New work in progress

I was invited to create a work or two to share what is being called an epidemic in many communities in canada. It’s a project that is the result of the research and studies of Susan Brogly who has been involved with opioid research at Queen’s. I’m so saddened to hear of the many deaths due to fentanyl, and that many of the overdose deaths are because the person did not know it was in what they were taking. In what I’ve heard and read, and

Attempts to understand it, I started to piece together a work that is helping me explore and hopefully share some of what I’m learning through my sculpture. 

In process: 

 Though the grant may or may not be in the works for this exhibition I recall have to stay on top of commission type work so I can have enough time to finish the piece. My Sculpture takes a good long time to complete so I’d rather learn and react through my work at the time the new understanding impacts my thought process rather than wait for the finances to become available. I have enough time in my studio to do both at the moment.

July in the studio

I’m back to work again on some 3 or 4 pieces in my new smaller  studio.   

I’m working on three levels these days, one for a potential project coming up that tries to marry science and art with a study on opioid addiction.  I’m trying to capture what might be the euphoria sought by users that keeps them coming back until the physical addiction sets in.  And meanwhile I’m trying to come up with a second piece for the same show.

Next a piece for an upcoming OKWA show where we have decided foe Canada’S 150 th we would explain how another Canadian Artist has influenced us and why.    I chose Elizabeth Winwood of course.  As there are a lot of similar subject matter choices fo us when you look at how her sculpture was influenced by the landscape and her connection with the Group of Seven the obviously.   


This is a Win Wood piece that is so beautiful.  Her work feels to me like what later Lauren Harris’ work would have looked like, if he had been moved to become a sculptor.  

And then I’m starting on a new experiment with incorporating glass and things inside and outside of the glass.  I love that feeling of the visible but untouchable that happens.  It’s similar to we know something exists but we can’t make it tangible or explain it well enough to make it solid in our minds.  It’s of the world but not.  So I’m playing with that. 

 My miniature water colour pendants of historic buildings of downtown Kingston were selling quite well out of my studio for the last year with no promotion.    With that I approached the tourist booth aXtoo far I’ve had to restock the tourist booth three times this summer!  I’m really happy with these results of that efforts because they have now managed to pay or themselves and I have lots left over so anything else’s that sells is a profit!  I’m till wandering about downtown taking pictures to continue work on next years batch.  

So lots going on especially when things seem so quiet!   

Installation work : Can I make your wedding dress?

The last two months have been quite busy but I was excited to be able to take over the wall at the end of the second floor of the Tett.  I had a lot of space and was able to start working on pieces new and old and hang them together on some interesting ways and add to them in connecting ways.  

I can’t say that the work is finished because it needs a few more connections but I did love the way it hung.  

I haven’t had much time in my studio but I have been working on quite a few other things.  I’m trying to get my polyclay group up and running, I designed a logo for a local gardening group

I have been taking a surface design course at St. Lawrence college with Bethany Garner called Surface Design in Stitch.  I enjoy the push weeeklybto create especially as I continue to seek ways to meet the growing needs of my sculpture life.  I started orientation for a job that in the end didn’t fit with my life as much as I’d hoped but during an orientation day I was able to design some a new fabric.  Check out spoonflower !

I digitally painted a custom order for a house

I finalized my pendant line and have them available at the Kingston tourist station across from city hall and in my studio. Speaking of which I moved into my new studio last weekend.

So I would say…it’s been a busy productive time and I’ve attended a number of art talks ans am reading two books, one called After Art that talks about how the internet and sense of place is opening up the world of images yo everyone and over coming the social, cultural and economic  barriers to openly share images with everyone so though the idea of  othe art collection continues its hold on the reigns of power is being undermined greatly.  How art is becoming more about relationships and setting up social experiments to reveal the underpinnings of human relationships and expected norms of behaviour.  Apparently I’m very old school still finding meaning from my personal journey as an artist and valuing the art object.  Oh well, we will see where this goes.  The other book is called beyond resemblance which is about the demise of great meaning from the abstract pieces and how this kind of experiment is now becoming obsolete in terms of the history of art.

That’s mostly what’s been doing, with little time to reflect or write.  Hopefully again soon!  

Adding a honeycomb piece to the loom structure.

 I tend to collect a lot of items that I think are visually interesting, a habit many people do especially those of us who are very visually based beings.  I don’t know too many artist types who don’t surround themselves with items that inspire or resonate.   I’ve started this addition from a new board game my son got for Christmas two years ago.  Once all the pieces needed for the game were popped out, this lovely form was something I just had to hold onto.  

In the last few months I’ve been going through my stash of collected goodies and started wrapping and encasing them in paper clay so I can carve back into them and have them ready for when I see they can fit into something I am or will be building.  I find that doing the work of encasing the forms makes it easier for me to connect them with my own monotoned work. Before I do that I can’t really see any way of making a solid connection with what I do.  That chaos of colour is really impossible for me to overcome.  But it’s really just in my own sculpture work, as I likely have mentioned before.  
In my two dimensional work colour tends to be quite vibrant.  It’s interesting to me that I seem to have to access different parts of my brain working in the 2D and 3D worlds.  One can process colour the other refuses to do so.  

Moon-First crazy loom…finished and in place

This was my first crazy loom piece and it turned out much better than I imagined!  I think the third one I want to build will be a moon-sun.



