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.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Brunch with SEVEN

The day was full of sunshine as SEVEN members got together one last time before the send off to Denmark. We shared yummy food, finalized some business, and watched Kelly's fabulous poetry of her words and photographs of the Bay of Fundy. Things have come together with a lot of work, sweat, hope, stress, support and a dream to make it all happen. Wishing the group much success, many adventures from Nova Scotia to Denmark, and lots more stories to come.            

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Arrival and departure

It is early in the morning and I am done sleeping for now anyways.
Yesterday was a big day - which started out with an email notice that our crate is ..... Where it is supposed to be for now, in storage with the shipping company in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Phew, deep breath, now it is time to start thinking seriously about how to and what to pack.

Except there was one more important point before commencing to pack to take care of yesterday. A couple of months ago we had contacted the local CBC Radio Station to let them know that we were up to something exciting, interesting, something worth while informing their listeners about. Yesterday on the programme Close to Home, CBC Radio I had a few minutes in a telephone interview to talk about our adventure and our plans.
I prepared lists, I called around to the SEVEN ladies and asked questions about which words specifically they wanted me to use when/if describing their works,I made lists, plural, mostly because I was doing it on the confounded confuser and so ... In the heat of the moment I deleted the first very exciting and full list. Once I discovered that and I had my breathing under control again I made a new very satisfying list with our general goals and other important stuff.
Then it was time for the interview and ... Time flies when you are having fun they say, even nervous fun I now know is covered by this, for ... In two blinks of an eye Yvonne Colbert was wrapping it up again and I was hanging up the phone.
On the table in front of me was the initial hand drafted list and on the screen was the confuser list and in looking them over I realised that I hadn't really covered one tenth of what I really wanted to express, and talk about. So many points of importance (to us I might ad)so little time, and in real life I suppose that what would suit my needs as an incessant talker would be more like a three hour show featuring a monologue or perhaps a panel discussion with SEVEN.
In hind sight it probably is very good that I only got a few minutes, they took enough planning as it was and overall I think we are ready to start the trip and not interested in anymore time consuming planning sessions in order to make another another large impact statement.
As we are just arriving in Denmark the second of two articles written about us in a Danish arts/craft magazine, Husfliden will be sent out to their membership - we had to make sure we were covered in the Danish Press as well. We have been in contact with the local newspaper covering the area where we are exhibiting at the gallery in København, Østerbroavisen and I know that they are working on making room for our press release as well as the ad we have ordered. It is beyond exciting to be doing this, beyond description to feel the wave of support we have met where ever we have turned, and this is only the beginning, we aren't even there yet. Wow is all I can say!

Group Goals which help us keep focused:
1. Create opportunities/shows together
2. Artistic companionship
3. Professinal Development: artistic and the business of being an artist
4. Yipppeee Factor ... Getting Juiced Up!

We are on our way,

Yeeeehaaaaaww, this is me galloping across the kitchen floor swinging a skein of yarn with glee!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Boo Hoo - A change of plans with a happy ending!

It's raining today. To make myself feel better - it was probably a bad day to be traveling. I was supposed to be leaving this evening for Heathrow Airport and a 3 day stopover in London before I flew to Copenhagen. Three weeks ago I realized there was no way I could afford this trip and told the group that I couldn't go. The main reason is money. I'm a self employed single artist so saving money is rarely an option.  Another reason is timing and I need these summer months to keep my business going and money coming in. There is no partner of any kind to share the load. It's all up to me to make it happen and so far this summer money just hasn't been coming in like I had hoped. There are many things that have gotten in the way of this trip. I wanted so badly to go with the group and see first hand the responses to our work at the Gallery openings. I had also planned an extended trip in order to take advantage of an expensive trip to Europe. 

