Michele Lilyanna


Unfortunately due to personal issues, I am unable to facilitate at the Aug 22/23 workshops.  Sincerest apologies.  But I am happy to write that Michele will be facilitating! 

Love, Kat



with Michele Lilyanna



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1549 Ocean Beach Esplanade, GIBSONS

ADULTS*: AUGUST 22, 2017 7:30-9:30 PM $60.00/participant

TWEENS: AUGUST 23, 2017 1:00-3:30 PM $50.00/participant

CHILDREN: AUGUST 23, 2017 10:00 AM- 12:00 PM $40.00/participant

Each session begins with a guided meditation. We then move on to joyful creativity and round out the session with a healing practice. Nourishment and fun at its finest!


* Teachers may use this class for Professional development. Check with your district as it will give you practices to share in your classrooms as well as provide you with ideas for wellbeing.

 Class size limited so please sign up early!

To register and pay course fee contact Michele at: Email


About the Workshops:

ADULTS: AUGUST 22, 2017 7:30-9:30 PM 


TWEENS: AUGUST 23, 2017 1:00-3:30 PM


CHILDREN: AUGUST 23, 2017 10:00 AM- 12:00 PM


About the Facilitator:

Michele Lilyanna:


Michele Lilyanna taught in the Canadian public education system for over thirty years. Her teaching focused on social and emotional learning and artistic expression.   She is the co-author, with James Baraz of Awakening Joy For Kids, awarded the 2016 Nautilus Gold medal. She is a featured parenting writer for Dr. Rick Hanson on both his website and in his Ten Pillars of Happiness course. When Michele is not teaching parents, educators, or children, she is awakening joy on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia with her partner, Peter, and her two sons.

Michele’s Website: awakeningjoyforkids.com



The 100 Herons Art Project: Session 1! And pre-sale!

I am deep in the process of a very personal art project– the 100 Herons Art Project– to answer the call to create art born out of my deep desire to capture the magic of the herons in my neighborhood…

“The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard

… and to help support my ability to provide free arts programming for a local program that supports refugee youth ages 16-24.

Session 1 was yesterday!

I hopped on transit yesterday afternoon and spent a couple hours on the Skytrain and the bus headed to a Lower Mainland youth program that supports refugee youth.

This program is extraordinary- “a collaborative, case-managed service model for the delivery of comprehensive, holistic and client-centred programming.”  It provides youth with support services across the board, helping them navigate their new environment, learn life skills, build community and connection.

Today was Session 1 of the initial intro to the free arts programming that I will be providing this for the group this summer.  We spent an hour and a half together in a cramped room that filled with lots of laughter and smiles as I instructed in English (and Swedish as one young woman who is multi-fluent exclaimed that she knows Swedish) while the program coordinators translated.  It was quite wonderful hearing art instruction in multiple languages all at the same time!  I did my usual intro lesson using newsprint and china markers drawing OWLS and 3-D eyes to build trust, introduce my style and to create safe space.

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Many of the participants grabbed a china marker on their way out at the end of the session.  YES!  That is what it’s all about!

Sitting on the two hour ride home, my mind wanted to go to: What are you doing?  How can you sustain this?  But my heart was full.   I feel so honored to spend time with this wonderful group.

Art creates joy.  If only in the moment.  And that is all we have.

Check the panels at:

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I currently have several 20″ x 30″ panels in progress.  They are being embroidered and embellished.  They will be exhibited at various community events in August!


The panels are being made available for pre-purchase on my ETSY site:

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“The Dead Heron.” #100Herons Art Project

I am between contracts– creatively hustling while applying for new contracts to survive and to be able to provide specially requested arts programming for refugee youth (at no cost to their program).  That is what my 100 Herons Art Project is all about.  

HERON’S MOST SIGNIFICANT ESSENCE: aggressive self-determination and self-reliance

Check out:

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I am focusing on the Pacific Blue Herons who are nesting just down the block from me in Stanley Park, Vancouver:

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Recall that on June 15, 2017, I took a walk to the heron nests to look for some feathers in the grass for collaging… and I came across a LARGE pile of scattered heron feathers– obviously from a heron who fell or was pushed out of the nest and who likely lost its life to a predator.  A teen heron perhaps?  I gathered as many feathers as I could– thanking and honoring the heron’s life by incorporating the feathers into the art.

A feather from a heron symbolizes patience, grace and confidence…

Recall as well that I took the feathers home, soaked them in gentle detergent to clean and disinfect, and laid them out on newsprint to dry them.  I then categorized them and collected them into mason jars.

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I have been incorporating the feathers into the 100 Herons Panels.  For example:


A week ago, I came across what was likely the body of that heron whose feathers I collected.  I felt so moved.  Compelled to examine.  (Yes, those are maggots and blow flies doing their work).

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In fact, I have been a bit obsessed.  I kept walking back to the spot witnessing the taphonomy process: the transition of animal remains from the biosphere into the lithosphere.

Biosphere: the regions of the surface, atmosphere, and hydrosphere of the earth occupied by living organisms.

Lithosphere: the rigid outer part of the earth, consisting of the crust and upper mantle.

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Yesterday, I decided to sit down beside the decaying remains and draw the little thing- thanking it and honoring it.  I was, in all honesty, tempted to take the skull, but sitting there under the nests– the atmosphere strangely silent– I knew I was simply there to be a witness.  And to leave the heron to its process.

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I left a little flower and went home to incorporate the moment into, what is now, the 5th panel.


$375.00 of the $2500 goal raised so far.  My goal by the end of this long weekend is to reach $750.00.  My first session with the refugee youth group is booked for July 13, 2017, and I hope to be able to bring not only drawing supplies for the session but art kits for the 26+ youth on that day that they can take with them.

Thank you to my donors so far and for all of you spreading the word.


I am creating of twelve (OR MORE 20″ x 30″ panels depicting a total 100 Herons between June 14 to July 31, 2017.  The panels will be exhibited and sold.

For every $25 raised I will draw a heron!

THE SPONSORED ART will allow me to develop and provide FREE ART LESSONS for REFUGEE YOUTH from war-torn countries at a Lower Mainland program. Funds go to program development and facilitation fee, art supplies, art kits for participants, travel costs.



I will be drawing a heron for every $25 raised!

Any amount welcome!  Donors of $10.00 CAD or more can choose to have their name and/or a special message woven into Heron nest imagery in the panels.

You can donate via PayPal or email transfer britakatarina@gmail.com.  I can provide receipts.

Check the panels at:

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I currently have several 20″ x 30″ panels in progress.  They are being embroidered and embellished.  They will be exhibited at various community events in August!


The panels are being made available for pre-purchase on my ETSY site:

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#SKiP 2017 was amazing!


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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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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!



The Heron Feathers: 100 Herons Art Project

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I am creating of twelve 20″ x 30″ panels depicting a total 100 Herons [between June 14 to July 31, 2017].  

For every $25 raised I will draw a heron!

THE SPONSORED ART will allow me to develop and provide much-needed FREE ART LESSONS for REFUGEE YOUTH from war-torn countries at a Lower Mainland program in July and August.



I will be drawing a heron for every $25 raised!

Any amount welcome!  Donors of $10.00 CAD or more can choose to have their name and/or a special message woven into Heron nest imagery in the panels.

You can donate via PayPal or email transfer britakatarina@gmail.com.  I can provide receipts.

Check the panels at:

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I currently have several 20″ x 30″ panels in progress.  They are being embroidered and embellished.  They will be exhibited at various community events in August!


The panels are being made available for pre-purchase on my ETSY site:

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The art is drawn in my signature style–