Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Head in the Clouds

One of many amazing cloud photos I took while out walking in Stratford this summer.

Well hello there! 

I wish I could show you a picture of this morning's sunrise here in Stratford, ON. Pink clouds streaked across a baby blue sky while the waning moon hung heavy and silver and the seagulls wheeled across it all, flashing white and black.  I stood and watched for awhile, marveling for the umpteenth time just how beautiful the skies have been this summer.

Has anyone else noticed this? 

It has been a summer of gorgeous skies.

Another Stratford sunrise I tried to hold on to.

Or maybe I've just been tuned in to clouds lately. My two current bodies of work have got me thinking about how clouds are formed and how we make sense of them visually.

Is the duck thinking about clouds too?

In my April post (Yikes - Instagram is taking over my posting habits!) I wrote about the inspiration and method behind the St. Lawrence Estuary Series, which I was just starting.

You can see that clouds are a large part of the scene. That forced me to pay attention to how we perceive depth in clouds and got me looking to the skies for solutions.

The first four studies in the St. Lawrence Estuary series, inspired by a single magnificent sunset over the rising river.

I started with smaller studies and then started to increase the scale. This method of 'sampling' began with the Making Waves series and has now become an important part of how I work.

My latest completed piece in the Estuary series is 9" x 12 "x 1" and makes good use of what I learned from the studies.

19:43:34 on August 1, 2018, St. Lawrence Estuary Series, Wool and Beeswax on Wood Panel, 9" x 12" x 1"

One of my goals for 2019 is to work on hand dyeing local wools to use in my art work. I used onion skins  and wool from Steel Wool Farms in Blyth for my first experiment.

Local wool hand dyed with onion skins to use in my work.

The colours from the onion skin dye needed to be placed against a blue, I thought, to look their best. Blue got me thinking about sky and sky led to clouds and I was off - dreaming about clouds again, but subtle orangey-pink clouds zoomed in close.

At the same time, I was reading When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron and I was taken with her idea of the dramas we build around our lives beginning to collapse as we stop feeding them energy. Hence the working title for this body of work - Collapsing Dramas.

What my work table looked like yesterday morning. Collapsing Dramas series in progress.

On September 28th & 29th, I am offering my first ever intensive style workshop in Blyth, Ontario. Over the years, many of you have asked to learn how to work 'over the corners' on gallery style panels as I do in my work. Well, good news, this workshop covers that and a lot more. We will talk about incorporating other media into your work, like fabric and paint. We will also work on developing an idea from scratch to finished product. Learn more and register here.

Special thanks goes out to Jennifer Triemstra-Johnston, director of the Fashion Arts & Creative Textiles Studio in Blyth, Ontario for hosting this workshop and also for showing my work in the stunning new FACTS gallery, along with many other talented local fibre artists.

Working with the botanically dyed wool from the FACTS natural dyeing weekend 2018. 2019's classes are this weekend! More info here.
The last quarter of 2019 promises to be a busy one. October brings speaking engagements, the Ontario Hand Spinners' conference and Woolstock while November and December take us into holiday sales and exhibitions.

I'm looking forward to a faster pace and a little bustle as the weather turns colder, but it also makes me so grateful to have had this long summer of amazing skies with my head lost in the clouds.

Wishing you loads and loads of harvest cozy!


Summer sunrise over Stratford, ON.