Back in October 2009, I realized I needed employment to help pay for this trip and to help myself make a transition in careers. I have no commitments like pets or family to look after, it would be the perfect opportunity to take off to Europe. Would I ever get this chance again? I wanted to get away from familiar things while I figured out what I was going to do for a career and also to keep healing from the copper poisoning. It was to be about some self - discovery and observation of the people in Europe. What's trendy, popular or in style in Europe usually gets here a little later so I figured it would give me a leg up in terms of ideas for making money. I got a job serving at a little cafe in town on November 1st. Closed my studio December 31st, then moved into a 3 month house sit. I was looking after 2 crazy Border Collies and would be saving on 3 months rent in a beautiful house perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Minas Basin.  When I was interviewed for the job I was upfront about leaving and told them I was going to go for 5 - 6 months. By mid - March I had $700.00 in the bank for the trip and was caught up with debts. Then I walked into work for my regular shift one day and saw a new waitress working. I wondered what was going on and who got fired? Turns out it was me! They told me that because I couldn't work Saturdays (never did because of my stall at the Farmer's Market) and because I was leaving in July they realized I didn't fit into their 'restructuring' of the cafe. They said sorry and I was terminated on the spot with a 2 week severance payment (what was legally required). After a month of looking for work and not finding anything I could do or to find anyone that would hire me for only a few months I realized that I would just have to make money on my own and try not to spend any. I also decided that a 5-6 month trip was too long and reduced it to 2 months. I bought and paid for my flight with a friend's air miles - the tax alone was almost $500.00 and figured I was halfway there. Then came 2 months of below average sales. Then came the opportunity for a perfect place to live and since I was bouncing around so much I decided that planting roots was important and maybe I could manage it all. WRONG! The stress was just too much, and when that happens my body reacts with pain and stiffness so I made the decision to cancel the trip. Once I made that plan the anxiety tension in my shoulders and head released its grip and when that happened I realized that my flight was bought and paid for and it would only cost me $90 to change it. So I did! I am going ahead with the same trip I'll just miss out on the Gallery openings, traveling with the group and interacting with the people who are interested in our work. I'll be missing a lot and I am sad about that. Now I am going when I am normally doing nothing much other than recouperating from the Christmas season and thinking of new things to do for the New Year. I just booked my new flight today. I leave on the 4th of January and return on the 24th of February. The plan is to get on the train and go! Where? I'll start in Denmark, get the feel of the people and the city the group experienced - was thinking maybe one of the girls could plant something somewhere in Copenhagen for me to find when I get there! Then get on the train and do a big circle pattern thru Europe to bring me back to my departure in Denmark. Prague, Southern Italy and Greece are mandatory! The last thing I want to do is plan where and when I'll be - I know I'll like a place enough to stay a few extra days so I'll just wing it! Crazy plan? YES! Am I crazy enough to go traipsing thru Europe by myself at the age of 48? YES!

I'll be recording everything about the trip that I can. Video, sound, photographs, writing and drawing will come together in the form of a multi-media show. Live music, storytelling, poetry and performance will accompany the visual display. I'll figure out a way to display this at our follow-up show at the Craig Gallery and I'll definitely have it available at one of our local theaters. This format seems to be a natural progression for me so maybe this is what I'm meant to do for a creative outlet. Stay tuned!
Happily signing out and wishing my girls a very successful and safe trip. 
Marie xo

 This is me 20 years ago on my first trip to Europe.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


One week before our departure and I'm feeling quite contemplative.  Looking back on these 18 months of preparation, I see that my journey with SEVEN has been ripe with personal growth.

Learning to deeply and fully think as a member of a collective and not as a self-focused individual, has been quite an exciting ride.  In learning to give consideration to other's ideas and feelings and making space for others to expand and change, I seen that I've also learned to give myself these gifts as well.

"SEVEN to me, is collaboration and consensus.  With much play, discussion and laughter in our group, I find I'm continually challenged to see my art and my ideas from the perspective of the others."

I wrote this statement for a newspaper interview many months ago, and I feel that it's the heart of my experience with SEVEN.  Thank you, ladies.

The purpose of SEVEN's journey to Denmark is exchange. Exchange of ideas with Danish artists. Exchange of our agricultural/tidal culture with our Danish cousins. Exchange of the myriad elements that form my sense of place and will cross the ocean for a genuine exchange with another place and it's people.

my place - a muskoka chair in the trees
As I prepare myself for this exchange, I think of the people, here, who create the heart of my experience of our region. They shape the land, the economy, the lives and routines of those around them by being passionate and authentic. They make you want to drive many extra kilometers out of your way to engage in an exchange with them. In fact, by going out of our way to connect with these people, the out-of-the-way becomes THE way.

 These people, who are far too numerous to name and honour in the short time I have before our flight leaves, are, to me, the very breath of our place. This is the breath that I'll take to Denmark.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

How are home renovations and shipping art work the same?

I think we all know the answer to this. They both take alot more time and money than your best thought out estimate!
This was a true maze to wander through for us. Many paths were taken to reach the goal of having all art works in a crate and on their way to Copenhagen on time for an August 2nd set up day. We have learned so much, copious notes have been taken, many people/departments contacted and papers signed.

TA DA!!!!! VOILA!!!!!Its done now and here is a brief review of the last two months on the paper trail.

