Woodland Wool hits the road!

Is there a better way to welcome in autumn than a road trip across Nova Scotia?

To a corner I'm not incredibly familiar with at that...

I think not!

Next week my friend Michelle and I are headed off to Amherst for the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival. This is my first time participating in this event and I'm so excited to not only be showing my work, but I'm also leading a needle felting workshop.

In this introductory class we will explore the basics of building a three dimension landscape that depicts one of my favourite landscapes, the gypsum cliffs in St Croix, Hants County, Nova Scotia.

What you can expect to cover:
- brief history of needle felting
- explanation of tools and materials
- advice for planning a piece
- layering your background; including sky, grass and clouds
- building up a scene by adding layers (trees, rocks, water etc)
- how to press a piece
- adding three dimensional aspects (grass, sheep)

Intro to Feltscapes
Wednesday October 12th, 9am - 12pm
Christ Church, Multipurpose Room, 5 Lawrence Street, Amherst, NS

All materials are included and the cost is $75/person; maximum 12 participants.
To register call (902) 757-2233 or email  tacha.reed@gmail.com



Bryan says I'm a workaholic - perhaps it's true. I have a habit of over committing, I have the best intentions, life just gets in the way sometimes and things always tend to take longer than you'd think.

Space In Between
I had hoped that this summer I would be able to create a new piece each week for my series "within every fibre" currently on display at the Flying Apron Inn & Cookery in Summerville (the other Summerville, just a little further down the Avon River, along Highway 215).

My challenge to myself was to work looser; I've really gotten absorbed in the details lately and I wanted to try and simplify. Didn't quite work out :)

I took a little longer with "Familiar Face" than expected... like 3 weeks. There were just so many layers and I wanted the final effect to be subtle, but I didn't want to lose the contrast in the cliffs and banks. I had to put it aside for a few days here and there so that I wouldn't chance over working it... and then we had our museum audit at work and all life stood still for a few days. It may be a few weeks late, but I'm pretty happy with the end result.
Familiar Face

I had been planning a feltscape of Cheverie beach next, but then I received an invite from the Wolfville Memorial Library to show there this November. Last summer I began a series (best intentions) that was centered around my time living in Wolfville when I was 3 and 4 years old. I have many intense memories from that period and realize now that I suffered a great deal of disappointment in my early years, which eventually led to me developing a shell to inhibit excitement. With this collection I wanted to capture that moment of anticipation prior to my eternal disappointment. Conversation with Snow White is a prime example of this. I unearthed many memories planning this series, I'm happy to have the opportunity to work them out in fibre.

I love when my art is revealed to me like a puzzle... when I began working on "within every fibre" I soon discovered it was going to be a series on reflection; reflection of the river and reflection of myself.

I Believe I Can Fly         

Now that I've been given a chance for a re-do I've decided to explore more of my childhood memories between capturing my favourite sites along the Avon River.

My latest memory involves my first kitty, Fluffy. I only had the pleasure of knowing Fluffy for a few weeks, but he certainly made an impression. Fluffy was a wild little critter who thought he was invincible. Fluffy was my first love, a love that was cut short. My father found Fluffy along the curb just outside our house and buried him in the wee patch of grass along the side of the road. Every time we went out I would look and try to figure out where he was buried, so I could say a silent hello in my head. Luckily we didn't live in the house very long, we were in Port Williams a season or two later.

A few years ago my dad joined Bryan and I and several of our friends for a viewing of a Led Zeppelin concert at the theater in Wolfville. Afterwards we went to my friend Eric's house for an evening of conversation, as we pulled out of the driveway to head back home my father exclaimed "hey, that was my house!"

Life is so interesting, happy to know that I can say hi to Fluffy whenever I stop by to visit Eric.


Within Every Fibre

You Always Remember your First
Over the last few months I have been using what little spare time I have to work towards a collection I've entitled "Within Every Fibre".

This series began with a commission I received to create a commemorative piece for the 251st Hants County Exhibition

This was a great honour for me as I've become very attached to my adoptive home and consider myself an ambassador for the Avon River Valley.  

As I created this piece, inspired by my favourite part of the exhibition, the carnival, I couldn't get the image of my grandmother out of my head. 

The organizers had naturally requested that I include giant pumpkins in the composition, and for some reason I was really struggling with the thought of including them. I just couldn't picture them within the landscape I was developing in my mind.

