Workshops, Road Rollers and Goal Setting

Creatively Sustained Signature Collection

It's been a creatively productive season so far, June 1st I held my first workshop on our property in Fort St John - 12 wonderful women joined me at the Airport Acre Studio for Creative Block Printing on Kitchen Aprons. My mom and aunts helped me prepare the space - arranging tables and setting out materials. Although they are all self-professed non-creatives, they were also the most fearless and efficient when it was time to carve their blocks and print their aprons. Proving again that it never hurts to try a new skill - you might surprise yourself with the results!

 Participants test print their blocks on scrap fabric...

Participants test print their blocks on scrap fabric...

 Smiling with their finished aprons as the sun sets behind them.

Smiling with their finished aprons as the sun sets behind them.

The week following the workshop, was spent preparing a large scale lino-cut block for a road roller printmaking event at the local cultural center, it was called Printmaking Takes to the Road.

The blocks were to be prepared as 2 feet by 4 feet in size, adhered to a plywood board. Having too late to order lino online - I decided to purchase the only 4 pieces of appropriate lino I could find locally - each measuring 12 inches squared. I came up with a simple set of 4 shapes or symbols that I cut and laid in a positive/negative arrangement - that way I was able to cover the whole surface area with the material I had on hand. Creative work flourishes with these kinds of restraints - I am so pleased with the way this print & arrangement worked itself out, by improvising really - make it work!

The day of the event there were tents set up for printmakers to display both techniques/demos and any artwork they had for sale. From the leftover fabric I printed last fall for my Creatively Sustained quilt - I sewed together 20 limited edition quilt blocks, some mounted and some framed.

The fabrics incorporated in these blocks are truly unique - they were hand printed during my artist residency in the City of Fort St John Passive House in August of 2016. They also include the last scraps of traditionally blockprinted fabric that I brought home from my trip to India in 2015, as well as some solid colors from the local fabric shop. There will never be another series or set quite like these ones - they really are one of a kind, and they are the inspiration for that evolved into Creatively Sustained.

 Each piece comes with a mini numbered certificate with a copy of my Passive House blockprint

Each piece comes with a mini numbered certificate with a copy of my Passive House blockprint

To describe the road roller printmaking action - there is nothing more exciting to witness that happens in slow-motion! Thankfully there is a nicely edited video of my process that was taken and sent along by Lisa MacLean, the Co-Coordinator at Peace Gallery North at the time. Thanks for sharing the footage Lisa!

There were many large and beautifully detailed prints that came out of this event, and mine was decidedly simple compared to those. However, it is in keeping with the theme of my work these days - large scale and grid oriented, playing with the idea of quilt blocks, etc. It was also the only print pulled on fabric, and it looks like a 'cheater' or craft panel you could purchase from a bolt at the fabric store.

 My road roller fabric print hung on the chain link fence to dry.

My road roller fabric print hung on the chain link fence to dry.

I have titled the piece Heritage Symbols, in reference to my heritage on my maternal grandmothers side of the family. Our Metis lineage goes back six generation in the Peace River Valley. Each symbol has a personal meaning for me, in a simple form. In top left, the small stone bead was excavated from Rock House, or Charlie Lake Caves (read my personal story about that here) the infinity symbol in the middle of the work is from the Metis flag, bottom right are the triangles you can see in the slumping river banks of the Peace Valley, and the X in the corners was the mark one of my great great grandfathers made instead of a signature when he signed for scrip in 1900.

This piece will be on display again with the other works from this event in August at Peace Gallery North. I am going to prepare a smaller scale work for the show that is derivative of my larger piece and incorporate some stitch work into it. I will post photos of those too when the time comes.

 Heritage Symbols as arranged as a digital repeating pattern in Adobe Illustrator

Heritage Symbols as arranged as a digital repeating pattern in Adobe Illustrator

Over the summer I will be taking a much needed break from social media - no instagram, facebook or twitter. We are at the half way mark in 2017, and I've made great progress with planning my direction and setting specific creative goals this year, but now it's time to really focus and get things done.

By Fall I am aiming to have a signature pattern collection that is designed, printed on fabric, and sewn into sample products - so that I can style a photo shoot, and then create a professional 'lookbook' or portfolio of my work. This is something I will be able to present to fabric manufacturers in pursuit of licensing my surface design work on quilting and home decor fabrics.

 Creatively Sustained Collection - signature color palette and Passive House inspiration photo

Creatively Sustained Collection - signature color palette and Passive House inspiration photo

Long story short - cutting out the distractions of social media is that extra boost of available time and effort required to get my surface design dreams off the ground this year. What are your current creative goals? It's always a good day to write them down, and start working towards them!