It started by a call to CBS to see just how to go about this. We were planning to ship all the art work in one crate and have all of it return to Nova Scotia. This way we wouldn't have to navigate the TAX departments. Export and Re-import documents were what we needed . I won't fill you in on the circuitous route we followed to determine all the neccessary documents but I will let you know that what was determined one day often changed the next due to things we had or didn't have or the gallery in Denmark had or didn't have.
Many thanks go out to Lisa at Canada Border Services and Nicole and Michelle at Kuehne and Nagel, our freight forwarders. Together we unwound the red tape.

I'll tell you what we have now that is making this happen.

Seven are all members of CARFAC so we could get Certificates of Canadian Origin for each art work
Seven has Certificates of Canadian Origin for each art work. (with photos attached and 3 extra copies made)
Seven has a business # and an import /export #. This was neccessary as we needed an ATA Carnet.
Seven has an ATA Carnet - a document issued by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce that accompanies exhibition items when they travel around the world to countries that accept ATA Carnet documented items.
Seven has a Surety Bond. Neccessary to prove to the Chamber of Commerce that we do intend to return the art work so they will issue an ATA Carnet.
Seven has a Commercial Invoice with company letterhead listing all the art work with prices, commodity /tarriff codes, sizes and weights to accompany ATA Carnet, Carfac Certificates of Origin and supporting documents.
Seven has an envelope of supporting documents with show brochures and post cards, confirmations from galleries, magazine and newspaper articles and copies of all aforementioned documents inside the crate.
Seven has an ICCP approved crate with a document to prove this as well.

Now our part is done and the freight forwarder will deliver to the door of the gallery on August 2nd. They will also remove and store the crate for us until we pack it to take the exhibit to Kerteminde. Then they will take it to Kerteminde and from there return it to Nova Scotia. This was a blessing for us to find a company that could look after all these details. We'll let you know how it all turns out when the crate returns in October.

The inspectors from Canada Border Services arrive.
Pia signs the ATA Carnet with the inspector. Note the official stamp.
Keeping all the papers straight.
Meeting with Wendy Elliot  from our local newspaper, The Advertiser.
Showing Wendy some of the art just before the wrap and pack.
Financially, we had drastically underbudgeted for this part of our trip. Shipping costs! Now we know and have many of the things we will need if we every do another international show. Our Carnet is good until July 2011. Not that we have any plans to go elsewhere at this point in time......but if you wanted us to come...just saying.....

Trying to fit it all in nice and tight.
Very hot and humid day, Thanks for the shade Angela.
Packed, documents in, art work in, screws in place.

The crate is in Montreal and leaving for Copenhagen shortly. We are scurrying around finding good walking shoes for all the treks we are going to take while visiting the spectacular country of Denmark.
 Excitement is bubbling up!

- Warm regards, Pam

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fill the Big Crate Day!

Tomorrow is the big day, we will be packaging up 49 pieces of art work, in all shapes and sizes. We are planning to meet at noon when according to weather forecasts the rain is supposed to stop, which is good since the crate is too large to get into anyone's house anywhere, except that is if you have a big wide barn door and a forklift.

There are of course no photos of this event in this piece, since what I am talking about hasn't happened yet, but it is busily and happily making noise and summer saults in my head.
I cannot decide if this is like:
A - the night before Christmas, when often a lot of time is spent excitedly packaging up this year's treasures or treats to be shared in the morning or....
B - this is like sending  your kids off to summer camp for a while, wondering if there are enough dry socks (styro foam) warm sweaters (bubble wrap) and the little bag with toothpaste and brush and all the necessary grooming utensils (official documents galore stapled on the inside and the outside of the box) perhaps never even to get unpacked and used.
It is not easy, for me at least, to let go of tapestry pieces when I haven't had time to hang out with them for a while - there is an emotional attachment. I guess I like to do a slow travel through all the ideas and visions and how they came to be as I look at them and feel them.
The other vision right now is coming to fruition and we really are going. On my new Ipad which I talk about so often these days I have found Trepkasgade #5 and when I push the right buttons on Google Maps I can go and 'stand in front' of the gallery we are exhibiting in Copenhagen.
I can look at the shapes of the art which is hanging there and I can almost see it through the glare of the windows.
These are my thoughts for this day. The day before gathering the goods up and organizing everything safely and comfortably in the box. When we wave goodbye to the box tomorrow afternoon when we leave Marilyn's house it is scary and fantastic and amazing to think about the fact that next time we encounter it and put our hands on it  ........ it will be in Trepkasgade, in Copenhagen, unloading and preparing to hang our show, which has been underway for so long and from so far away.
And as I got to here I did realize that..... I can probably attach a jpg of our poster for all to see and enjoy!

Sweet dreams and fruitful visions everyone! Cheers, Pia

Friday, July 9, 2010

The traveling box for our artwork is HERE!

