Sunday, July 23, 2006

Residency #2

I have been doing my second residency of the summer for a different group and in a different location from the first one. This one (and the next one) are for my weaving group and they are being held at the Charlotte Street Art Centre. It is a beautiful old building that used to be a school. The school was closed down many years ago and there it sat. Until a group of people decided that it would make a great art center. Fast forward ten years, countless hours of meeting to convince the right people, fundraising up the yingyang, and untold hours of volunteer labour, and we now have an Art Centre. The Fredericton Designer Weavers' secretary just happened to be one of those fundraising/volunteering people and when we were looking for a location to hold residencies this summer, she suggested the CSAC as a possible location. Sounded good to us.

Here is the loom that was provided for the residency. We have it set up on the landing of one of the staircases. This place was built in the late 1800's and space and heating were obviously not a problem. This landing is larger than my bedroom. The ceilings are high , the wood work, fancy. As I said, it is a beautiful old building.

The loom is 45 " wide and I was thrilled at the prospect of weaving something that was wider than 17". So I put three dyed shawls on that are 24 ".

Here is a view going up the rest of the staircase. There is a show that is hung right now and these are a few of the pieces. Upstairs are a couple of classrooms and the violin studio. Downstairs are a few studios, the CSAC office, a dance studio, Film coop and a few other groups that I don't know . And in the basement is The Underground Cafe. Totally appealing to students and those of like minds. Big comfy, well worn couches. Large tables. A computer hooked up to the internet. And a totally vegan menu. As in soya cream in your coffee. I haven't been brave enough to ask for coffee yet. I just stick to the organic ginger ale.

So, back to the residency. Remember last time I said that I talked to a bunch of people? Well, so far, this time , I have talked to five. Ten if you count Karen and Jan, two other weavers, a friend of Karen's and her two girls. And of the five, four work at the center. So that leaves me with 1. One person that actually came to ask questions and see what I was doing. So if the point of the residency was to expose people to weaving, then it is a bust. But on the plus side, I have gotten a lot of weaving done. I have two of the three shawls woven off and will get the third one off this afternoon.

I have to come up with another project for my next residency. I am thinking about throw blankets with some of my hand spun in them. Or maybe dyed blankets. Or maybe one of the warps that I made up and dyed last week. Who knows?

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Aren't they just sexy? The bright red colour, the wide, blocky shoulders. Mmmmmm. These are crimson hot peppers that we grew last year. When they are ripe, they are picked, washed, bagged, and thrown in the freezer. Here they are just starting to thaw and the frost that settled because of the high humidity is starting to melt. Then, throughout the winter, we make fresh hot sauce. This recipe was given to Bill by a colleague of his many years ago. It keeps in the fridge for several months.

Vijai's Hot Sauce

1 lb fresh hot peppers (any variety)
4-6 cloves of garlic
1 medium onion
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp oil
white vinegar as required for thickness

Blend all in a food processor until smooth. Keep refrigerated.

That's it. Pretty simple, eh? And oh so yummy. The heat level, of course, depends on the heat of the peppers. We have made this out of a variety of peppers and the best ones are always the ones that have a touch of sweetness. Sometimes, if the peppers were particularly hot, we would replace some of the hot peppers with an equal amount of sweet red pepper. We put it on eggs, in spaghetti sauce, and my particular favorite, on extra old cheddar.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Guest Artist

The guest artist is non other than my 11 year old daughter. All of these were created by her. She had the opportunity to spend a few days with a felting friend, Denise, while Denise was doing an artist in residence stint. Denise makes absolutely beautiful felted creations and Mira really learned a lot while she was with her. Denise does mainly wet felting, which is something that I know only a little about. I never realized how little until I saw what Denise was doing. Denise showed her how to felt over a balloon and gave basic instructions on flower making. These were the results.

Next came the seahorse. Mira made a pattern, cut him out, stitched him up, and beaded him. He is 7" tall. Pretty impressive if you ask me.

Did anyone out there see "Finding Nemo"? Do you remember the Angler Fish at the bottom of the ocean? This was actually one that she made after Denise gave her a 30 second tutorial on wet felting one day a few weeks ago. He was made in white fleece and I dyed him red at her request. Other than that, she goes into her room, or the bathroom if it involves water, and comes out with things like this! She is about 10"x6.5". We know that it is a she because the he's are very small. Angler Fish females can get up to about 4 feet. The males, once they come across a female, actually fuse themselves to her and act like a parasite. But seeing as they are only an inch or two, it doesn't make a whole lot of difference to her. And she is lucky enough to get a permanent male to fertilize her eggs. Some females actually have several males attached to them. I bet that is more than you ever wanted to know about Angler Fish.

And lastly is her Dragon Snake. She worked on him for weeks. He is made out of Fimo, which for those of you who don't know, is a polymer clay that comes in many different colours and hardens when baked in the oven. All of the spots of colour were all individually rolled balls that were then squashed flat and then applied to the snake body to make the scales. Some of the colours were mixed by her if she could not find a particular shade that she wanted. I didn't even turn the oven on. She did the whole thing. He is 5"x3.5".

So, people, what do you think? I am sure that Mira will enjoy reading your comments, so say something, okay?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Residency update

Thanks to every one for being patient with me. Life just seems to get so busy for me in the summer . The kids are out of school and with my residencies and workshop schedule, it seems that the days are flying by.

