Welcome to the worldly adventures of SEVEN

SEVEN is a collective of multi-disciplined artists from rural Nova Scotia. Collaboration is the foundation for creativity, where each artist responds artistically in her own medium to a selected theme. Through collective discourse, various elements combine to form a much richer body of thought - adding new and perhaps unforeseen levels of creativity and interpretation.

Rurally routed to their tidal landscape, SEVEN knows, what goes out, does come in.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


I've been thinking a lot about the word exchange.  I will not be joining my artistic companions in Denmark, and the nature of my exchange will be filtered.

Philisophically I find this very interesting.  Thre are only so many experiences we, with our limits, can have.  There are newspapers, novels and friends.  But when opening our lens to the world, even the neighbourhood next door, it seems, we need to invite more.

Something should happen in an exchange.  Something zingy.  A moment of recognition.  Like what happens when you look down and see your shape squished in tall grasses, moonlight filling it.

When I think of exchange, I imagine a lapse in emotional distance, connection in the midst of context laid sometimes with care, sometimes thoughtlessly, sometimes by chance.  From this vantage, a major part of any exchange is actually the background:   your life's accumulation of sleep, the number of times you have known yourself wrong, good;  whether you count swiftly, slowly by ones, tens, hundreds, zeroes.

SEVEN is seven people sharing one context some of the time.  We meet for three hours once a month, mostly doing business.  Ok, so who is going to write that grant?  The blog schedule is as follows....   My job is to write the agenda and make sure we stay on track so we can get the work done.  I like creating a safe place for others and myself.  I like laying the context and don't mind when it is dull, flat, distanced.  But my job is also to make sure we get the business done, so there is time to share our art, our experiences, laughs.

Even after the agenda is followed and everyone has had a chance to speak  ...we often want more.   I don't even think I know what it is precisely.  But I do know when it has happenned.

At the last meeting of SEVEN, I explained that I just didn't know how to respond artistically to the Denmark show.   I was truly happy for everyone going ...but that wasn't cutting it.   Emotionally, I felt too disconnected.   They said, well, you could write about that.  "Oh great." I laughed with them; then with a deepened radio announcer voice boomed,  "The indifference of Kelly."

Not exactly something to be proud of; but potentially, a starting point.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Resistance, reluctance - patience!

Time is running - Departure Date is coming closer .... the lists are getting longer...... excitement is sending uneasy and joyful currents through my body and soul.
I had a good friend visiting on the weekend. We always end up talking and talking and our ideas and thoughts on business, artwork, and execution of same is never ending.
Some of the things on my to-do list for this particular trip to Denmark are very business related. There are papers to read, sign, send off, all in time for everything to be in place by the time I have to start packing my suitcase.
This seems to create a certain resistance in my head, a reluctance in my body to move and get what needs to be done done - and why is that???
I have asked that question again and again. Some sort of a answer has shown the first little leaves of its nature.
There is a lot of uncertainty in my head about how my business model fits into the great system of tax and government regulations which one has to abide and model a business by in order to legally and easily export/import goods from Canada to Denmark.
Pam described some of this very eloquently in her earlier blog post from May 6th 2010.
Breath in, Breath out ........  I just have to saddle the horse and tackle it all one step at a time.

And so on this bright day where the barn swallow on the lines outside the bedroom window enticed me to get up with the sun I am in great luck, since it is a holiday and I cannot possibly call around to agencies to get answers to my questions.
I have to be patient and this in turn will allow me to work on the red tapestry some more. Right now the sun is shining on the bench by the loom so I had better go in and feel the warmth and the joy.

Comments about other grand ways of coping with growing pains are very welcome, or..... other comments in general.
Input is always appreciated!

Pia, the Warped One, who was also the Twisted One for a little while this morning (some final spinning had to be done for another project before the words for this blog would arrive and line up)

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Beauty that Surrounds Us

I'm feeling particularly lucky these days to spend my mornings walking through the Acadian Forest which surrounds my home. Birds chirping, rabbits scurrying, native flowers blooming, brooks babbling - all of these wonderful elements appeal to my every sense. Combine this experience with the smell of sunshine beaming down on evergreens, a burst of flavour from a fresh wintergreen berry....and what can I say but inspiration abounds. My work is directly linked to these experiences and the joy this simple daily pleasure provides me with. It allows my imagination to run wild! As I bring these experiences back to my studio, ready with brush to canvas, I shut my eyes and remember the feeling and energy of the rabbit hopping in front of me along the path or the quirky call of an unidentified bird following me and my dog through the forest.