As I tried to push past the pumpkins and focus on all of the other elements, the same vision kept coming back to me over and over again, distracting me from my work.  

After I was about 20 hours into my ambitious exhibition piece I decided to take a break and finally felt that portrait of my grandmother, who was haunting my brain. 

Clear as day I can still picture her posing on top of Willy Neily's giant pumpkin, which was bound for one of the very first pumpkin regattas. Dad made Grammy get rid of her cigarette, which at the time upset me because Jean always had a smoke in her hand. I debated putting it back into my felted piece, it would be the truth after all... but I decided that I'd rather not be distracted by her ciggy, as she was much more than her addiction.

When I decided to create this collection to display at the Flying Apron Inn & Cookery this summer, I initially knew it was going to be centred around the landscape of the Avon River valley. 

What I didn't expect was to find that that the work would also be about reflection; the perfect reflection that appears when the Avon River is ever so briefly calm during the turning of the tides; and the reflections that have arisen in my mind as I worked away recreating the local scenery I admire most, embracing the memories they bring to the surface.  

As a child I spent the majority of my summers in Nictaux Falls with my grandparents, exploring the woods, rivers and shores (and our beloved Frenchy's of course). My parents didn't have a car, so this meant a 4 hour bus ride to the "Heart of the Valley" along the long and winding highway #1.

There were a number of landmarks along the way that served as milestones for my lengthy journey. Always a relief to see was the giant orange orb way up in the sky - the signage for the Gulf gas station in Coldbrook. This meant that there was only an hour or so left to go until we reached Middleton! Just one more cassette tape to listen to - I needed to make sure it was a peppy one (usually Talking Heads "Little Creatures").

The first landmark I always anticipated seeing along that drive would be the gypsum cliffs in Saint Croix. Little did I know that one day I would discover that the edge of these cliffs actually begin in the woods just behind my house, practically in my own back yard!

Inner Reflection

Since moving to Ellershouse I have been drawn into an amazing community of creative people thanks to my involvement with the Hants County Arts Council and the Avon River Heritage Society. My position managing the museum in Avondale has led me to develop a great fondness for the Avon River and its interesting past involving the Mi'kmaq, Acadians and New England Planters. It's amazing to think that for a brief period of time ships ruled this area and the wooden ship building industry generated a great deal of wealth for certain members of the community. One day I hope to get my hands on one of these properties!

Lately I find much of my work being inspired by the shoreline that leads to the Bay of Fundy. Thanks to my job I have the luxury of watching the tides of the Avon River role in almost every day. The fact that I get to spend each and every Wednesday and Thursday afternoon taking part in Open Studio at the museum is a blessing, and just might have a little to do with my current infatuation with muddy water. I love being able to create while literally being surrounded by this phenomenal river - purely magical!

The Avon River Heritage Museum at High Tide. 17 Belmont Road, Newport Landing/Avondale, Hants County, Nova Scotia

This summer I will have "Within Every Fibre" on display at the Flying Apron Inn and Cookery in Summerville, throughout July and August. My intention is to add a new piece to the collection each week. 
Every Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, through to October, I will be creating on location at the museum in Avondale, continuing to work on new pieces for this collection, with a final showing on Tuesday, October 11th at Nova Scoitia Fibre Art's Festival in Ahmerst.

Please be sure to follow my progress on Facebook for updates on the next piece to arrive at the Flying Apron.

The Flying Apron Inn & Cookery, Summerville, Hwy 215, at Block Wharf Road


Pre-Shrunk 2016

 It's time again for my most favourite new year's tradition - Argyle Fine Art's annual Pre-Shrunk group show. Each year artists compete to be a part of this collection of 200+ miniature works of art.

As usual I had to out-do my creations from last year and add even more detail to each piece.

Let's just say that the 3-D petals on the front row of these sunflowers took over 3 hours alone.

Fields of Gold
I made sure to include a 3-D element with each of these tiny pieces, but I think my favourite is the sneaky little squirrels enjoying the snow.

As usual I'm really looking forward to the opening, it looks like a girls night in the big city might be forming. Look out Halifax - here we come!

Looking for Lunch
All are welcome to join us for the opening reception on Friday, January 22nd at 7pm. If you can't make it to the opening the show will continue until February 13th.  The entire exhibit will also be online on their website, after the show has officially opened at www.argylefineart.com

Argyle Fine Art
1559 Barrington Street
Halifax, NS
B3J 1Z7