So here is the old solders barracks. Above are government offices and bellow are a variety of craft shops and some storage for Fredericton tourism.

And at one end is the FAA Artist in residency headquarters.

I am in this week with a local oil painter, Stephen May.

We have some space to display our work and are able to sell, should there be a willing buyer.

I have a warping mill (borrowed from my lovely upstairs neighbour Kora) and my wonderful loom.

The main goal of the Artist in Residency series is to expose people to art and the artistic process. So I have the warping mill to show them how a warp is made. I have my dyes and have been dyeing warps. I have my loom to show them weaving. And I have any number of finished product for them to ohh and ahh over. I have my few temari balls and also a bunch of fabric origami cranes and antelope. The artist in residency series covers a wide range of arts. There are painters and felt artists, knitters and weavers, potters and book artists (writing, publishing, and binding). As well as a few others that I don't know about (I don't have a copy of the brochure). It is a great thing. There is quite a bit of foot traffic during the "tourist months". It is part of our "job" to talk to people and educate them in what ever it is that we are doing. Which is one of the reasons that I have all of the steps of the weaving process illustrated. This is the fourth summer that I have been doing this and find that some people are very interested and ask questions and others almost run away when I start to talk. I have learned to gauge who to chatter at and who to just smile at. I don't mind my work being interrupted because more often than not, I just keep working. Not to mention, with all of my kids, I am used to being interrupted.

So far this week I have, woven two scarves, made four warps, dyes three warps, sold a scarf, wound a warp on the loom and threaded it. And talked to between 100 and 150 people. And of that number, given in depth detail to about 20.

Friday is my last day for this residency, and then on Wednesday, I start on my second residency. During that one,I will be only weaving. And then we all go on vacation to the lake!!!!!!

It will be good!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Jack Sparrow????

Who is this strange man who appeared in my yard the other evening?

None other than the reincarnation of Jack Sparrow! Matt, who lives above us, stopped by the other evening with an odd request. At least that was how he phrased it. He was playing a benefit show and had been informed that the he was to dress up as Jack Sparrow of Pirates of the Caribbean fame. He was wondering if he could dip into our dress-up trunk. He found a vest, and Liz's gal lent him a pirate shirt. A few touches from his closet and a heavy hand with the makeup courtesy of Kora and Jack appeared in the yard.

And what is a Captain without his crew? Motley crew they are. But all had a good time and Matt even won an award for his costume!

As for me, I have started my residency and so far have gotten a lot done. I forgot the camera, so I have no picts yet, but please check back again soon to see a visual diary of the whole thing. Who knows? Maybe people will want to come visit.

I'll be back soon.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Loom puke revisited

I have fringed two of the scarves and washed one. This is the washed one in all its glory. I am rather pleased with it although it is the one that I liked least while I was weaving it.

And I also had a bit of time to dye some wool. I am quite happy with the results. Tomorrow is suppose to be another beautiful day and I hope to get some more dyed

And there is this one skein of cotton on which I used fiber reactive dyes that I had left over from dyeing my last warp.

I start my residency on Sunday and I can hardly wait. I am going to make up a few warps and dye them this week. Hopefully enough to see me through until Christmas.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Here is a pict of Liz's bright idea as a way to display our purses. Joe thought to add the trim which gives it a nice frame and stabilizes the works. This handy dandy unit gets the purses off the table and up to eye level. In the alleyway, there are hooks on the wall. I'm not quite sure way, but we are only too happy to make use of them. This has always been an alley leading to the entrance of a bar. The name and clientele have changed many times over the years, but it has been a bar for as long as I can remember. Maybe the bouncers from one of the bars put up the hooks so that he could hang the drunken rowdies on the wall as a deterrent for other drunks. Kind of like heads on pikes in the good ol' days of knights and castles. Makes for an interesting mental picture.

We had a pretty good weekend at my house. Canada day was spent relaxing and tipping back a few cold ones. Sunday was a wet one and most of the day was spent inside, or running errands on my part. The evening brought clearing and Kora and I dyed part of her warp. Monday, the official day off for Bill, we had beautiful weather and finished dyeing the rest of Kora's warp. I dyed a few skeins myself and made up a warp. The rest of the afternoon was about sitting and talking and sipping on Gin & Tonics. Oh, my yum.

I hope that everyone had a good holiday weekend.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Colour Corrected

Here is a better colour representation of the new scarves. Thanks to Bill for photoshopping my pictures. I had a pretty good day yesterday at the market. A lot of people really liked the new scarves. Small wonder. They are rather fabulous if I do say so myself. I also finished weaving scarf # 2, and got a bit of a start on #3. These are the stripy ones that my loom threw up. They will be coming off the loom soon and be well on their way to being completed. I need to get another warp made and dyed and on the loom before the end of the week so I hope that the rain goes away soon and stays away for a few days so I can get a few things done that need to be done outside. But it's not looking good. Lots of clouds and showers forecasted for the rest of the week. But then again, yesterday was suppose to be thundershowers in the afternoon and we didn't see any rain until last night. And of course today. At least the peas will be happy and fat!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Saturday Blue Skys

Happy Canada Day!

Here are my blue sky just outside my front door, slightly to the left. I'm off to market.