New crazy Loom design


Worked on this structure this week.  Started to think about how to thread the paper yarn through the edges, rather than around.  I’m hoping to get an evenly spaced woven surface that crosses through itself at different points when the sculpture is finished.  Still thinking of using several different fibres to add texture and sheen.  

New learning!

I have joined the Handloom weavers and spinners guild of Kingston! My work has certainly been leading down this path.  I spent a weekend learning to weave and made a colour sampler scarf, and last weekend and this weekend I will be spinning my own yarn.  So far I love spinning far better than weaving though I would like to weave my own backdrops for some of my sculptures instead of purchasing fabric.  It’s part of that need I have to have a hand in everything that I use for a piece of work.  

The importance of labour and the idea of a thing “being a labour of love”continues to be an important aspect of my work in sculpture.  So many hours are represented in the sanding, carving, sewing, manipulation of a work.  Each movement of the artist is recorded as the shape and design move through time, changing to become the finished piece. It’s a tangible stable record of a time, and of all the moments of the process and every decision is recorded there.   
 As so may sculptors seem to be happy to have a piece  move farther away from the one who developed the concept.  The making becoming more like a production with many hands lending their expertise to a single work.  The project can draw upon other minds and be of a grander scale than any single person could manage.  The results can indeed be amazing!  Which is likely why in sculpture it seems to be very easy to out source parts or all of the making. It really becomes about the concept and that is fine too.
I have never been drawn to that way of working- separating concept from making. That kind of step takes away from exposing the limits of what I really know,.  By handing a piece over to be painted or molded by skilled person or group of people takes it away from my accurately recording my journey.  That journey from concept through process is the very thing that draws me into work, it’s where unexpected forms of discovery occur and means so much more than the goal of finishing a work.  
It is so important to me that I maintain the intimate humanness of the work, as I fumble about trying to solve every question the making asks of me and the knowing that each work is a record of the way I learned to manage problems as they arose.  It’s a record of the way my spirit sings and mind works.  It would then seem to be much more of a loss when art loses the artist’s unique development of an object.  There is too much to be discovered inprinting your own hand and mind to each moment you are immersed in the making of a piece.  Farming out the work feels to me like we are accepting that the mind can be separated from the body.  
Maybe it’s a control thing for me, but it seems important for me to honour that integration of spirit mind and body in my work…so I have been led to learn about more about fibre and the spinning of wool and weaving or crocheting  to add those elements to my sculptural language, honestly with all its unskilled imperfection.  

Small additions to much larger work

 I’‘ve been working on a new piece for a few months.
  This work began as an attempt to work in reverse from the way I usually work, from clay structure  to adding fiber as secondary.  I’ve been immersing myself in the fibre world since early summer and have learned so much but there is an endless supply of things to learn.  Another lifetime of study, which makes me happy.  I’ve been taking a number of classes with Kingston Handweavers and spinners Guild, as well as attending some events and shows from here to Toronto.  So in line with this and all I’ve been reading and you tubing I wanted to start this piece from the fiber rather than the clay.  

I can see a greater freedom of movement suddenly avaiable to me in which I can see incorporating the clay work.  It will likely affect the way I build up my clay and force me to use it in entirely different ways!  Exciting!  

I have been reading and sourcing some paper yarns and threads.  I think I need to explore more ways of creating fiber like surfaces with weaving paper or buying Paper rather than using fiber though…it seems truer to my art form. There are a lot of beautiful papers but they feel stiff and don’t move like cloth, so I am not quite ready to give up my fibre research yet.  

I am just learning to weave on different types of looms, such as the inkle loom with cards, and the jack loom.  I just wonder how I can add texture with paper.  The great thing is I have very knowledgable people at the guild who have spent most of their lives on the process.  Next I will learn how to spin with my heart set on spinning my own art yearn.  

I’ve been weaving in any only way that I can, and it at best is only rudimentary.  But alot of the beauty I see is in the less refined woven work is what I’m drawn too,  it reveals the human side eof the quation much better than the perfection of the experienced worker and the machine that now makes most of our cloth and yarn.  I need to do this by hand as I do all my work, as it is what gives me the real satisfaction in learning new skills and making the work analyzeable through my own unique lens.


Steps in a new direction…continue

Here’s what has happened during the last two weeks. I’ve been strongly influenced by all the historical costume I see while I am researching the hostory of Ireland.  My daughter wants to go there when she is done school in two years.  I might be bringing it to the Okwa critique happening in a few short days.  I hope you can get out to see the OKWA show at the Tett.   


I’ve finished two pieces started last fall based on the theme, winged prayers.  An idea offered by an old school mate of mine from graphic design at st. Lawrence, was to design dragonflies.   His family has attached some symbolism to the image of dragonflies, o taken with that idea  the dragonfly carries meaning beyond its physical being, I became drawn to the idea of  making wings in that familiar shape.  I made 5 sets of wings each one thinly patterned by line and I trusted the paper sculpt to  hold up to remind us of the delicacy and beauty and balance of any living being,  I did finish two rather lovely pieces based on that idea.  I love the delicate way the wings turned out and the obvious art nouveau influences!  Didn’t those 1910 – 1930 folks know how to make bugs beautifully!