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, June 23, 2010

My artwork for our Danish exhibitions is complete.... big sigh...  There's still much to do in the way of paperwork for customs, sending press releases and invitations, packing... 

Hard work?  Yes!  Stressful?  Yes!  Time consuming?  Yes!  Would I do it again? ......

I'll let you know while I contentedly partake of a lovely red wine on a Copenhagen terrace in a few weeks.  In the meantime, I'd be delighted to share with you some nuts and bolts of my process when creating a series of artworks: 

Ideas come at any moment - while driving, while showering, while dining with friends, and the ones that stick long enough to touch pen to paper, wind up in my artbook full of sketches, torn bits of paper, phrases, paint smudges and pastel scribbles.

Over the next while, I ponder bits and pieces to the point of distraction - missing portions of conversation, driving straight past my exit... twice, placing the milk carton in the  dishwasher.  Honestly? I can spend days thinking about various shades of pink!

Once my subject has firmly established itself as an obsession, I begin to photograph.  Hundreds of photographs - stored, selected, grouped, reselected, regrouped.  Then, I embark on days of digital manipulations - printing the results on heavy weight art paper.

Mixing colours and layering upon layers, I create the lyrical abstract landscapes in which to suspend my subjects.

Here is my artist statement and, below, two of my cows:

"My art celebrates that moment of eye contact when we become engaged with beings other than human.  My works are an invitation to look outside of ourselves at the creatures that feed us and give us the products we use routinely.  Layers on layers press my subjects to the fore of the picture plane, openly inviting an exchange with the viewer."

                        cow 545, 36"x48", acrylic and photographic collage on panel, $1200

To see the rest of my herd, visit my Adagio Cow Collection through my personal blog. (Click on one of my cows on the right.)  Readers of this blog may be happy to know that I offer these collage paintings at a special pre-exhibition price of 10% off my shop price.

Sold or not, all works in this collection will be touring Denmark from mid-July to the end of October.  Imagine, you could be the proud owner of Dane-admired artwork that is very likely to bring a smile to your face each time you gaze upon it.


cow grazing, 24"x24", acrylic and photographic collage on panel, $400

Monday, June 21, 2010

Ongoing Source of Inspiration

I have recently finished my body of work that will travel to Denmark - all consisting of mixed medium paintings (acrylic, pastel and pencil on wood panels). Each piece is 3' x 3'.

It has been quite the journey so far with the initial idea of exhibiting in Denmark, export workshops, regular SEVEN meetings and of course my jaunts through the forest on a daily basis just to discover what and how I will interpret the theme EXCHANGE (UDVEKSLING in Danish). I am happy to say that I feel great about my chosen idea and hope to explore it even further as an ongoing source of inspiration for future projects.

"This body of work explores a world where creatures speak from a place of childlike honesty from the vantage point of an enchanted forest. It is the exchange of relationships between the setting and its’ inhabitants that will allow the viewer to question their own ideology."

Hope you are able to meet and see the members of SEVEN and our works on exhibit in Denmark! 
- Angela

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Source, farm and fibre.

Often, in my busy life, I loose touch with my beginnings and why I started working with fibre in the first place.  Our annual Back to Back International Wool Challenge, brings me back to working with fibre in the raw state, just off the sheep and smelling so heavenly barnny.  It also brings me once again into the company of other fibre enthusists and other farmers growing fibre animals. 

On June 5th, our B2B Team Sheep Thrills, gathered at Gaspereau Valley Fibres for a fun filled day of shearing, spinning and knitting.  Teams from around the world compete each year in this challenge and funds are raised for Cancer Research.  Our team beat our own record by over an hour, we are nowhere near beating the Canadian record nor the International record, but we are all winners for such a great cause. 

Photo: Sheep Thrills Team

 I love working with these women, and meeting so many friends, both old and new.  I love getting
 that  wonderful feeling of belonging to a society with respect for our natural world, and the
 creatures that depend on us and on whom we depend on.