I often have my camera with me on my walks so that I always have something to refer back to, like the small window in which the wild orchids (Lady Slippers) are in bloom, or the tracks of an animal in the snow. It is from these photos and my memories of each daily jaunt that I begin to create my mixed medium pieces.

(top photo: Trillium, middle photo: Wild Orchid (Lady Slipper), bottom photo: rhododendron canadense.

Thanks for reading my post and stay tuned for more posts of actual pieces created for SEVEN's trip to Denmark!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Working Along

Today marks the six week countdown for all work to be finished to ship to Denmark.  My focus will be to do about twenty pieces and choose my favorite from that work to send.
The last few days I have been fusing silk in both sculpture and hanging art.

My exchange for Denmark will involve taking as much of my home, community and province with me as I am able through my work.   From my living room window I look out upon the shores of Minas.  When the tide is in, it is beautiful blues against the clay banks and dyke grasses.  When the tide is out I see miles of marshy mud and smell the musty odor of briny ocean.  These are the things I miss when I leave my home.

Today I worked on a canvas of silk fusion, and now have the background layers done. This was done directly from the view from my window.  I will continue to work on this piece alternately with others, to try to catch the essence of the almost full tide.  Of necessity it will be done an hour later every day until I loose the lights with the shifting of the tide.

Another piece is sculptured silk influenced by the tangle of Boston Ivy growing on the side of my house.   Ivy is my favorite of all plant life.  The layers developing over the years and the intersections and paths followed by the vines, bring to mind the relationships over years of people and the paths and connections made by us.

Like everything else the Ivy is just coming into leaf, new beginnings, re-awakenings and rebirth that is spring.

Our group Seven is like spring, eternally evolving, renewing and exciting me on to bigger pursuits.
Marilyn Rand, The senior of SEVEN,  Lambs Run Farm...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Customs...required homework.

Earlier this year I took the opportunity to join an In Market Educational Export program travelling to Chicago with NSBI. I wanted to have the experience of travelling with ‘samples’ and making my way through customs as well as learning the ins and outs of exporting. The Centre for Women in Business had provided a workshop to inform 7, The Artists Collective what we needed to research before our Danish adventure.

I was bringing jewellery samples and could have adorned my body, my travelling companions and my suitcase to avoid this step at customs but what would I have gained? This way I was able to see the inner sanctums, meet some eventually friendly agents and have a personal escort by the head of the U S port authority to the boarding area!

Preparations. Use your business letterhead and make an itemized and detailed list of all samples including prices. Take copies of the list. That I did. Declare that I am bringing in commercial samples. That I did. (This puts up a yellow flag for each inspector.) No problem…as I knew I had followed the right steps. So my first jewellery showing was on the moving belt. Too bad these folks have to remain so stone faced. I don’t know if he was impressed with my work or not but he did think it worthy enough to ask me to show it to the fellow at the next desk. The red flag was thrown down.

Jewellery showing # 2. “Do you have a carnet?” he says. “What?” I say. “I guess not” he says. And the conversation carries on mostly about the fact that I will definitely be bringing the samples back…Not Selling Them. He feels I should meet another member of the team ... so I am escorted into the next room behind the frosted glass doors. This is a large room with a waiting area, a few tall desks with computers and no people. I take my seat and check the time. In a few minutes I am greeted by a gentleman who asks for my passport and I wait patiently while all the details are entered in the computer. We carry on the same conversation about my intentions with the samples. He is convinced I should be able to take them but maybe I haven’t used the right forms. He’ll just call in the new head of  Homeland Security Halifax Airport and see what he thinks.

Jewellery Showing #3 This was my best showing yet! We had a great conversation about my use of recycled vinyl records, his love of music and Nova Scotia. His concern had shifted to Canada Border Services and how would I be able to get these back into Canada. They were both kind enough to be aware of my flight time. He sees no problem but will call an agent from Canada Border Services to join us at the boarding gate.
It was interesting, to say the least, to see the members of the trade mission watch me and my uniformed escort make our way through the lounge. We had met the previous week.

Another 10 minutes pass while we wait. He asks for my business card so he can show his wife my website. The previous inspector arrives with a paper. He has been searching the document ‘Importation of Commercial Samples'. It is a copy of page 12 and after reading this says I am good to go. The CBS agent arrives and says they have no problem either. I’ve got time left to grab a juice and a muffin, greet my travelling companions and let my red cheeks return to normal before boarding.

I did it an acceptable way but could have avoided this by visiting CBS and filing an E-15 or shipped the samples to arrive before me. A Carnet is only necessary with goods valued over $2000.00. Next time I will dot the i’s and cross the t’s twice! Good thing I had arrived the required 2 hours early for the flight. Denmark should be a breeze after this.  Pam