I'm actually rather enjoying this extended winter, it's nice to finally have a full few months of snow. Trouble is the snow came late here in the Maritimes and the last few storms have been doozies.
The extended winter has also served as a blessing, in that I've delayed entering my annual period of denial that the spring craft season is right ahead. With it actually now being spring I can't delay any longer - I need to get to work ASAP producing! I'm afraid I've been having a hard time motivating myself to work on critters, it's not that I haven't been busy, I work on a felting almost every day... but I've mostly been working on feltscapes... I've only made one animal so far this year, a bright pink angora rabbit, which will be finding it's was to Made in the Maritimes Artisan Boutique later next month along with a few other fibre friends.
This past Christmas I decided to meet 2015 face on and work at what I love the most. Thankfully Argyle Fine Art gave me some extra motivation to help get me started and I created 5 miniature felted scenes for their annual Pre-Shrunk show.
Pre-Shrunk was immediately followed by another favourite show of mine, Cat Person/Dog Person. Initially I planned to finally finish off my "Rocking River Rocker" (AKA Cat Chair).... but the first of the heavy duty snow storms made it impossible to even bring the in-progress piece back in from the annex.
So with that pieces on hold until further notice I went ahead and nearly made myself go blind felting a teensy tiny love story between a collie and an orange tabby. You can check out the making of that piece here.
In between all of my miniatures I decided to really just let myself experiment and go with the flow to see what I might learn. This was the start of what I've since made regular practice and I begin every other piece with just a vague idea in my head of where I want it to go. By adopting this practice I've discovered many new ways of working with the wool. My control over the medium improves every day and I feel like I'm working faster with much more control. In fact I find it addictive and I need to force myself to take breaks so that I don't strain my eyes/neck/back. (In fact this blog post is me taking a break because I was on a roll and my lower back was starting to burn. Felting is not easy on the body, you need to remember to stretch!)
My second goal of 2015 is to make more art for myself. Because I do so many markets I tend to make certain items over and over again because they are popular with customers. For the last six years I've been producing a line of owls, foxes and dragons, that although each one is different, I sometimes find myself bored with the repetitive process. It always feels great when I let myself break things up a bit and make something to truly satisfy myself. When I was young I did this all the time and that is why I loved to constantly create. Now and then I need to stop and remind myself to create pieces that make me happy, not just everyone else.
In February I decided to revisit one of my favourite creations, a feltscape that I made in 2010 for my dear friend, sculptor Kristie Sheehy of Avondale. The original Serious/Sirius was a response to the BP oil spill, I imagined that it's occurrences had sent out a beacon to the whales of Sirius; a warning that the earth had been poisoned and that steps needed to be taken before the earth as we knew it was beyond repair. According to legend our whales originally came to Earth from the constellation Sirius with the intent to at some point in time sacrifice themselves as a means of saving all human kind from extinction.
My latest Serious/Sirius piece depict sthe response to the beacon; a council being held among the whales of Sirius, our ancestors the Northern Lights and Mother Earth, herself.
I can't tell you how good this piece makes me feel. Swoon has a group show coming up entitled, No Place Like Home - and I think that my whales couldn't be a more suitable submission!
Now that we are two thirds of the way through March my upcoming schedule is becoming a bit daunting... I think I'll be skipping denial this year and jumping head on into panic mode. In addition to prepping for 4 shows in the next 2 months, I find I continually have a hard time saying no when it come to my beloved local volunteer organizations, the Hants County Arts Council and Avon River Heritage Society... so I have a few side projects in the works for them.
Last week I rebuilt the website for the museum in Avondale and this May I'm once again organizing the Great Little Art Show as well as producing the HCAC's 2015 Arts Digest. (Sometimes I really wish you could submit volunteer hours for a tax credit or something. Oh well, a girl can dream.)
In between these projects I've been working on a few agricultural themed pieces in honour of the 250th anniversary of the Hants County Exhibition. Just before this last storm I began a piece inspired by a photo that hung in my grandmothers house of the sheep at her grandparent's property in Bloomington. While working on the piece my brain faltered and I couldn't remember my great grandmother's maiden name, so I took to Google... within seconds I entered down a rabbit hole which eventually led me to the discovery that my great- great- great- great- great- grandmother arrived in Nova Scotia upon the Sally in 1752. Now, this summer when I return to operating my quaint little café along the shore of the Avon, I can proudly respond when asked "Are you Lydia or Sally?" - no, Sally was the name of the sloop that brought my great- great- great- great- great- grandmother to Nova Scotia! How wonderful is that? I knew the moment I first arrived in Avondale that I had a strong connection, now I have the proof!
God I love being an artist, it always leads me to the most wonderful discoveries. Speaking of, this July I have been asked to display my work at the Wolfville Memorial Library. This opportunity is especially dear to me as we used to live just down the street from the library and I have many strong memories of our brief time in Wolfville, which I have decided to revisit through feltscapes.
My first piece for this show is entitled "Conversation with Snow White" and depicts the moments before I made the brutal discovery that some people are in fact make believe and my questions for Snow would never be answered. This piece taught me a great deal about myself and how from then I began restricting myself from truly feeling excitement when it came to anticipating a big event. I realize I formed this habit as a way of avoiding the pain of disappointment. I think the process of rediscovering these seemingly momentous experiences during the fourth year of my life will prove itself very cathartic. I think it is time to move past limitations that I set so many moons ago and devote myself to making the absolute most of this lifetime. and if that means letting myself get excited about big events, well then I'm going to get excited!
Apparently making the most of things means keeping myself incredibly busy... well, I think my muscles are rest, time to get back at it!
For those of you trying to keep up, here is a list of events I'm participating in over the next few months:
April 18th & 19th - Halifax Crafters Spring Market, Olympic Centre, Halifax
May 2nd & 3rd - Dartmouth Makers, King's Wharf, Dartmouth
May 8th - 31st - The 17th Annual Great Little Art Show, Avon River Heritage Society Museum, Newport Landing
May 23rd & 24th - 250th Anniversary Hants County Ex; Art in Agriculture Festival, Exhibition Grounds, Windsor
July - Solo Show, Wolfville Memorial Library