Once back into raw fibre, I decided that it was time to sort my wool crop.  I picked out fleeces for the mill at MacAuslands, choice fleeces to sell to other spinners and my favorite ones for me to use for my own handspun and felting projects.  As one thing leads to another, I also cleaned out the lambing pens and hay storage areas in the barn to prepare and make room for this years hay crop.

 Photo of my youngest grandchild, Keith enjoying the late day sun and newly dyed wool.

I spent the rest of the week getting ready for the Wolfville Farmers' Market, which I have started
attending again as a vendor.  I was missing the one on one contact with people that I have always
enjoyed.  I rarely go out without meeting someone new and saying to myself, that was an interesting
person, I am glad I met them.

This week I am back to prepareing for Denmark.  I am sure that when I have been there and return,                            
I will say "That was an interesting Country, I am glad I went there."         

Marilyn Rand

Saturday, June 12, 2010

We're on our Way!

Well, we haven't exactly packed yet, but..... we have started talking about the crate which our works will travel in when we do head out into the world on July 29 at 22.10 in the evening. Awwwww, don't know which leg to stand on thinking about it.
Time to breathe in and out and then do a revision of the priorities on the list which seems to keep growing and growing.   This is all good though, since as the list grows  the section of already done items and priorities have been scratched out. I like to scratch out things on the list with a bold red pen, then I feel like I have really accomplished something, since the list...... at times can be very red. Especially when.... you put even the minutest little items down on the list, not just the overall goals. Ah, the carrots we hang in front of our own noses.

Freia wishing I was done weaving so ...... she and I could go out again, although, as you can see from her paws we had been to the woods once that day  already. Dogs live with lots of hope and love in their lives, every day!

Other than focusing on the list I am heavily engaged in finishing my last tapestry for the exhibit  at Basal Elin Kunst in København and later at VærkstedsGalleriet in Kerteminde.
Tapestry weaving takes lots of time, as I might have mentioned before, but..... I love doing it, I love seeing how the piece progresses, how the type of yarn and colour I choose in the end has an effect on my initial thought and idea. The texture of yarns and colours continue to amaze me and every day I spent in front of the tapestry is a pleasure, often a pleasure which is tempered  by sore muscles when I get too carried away and don't remember to get off the bench to do some stretching and getting the blood circulation going again.
As a matter of fact, I find that I can enter into this very interesting space, where all that matters is .... the movement of the hands as they feed the yarn butterflies through the shed which I open with one foot or the other on this particular upright loom.

 Taking a break in the sheep pen an early spring day just a few months ago with my special good friend Sam.

Now although my eyes feast on the work and progress in front of me my brain wants its own input and starts saying:  feed me too, feed me too please! I accomplish this by listening to audio tapes or cds which I get at our local library. Thank goodness for the library. Sometimes I come home with grand literature, sometimes I am not sure what it is and other times it is just total entertainment and lots of laughs are intermingled in the weaving.
So when people ask me if I read a lot, well, I do have to say no, but..... I sure listen well!
And as for now, right this moment, I can feel the thoughts starting to also circulate around where I would like to take the group when we do arrive in Copenhagen.
The Round Tower, with the most magnificent view of the city, the main pedestrian walkway in the centre of Copenhagen, oh, Tivoli Gardens, yes, we must go to Tivoli Gardens, and I have heard there are special fireworks on August 15th. When I was a kid in the last century there was fireworks twice a week, but that has been changed now and there are lazer light shows going on instead twice a week, but..... I want to see the real fireworks and so I guess we have to make it there on August 15th, a fine finale for the group trip since many of our participants are heading home to our beautiful Canada the next day. 
Off to the looms, Pia             

Friday, June 11, 2010

What? Dream Catchers?

Keeping it short today. Trying to stay away from the dream world and focus on all the tasks at hand.

Our last show was Awakenings. These are my pieces created around that theme.
 We never know for sure how someone else will think and feel about our work and I was surprised when some people asked if these large pieces were  dream catchers. They stand 6 feet tall and the circles are 25 inches in diameter. Once the comment was made I went though a range of emotions. The dream catcher has felt overdone to me, almost a bit kitchy. I wasn't feeling great about this reaction, until I watched and talked with the dream catcher people who were truly moved by how they felt. They changed my mind about dream catchers and how I feel about showing work.

