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.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Together in our "spare" time!

Wow! My first BLOG entry. Marie Jardine coming to you digitally. Being a member of an art collective is an amazing thing. We all live very separate lives and create very different art from each other. Although we don't really "hang out" together, on occasion, we do things together. Sometimes we carpool and go to Halifax to peruse the galleries,  art stores or go to movies and sometimes we share a meal together either in restaurants or have a potluck. We also share what we are interested in with each other and when an idea sparks in 1 of 7 we try to get together and make something happen. A little over a year ago one of us found out how to make a body form using an old T-shirt and duck tape. Here's what happened when 5 of us were able to gather at Pam's one afternoon...

Looks like a new dance craze!

Shes definitely sucking it in!

Deborah has a new dance partner.

Pam helping out Marilyn.
Looks like she's enjoying it!

Cutting Angela out
All done. Angela and I opted for the paper tape which you have to wet and let dry. It didn't take much longer to do and it was cold and clammy for a while but in the end it holds up better than the tape. I liked the feeling of being all held in!

Invisible 5 of 7. I like the way we can tell who's is who's. I drove home later that day with my form strapped into the passenger seat.

So I used mine to make this out of copper for the Awakenings show at Harvest Gallery, in Wolfville
But first I did this with it. It was a performance of the song "The Eternal Seduction of Adam" (Originally The Eternal Seduction of Eve by The Real Tuesday Weld).

My band included myself as Maxine Fender with vocal and glockenspeil, Ariana Nasr on sax. Chris Robison on bass, Andy Kavanagh on drums and Andy Flinn on guitar.

Here's the link to see the performance:

Well that's me for now. I'll post the work I did for AWAKENINGS next time.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

An Exchange Between a Mouse and a Mamma Mouse

Today I went to the park with the “I am almost 4-years old” being in my life, who refuses to go by any given name, and prefers instead to be identified with the animal kingdom.

While this cute baby mouse scurried about, I collected tree blossoms from the slides, cupped them in my paws and breathed in their purple, red down. I felt a compulsion to pick each strand from the ground; hope, misplaced on gravel.  How plain and rewarding such a task seemed. One blossom, two, three, ....a bazillion. Hours of  soft tedium. And a nest to snooze in when exhausted.
"What are you doing Mamma mouse?"
 "Smell this. What do you think?"
"I'm hungry."

(blogged by Kelly Marie Redcliffe, poet who will be having her Denmark exchange vicariously from home while playing various Mamma animal roles)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

What? Why? What The...? (The Importance of Explaining)

Powder room. First visit to the home of a delightful couple. Dinner party. Opportunity to get to know one other. Powder room: tastefully decorated, little shelves lined with hedgehog collection, and a bathroom guest book. How delightful! I sign - of course.

Post dinner party. Apologetic phone call is necessary to explain why I signed as I did in said bathroom guest book.

While traveling around England with my parents many years ago, I signed Hugh Jarse into every sign-in book I could get my fingers on. After a week or so of doing this, while in one particularly large, quite, somber, ancient church, my mother was signing in after me and read my signature:

"Hugh Jarse? Hugh Jarse!? Who the heck is Hugh Jarse?!" She exclaimed out loud (and rather loudly), attracting the disdainful stares of two old ladies lighting candles nearby. Suddenly my mother realized what she was saying! Very funny moment - gave us many years of rolling-about-laughter.

Why am I telling you this? Well, being an artist, I strive to explain my thoughts, musings and passions, using my marks, colours and materials. And then, because artists need artist statements, I search for the words to explain - Why these marks? Why these colours? Why this particular subject matter? And why does it matter?

Recently, we, of SEVEN, challenged ourselves to pare down our artist statements to 30 words each.  If you'd like to try this, here's how I met this challenge:

Take 1,000 (or more) soul-searching, heart-pouring, here-is-my-inner-being-laid-bare-for-all-to-examine, words

Question each paragraph. Combine paragraphs that have similar meanings

Question each sentence. Combine sentences that have similar meanings

Get rid of all redundancy.

Analize every word in your statement, using a thesaurus, to apply the most meaning, the most impact, the most power to your statement.

Now read it to select individuals and ask them to tell you what they understood from it.

Rewrite as needed.

And voila! You have a clear, suscinct, powerful, direct explanation of what you're doing and why. Very useful for verbose artists, confused artists, and non-artists at dinner parties, gallery openings and when your grandmother asks why you don't have a real job.