Ladies and Gentlemen
I have to tell you this has been quite a journey and we haven't even left the county, the valley, never mind the country yet.
The latest hubbub on our journey was the venture of getting a suitable crate built - we thought from the papers that we read that....
we needed certified wood and that was it. So a good supporter used to building houses had offered to built the crate for us to our specifications and within the rules and regulations as we had understood them.
The builder had a hard time getting through to the powers that be who were in control of the certified woods we were allowed to use.
And now it was Monday, July 5th and still nothing - phew, this gave even my husband a slightly sweaty brow and he had gone on an early morning internet search while I was still far away in dreamland.

He found a certified company near Bridgewater and later that day started a flurry of phone conversations with the company boss. It turned out that the builder also had to be certified and .... our builder was certified but not for this.
We were so fortunate that Tecbox was able to quote us a price and also.... build us the crate in two days. They got our measurements 4' x 4'x 4.5' (well, sort of anyways) and they put it together. We were so pleased that this could happen on such short notice.
This afternoon Soren and I drove down to get the box, first though we went sailing with the dog in the Lunenburg Backharbour, where his boat is moored for the summer and we had a little sail about in the warm sun with slight wind on our faces keeping us pleasantly cool.

And then...... we drove to Tecbox to pick up the creature - (the photo is Soren and Marshall unloading) and I had meant to take photos as the box was being loaded but..... I chatted with the owners and Soren took care of all this outside in the heat with one of the men from the building room while I was inside an air-conditioned office with the dog. It was pleasant, fun, excellent service and if anyone ever needs a special crate for something try out this place.

I haven't looked into the box yet, the lid was screwed on (note to self bring the right kind of screwdriver in the suitcase, screwdrivers are not the same all over the world ) but I was told that there are styro-foam lined sides + 5 sheets of 1 inch styrofoam for us to cut and divide to the size of our works so everything can arrive safely in Copenhagen.

More unloading with Soren and Marshall

Dear Reader, are you aware that we are only 3 weeks away from being there now, actually, at this moment in time three weeks ahead we will be having a cool drink and relaxing our bones on the roof top terrace at my sister's appartement. I guess that really this is a rhetorical question, I had to ask it since I am wildly eager to tell you that I am aware, very aware and the good anticipation for the whole adventure is growing wildly and fabulously by the minute.
Will our artwork get motion sickness once we get it all packed and it has to move around with a forklift again?

We drove home from Bridgewater with the box on the truck, stopped to secure it with some of our sailing rope before we  hit the highway and then..... I fell asleep as did the dog and we didn't open our eyes again until we were at almost the other end of highway 12, which means we were almost home.

A slightly forlorn looking box, funny how the size changes when you have nothing to measure it against with your eyes, this is surely a small box - well, no, not really!

Now it was time to take the box to the Randsland Farm - a magnificent broccoli farm employing lots of  people. Marilyn's husband is one of the brothers in that big family and also their consultant, keeping the whole fleet of needed machinery running smoothly at all times.

This was very fortunate for us, for as this aforementioned box is not a small box and as we are not exactly is sharp training for the Olympic competition of weight lifting,  getting said box off the truck and into an appropriate spot might have been an interesting experience for the three of us.
However,  Marshall has access to ..... forklifts ...... hurray!
I don't think we saw the words 'forklift knowledge and driver required' when we were reading our to-do list in the fall of 2009, that was when we really got into the swing of our preparations.

So the box got forklifted into place and I had the fortunate experience of looking at one of the 10 or 20 greenhouses on the property. Each greenhouse holding close to a thousand trays of broccoli - each tray holds 270 broccoli plants 270.000 broccoli plants in the photo. They are about one thumb high and they are 'three weeks old'. They will cover approximately 10-11 acres of land.

When they are 6 weeks old they are big enough to be harvested and then they go .... to many different places - we saw an enormous truck being loaded with broccoli headed for Newfoundland.
And here are the workers who labour hard in the fields for us all summer, cutting,  sorting and packaging the broccoli  available for us in our supermarket, near and far from here.
This of course was a little detour from what we are doing but...... people say never forget where you come from, and I don't, and on top of that I would like to add 'never forget where your food comes from, and if you don't know, then please start to ask questions at the place you get your groceries. 

Going back to where I come from for the first time in 5 years in a few weeks is truly amazing and ...... when we open the box and share  with the audience across the atlantic in a not very local spot for the rest of the group I will be looking at surroundings which I grew up in, lived life in and .........  I am so looking forward to go back for a visit.

See you soon, Pia
 Wonderous Woolerie and super SEVEN

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Danish Press Release

Fiber, fantasier og farver fra Canada

Syv canadiske kunstnere udstiller på Sjælland og Fyn i august og september og oktober.