From there it was easy to let go of my first reaction and let the art be what it is, open for interpretation for one and all. Not every one thought dream catcher, not every one liked them but the feedback was nourishing on all levels. I will strive to make myself clearer with future pieces knowing that not everyone will see as I see. In February I was walking by my front window and the reflection begged a photo. Kind of dreamy I think!

Do you think art pieces should have a clear message? How would this interpret across cultural boundaries? What could speak to all the cultures in the world? Here is where my mind will be as I go back to working with production pieces for the afternoon. (one of the benefits of production work).

Enjoy life!  

Friday, June 4, 2010

What to do? What to do?

I have worked with copper for about 20 years. In 2006, for financial reasons I had to move into my studio. A year later after trying to figure out what was wrong with me (with no help from 2 doctors) I discovered I had copper poisoning. With the help of a Natural-path, vitamins, diet, sauna, exercise and a change in work habits, I got the levels down, but nowhere near enough. Last October I decided to give up metalsmithing in order to stop the pain in my joints and muscles and to get my liver cleaned out. People ask if I miss it. The only thing I miss is the work I was doing when I quit - sensuous and funny portraits of the middle aged female form done in raised copper with rich patinas.

"Bitty Bawdies"

 What I don't miss is wearing ear, eye and lung protection, the noise, the smell of my skin after working with copper all day, or the dangerous tools and torches. I actually used to like that part of it. Now I'm trying to discover what else I'd like to do. I have been taking painting lessons, dabbling in linocuts and printmaking, writing poetry, learning to play the Ukulele & performing. I'm hoping this trip to Denmark and my subsequent trip to Europe will guide me in some way. As long as I am making art I know I will be happy. There is no way in hell that I'll get a full time job! I've been working for myself for too long. I love the idea of reinventing myself and it's not new to me. I was a Graphic Artist before I discovered metalsmithing. I can sew and make clothes - but I don't want to do that for a living, although those skills have helped me to design and make performance outfits from garbage.

Can Lid-mail

Plastic Lid Suit with
"Pop up nipple covers"                                 

I come by my creativity and sense of humour honestly. At my mother's funeral in 2007, I found out that she was the class clown at hug-hooking school and rarely did her homework! The apple does not fall far from the tree! So for those of you who want to try something new like playing an instrument or learning to paint - GO FOR IT! It really is never too late and you will DEFINITELY discover something new about yourself.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I want to know / I don't want to know – the paradox of being an artist

“Do you like this?” How am I doing?” “What do you think?” “Did I do ok?” Approval-seeking questions. Questions I had asked my violin teacher in the early days of our lessons. Her response - “Why are you asking me? You know how you did.”

Ahhh! There it is again – that perplexing little pop-up in my life – evaluate myself... by myself. I realize, yet again, my need for validation can only be satisfied from within.

Why would I want to know if you like my art? Art is so subjective. Everyone's opinion is so subjective. What my best friend hates may be the painting that the gallery loves. What is “good”, anyway? Why would I want another person to judge my self-expression?

But, oh deep down inside I do! I do! I really want to know. I want it be enjoyed. Appreciated! loved, even! The paradox is; this is at odds with my reason for being an artist - I can't freely create art that speaks from my true self if I'm concerned about what others think of my creations. Yet, at the same time, my motivation for creating art is to communicate my inner self. Aaaarrrgh!

While making a multitude of decisions for each painting that leaves my studio, I spend a great deal of brain energy contemplating whether I'm making each choice because it feels right for me or because I think someone out there will like the result.

What I've come up with, so far, is that I don't, so much, want to know if you like my artwork, but I really want to know if it makes you want to look longer. I want to know that my painting invokes an emotional response in you – positive or negative – and, whichever it may be, I want to know what the is mechanism is that caused you to feel your response? I want to know your story.