So, why did I choose to sign Hugh Jarse in the bathroom guestbook after all these years? Well, the dinner party hosts gave us the grand tour, highlighting furnishings that had belonged to her mother. Got me thinking about my mother and her furnishings and when I saw the bathroom guest book – well! My mother had one in her bathroom! In one sentimental moment, it became quite clear to me what I would do to honour my mom.

There's just so much inside ourselves that is meaningless to others unless we can properly communicate it.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Using language correctly when you are trying to communicate in a different culture is acutely important. When making the effort to write/speak as clearly as possible the chances of misunderstandings occurring are greatly diminished and thus clear communications can take place and lead to happy endings and great results.
A challenge for this trip which I think about and face every day of my life is ‘the language barrier’. Fortunately for me my brain and my tongue have never really considered English a barrier. However, now we are going the other way - and although the majority of Danes are quite used to both listening to and using the English languages it is still important to be  very clear and concise.
And so the challenge for me on this trip is to polish up the language which I grew up in. But since I don’t use it with lots of people for exchange of ideas and thoughts every day the vocabulary tends to stagnate a bit.
This I discovered to my great dismay when I sat down to translate our bios - well, I thought it would be a ‘quick job’. And I was wrong.
The thoughts which were so clear and vibrant in English suddenly got muddled and murky when I started to translate. The intensity of the sentences or the ideas were weakened and truthfully I started to sweat a little.
Someone had mentioned the translation services on Google and I admit that initially I laughed it off. But as I struggled along I thought, ok, what will happen? and .... I asked Google to translate a bio for me. What happened was not that I was suddenly relieved of all the work.
No, I still had to keep myself in the midst of the word pie. What became abundantly clear though was that now I could see what the words in the bio were not saying. When the translation was way off in left field it became easier for me to see or hear the word combination which was the right one for this or that sentence.
It was quite a revelation, for the ‘confuser’ translations were sometimes so outrageous that I had to laugh before I changed the words and thus was able to get the ‘right’ sounds and feelings out of each bio.
I also had the great pleasure of spending lots of time on Skype with both a friend and family members, whom I had sent all the bio’s to. I had several hours of language discussions switching between Danish and English before being satisfied that the translations sounded great and coherent in Danish as well as being as true to the original English pieces as possible.

First tapestry for the exhibits in Denmark coming along nicely - ah, the inspiration of those walls around us can be quite captivating and twisted!

These days I am working on putting together an article for the magazine Husfliden, a magazine connected to VærkstedGalleriet in Kerteminde where we will exhibit our creations from mid September until mid October. The article is fermenting and changing shape and colour most every day, but I do think that it is almost there - the time is neigh for the words to come out in one long stream - hopeful a coherent and delightful stream. We shall see.

Weavingly yours,
Warped participant in SEVEN,
Wonderous Woolerie

Friday, April 2, 2010

Importance of flexibility and regular meetings.

Once upon a time the seven of us met up for the first time and made some good decisions planning future activities for our group  which we named SEVEN since.... there are 7 of us.
We have kept up with monthly meetings over the past 2 1/2 years. Each meeting is about 3 hours long, at the moment we are doing morning meetings, nine o'clock 'till noon.
Mostly we have all been able to attend, sometimes a person or two has had to miss a meeting or two - other times we have tried to accommodate the person who was having trouble with a meeting date and if it has worked for the rest of us, we have moved the meeting to the day which would fit into everyone’s schedule.
From my perspective it is of crucial importance that we all try to make the meetings every time one is planned and it is important that we are flexible around these dates and it is important to recognize that sometimes things just cannot be moved around, due to other people’s pre-existing schedules and plans.
It has been one of my personal stumbling points at times where I have had to breathe deeply and try to keep calm. Possibly because ......... I don’t have all that many balls to juggle these days ...... and other people in the group do.
What does delight me is that although we wriggle and writhe and try to make it fit and it sometimes feels like it is really hard to get it all together, it always works out in the end.
In some weird way it seems that when we finally make it to a meeting all of us, the bending and shifting was absolutely the right thing to do even if it didn’t feel great while it happened.
Making a collection of very different people and minds work as an entity, uniting each and everyone of our deepest and strongest wishes, for ourselves, our businesses and our group is a challenge of dimensions.
First off where do we as individuals put the priorities on the three aforementioned points, which one is more important:
The Group, Our Businesses, Our personal selves?
We have worked on it from the first time we met and somehow somewhere something must have been working. For we are all still hanging in there with smiles on our faces - a grunt escaping at times, but.... mostly smiles. When wanting a ‘long-term relationship’ to work out there is a lot of work involved always and ..... we are doing it, loving it and surprising each other and ourselves along the way.

Pia, bouncing member of SEVEN
Wonderous Woolerie