Syv kvindelige canadiske kunstnere, hvis valg af materialer spænder fra ord og uld til fiber og farver, og som er gået sammen i gruppen SEVEN, udstiller i Danmark til august. Deres første stop bliver Basal Elin Galleri i København 5.-8. august efterfulgt af en endagsudstilling på Basal Elin Studio i Hørsholm 14. august. Gruppen udstiller derefter på Værkstedsgalleriet i Kerteminde fra d. 12. september til d. 12. oktober.

Gruppen er baseret i Nova Scotia på østkysten af Canada. De vildsomme maritime og skovmiljøer samt rustikke landbrugsomgivelser i denne provins har stor indflydelse på kvindernes arbejde, ligeså vel som tanker og idéer om bæredygtighed, kvindelighed, menneskelige relationer og livet i det hele taget har stor betydning for deres inspiration. Deres kunst er sensuel, sjov og farverigt; det er nærværende, rørende og reflekterende.

Gruppens medlemmer er Pam Frail, Marilyn Rand, Marie Jardine, Pia Skaarer-Nielsen, Kelly Marie Redcliffe, Deborah Nicholson og Angela Melanson og deres aldre er fra 37 til 56 år. Selvom de alle hver for sig er selvstændige kunstnere med talrige udstillinger og bestilte opgaver på deres respektive cv’er, så har de dannet gruppe for at finde gensidig støtte og inspiration. Respekten for kvaliteten og spændvidden af hinandens arbejde og potentialet for at gå på opdagelse på nye veje binder dem sammen.

Dette er deres første europæiske turné.

Læs mere om gruppen, deres arbejde og deres turné i Danmark på
http://www.sevenartisans.blogspot.com/ eller på facebook http://facebook.com/SevenArtisans

Basal Elin Kunst, Trepkasgade 5, 2100 København  
5.-8. august 2010
Torsdag 5. august 12-20, Fernisering samme dag kl. 18-20

Fredag 6. august kl.12-20
Lørdag 7. august og søndag 8. august fra kl. 10-17

Endagsudstilling i Hørsholm, Løjeltevej 12, 2970 Hørsholm
Lørdag, 14. august fra kl. 11-16

Værkstedsgalleriet, Kerteminde fra d. 12. september til d. 12. oktober
Fernisering kl. 12-14
Gedskovvej 3, 5300 Kerteminde

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Our Danish Press Release

We have a press release for our Canadian press contacts, but the Danish one has a fun title and lists the exact dates and addresses of our exhibition tour.  Enjoy!


Dreams, threads and colours from Canada (Fiber, fantasier og farver fra Canada)

Seven Canadian artists will be showing in Sjælland and Fyn in August and September.

Seven Canadian female artists, whose choice of materials range from wool and words to copper and colours, and who have joined forces in a group called SEVEN, will be exhibiting in Denmark in August. Their first stop is Basal Elin Galleri in Copenhagen on 5-8 August followed by a one day show at the Basal Elin Studio in Hørsholm on 14 August. The group will then move on to show at Værkstedsgalleriet in Kerteminde 12 September to 12 October.

The group is based in Nova Scotia on the east coast of Canada. The rugged maritime, forest and rural settings of this province exert a strong influence on their work, as do thoughts and ideas about sustainability, womanliness, human relations and life in general. Their art is sensual, funny and reflective; touchable, colourful and caring.

The members of the group are Pam Frail, Marilyn Rand, Marie Jardine, Pia Skaarer-Nielsen, Kelly Marie Redcliffe, Deborah Nicholson and Angela Melanson and their ages range from 36 to 56. While all independent and experienced artists in their own right, with numerous shows and commissions under their belts, they have come together as a group for mutual support and inspiration. Respect for the quality and scope of each others work and the potential for exploring new avenues bind them together.

August 5-8, 2010
Basal Elin Galleri
Opening/Fernisering: Thursday, August 5th 18:00 to 20:00
(Artists in Attendance)
Trepkasgade 5,
2100 Copenhagen Ø

August 14, 2010
Basal Elin Studio
Hours: 11:00 to 16:00
(Artists in Attendance)
Hørsholm, Denmark
September 12 - October 12, 2010
VærkstedsGalleriet (Dansk Husflid)
Opening/Fernisering: September 12
th, 13:00 to 14:00
(Artist in Attendance)
Gedskovvej 3,
5300 Kerteminde, Denmark

This is SEVEN's first European tour.

Read more about the group, their work and their tour in Denmark at http://www.sevenartisans.blogspot.com/.