Friday, October 9, 2020

FIBRE 300--Today's discount art history lesson ;-D

FIBRE 300 is all about the history of ornamentation and now we're on to project 2--jewelry! Here are two videos we have to watch for next week courtesy of The British Museum. I love that the videoes dive into material culture--how people create and use objects is endlessly fascinating.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Arrrr! Another story submission

I submitted a short story for Zombie Pirate Publishing's next anthology, Pirates of the Empyrean. I had five ideas and only one panned out. Well, another idea also panned out, but then, horror of horrors, Evernote ate everything I wrote. I contacted tech support and they could not retrieve it for me because of a syncing issue between devices. It was a serious bummer! I tried to rewrite what was lost, but it just wasn't the same. I would like to develop the other ideas some day.

Basically my story is about two space pirates that have a business problem and a friendship problem. Things get resolved a little too quickly near the end, but perhaps the gentle optimism of the story will make it stand out. 7000 words is not a lot to work with sometimes. ZPP won't have another anthology until next year, so at least there's lots of time to plan for that.

Still waiting to hear about my story for The Ringed Giant. It's so hard to wait!

Pirates of the Emperyean cover featuring a black and purple skull

Friday, September 18, 2020

Yet more waiting...

It's been a long wait since Zombie Pirate Publishing's writing week back in May and a longer wait since I found out that my story, SATURN RETURNS, made it to the long list of submissions for their anthology, THE RINGED GIANT. Well, holy cow, I found out yesterday evening that it made the short list. This isn't the final list, but to be in the top nine is quite an accomplishment in itself. There were 101 participants and 57 entries.

Wish my story luck! I was so excited when I saw the email that I jumped and screamed. Then, later, I threw up dinner.

If horror is more your style, you can check out their new anthology, Full Metal Horror 3 which launched this week!

Zombie Pirate Publishing short list for The Ringed Giant

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Back to school!

I returned to art college again this past week. I'm taking two classes and as always, you can learn along with me! One of my first assignments is to watch and react to this video.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

My Ultimate Sweater Machine Diary

If you missed a recent post, I bought a Bond American Ultimate Sweater Machine! It's a 100 needle flat knitting machine and it's actually a little tricky to master. I explain how and why in my first video diary.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

New on Creative Market--Cherry Blossoms

Spring and summer is photography time for me--there's so much to see and I'm lucky to live within walking distance of a lot of pretty yards. These two cherry trees weren't even all that far away from each other!

You can now licence them for personal or commercial use. Stay tuned for some more bird pictures!

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Thursday, August 13, 2020

New on Creative Market--Merlin

I finally got off my butt and started uploading new photos to Creative Market. It lets you easily licence art, illustrations and more, including my work! Stay tuned for more photos.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Unboxing Something New and Fun!

It is new, it is fun and to be honest, it is a little frustrating, but I know it's all part of the learning curve. Check out my unboxing of my latest piece of business equipment!

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Waiting is the hardest part

If it seems like I'm doing more writing than art these days... it's true! A couple of months ago I participated in Zombie Pirate Publishing's Zombie Pirate Writing Week. Imagine NaNoWriMo but condensed down into a week and you have one heck of a time trying to cobble words, ideas and some editing into a cohesive novelette. There were 101 participants, 57 submissions annnnnnnd I'm amongst the 22 titles on the long list. The short list will be announced soon, so please wish me luck!

It was a real challenge to barf out almost 15,000 words in a week while working full-time, sniffles, screaming birds and other obstacles. If it's one thing that art college has taught me it's that you can do anything in a week. The result surprised me. I accidentally wrote a YA story about some crime-solving young people on a spaceship. It's not as ridiculous as it sounds :-)

Saturn Returns Long List

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Spring 2020--Birds and Blooms

I haven't been drawing or arting much lately as it's spring! Spring comes to Calgary kind of late, which means there is plenty to capture yet.

Male red-winged blackbird

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Gimme A B! Plus!

I really can't believe it's June. It's like time is broken in my brain. I really have to work hard on knowing what day it is, so I'm checking my ACAD webmail feverishly so I don't miss out on registration for next semester. This is w-i-l-d, but all classes will be online! This is something I wanted so badly. The technology has always existed--the will to use it has not. I would have been done my degree a lot faster. Anyway, I'm excited to see what I can take.

I was a few points short of a A in my textiles class, but a B+ is pretty nifty. The class taught me that I needed to upgrade my technical sewing skills if I want to do really well. Oddly enough, you'd be surprised at how much in the way of skill art college doesn't teach you sometimes ;-D Maybe I can take an online sewing class or just practice more on the machine.

I picked up my locker contents yesterday. Access to the college is still closed, but the bookstore is doing curbside pick up. Happily I only had a sweater, a hairbrush and my two projects to pick up. Less is more when it comes to lockers and I'm sure security was thankful they didn't have any moldy food or other ungodly things to do with for me!

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

I'm an author!

Soooo this is super exciting--I'm a published author! My short story, SECOND ACTS, was one of 80+ submissions and one of 20 stories chosen for inclusion. I'm tickled. If you like retro style science fiction--think Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Isaac Asimov--this collection is for you!

Power up your portal gun and set the dials for the golden age of science fiction as we step back in time and space to where the genre really took flight. Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, Vonnegut, Dick, Herbert, and Bradbury: these are some of the names which inspired a generation, creating visions of space travel, alien civilisations, advanced technology, and future worlds which still resonate with us today. Their visionary legacy lives on in RAYGUN RETRO, a collection of stories by some of the best up and coming authors in the genre, expanding upon the styles and themes which laid the foundation of science fiction as we know it.

Click on the image to buy on Amazon!

Thursday, April 9, 2020

CANCELLED Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo

A familiar rite of spring for me and a lot of other local artists is the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo. After being pushed to July, the show has now been cancelled until next year. Dang! Stay tuned for a special pet sketch offer, however!

Saturday, March 28, 2020

FIBR300 - Love Letter to a Textile

One assignment that could be turned into a take home assignment was Love Letter to a Textile. We often have intimate relationships with our clothing whether we realize it or not. This is all wrapped up in the concept of material culture--how humans consume, use, develop and dispose of objects. Material culture was one of my favourite classes at ACAD/AUArts. It was endlessly fascinating! Once you know about it, you see it in action everywhere.

We see this affection at work when we can't get rid of a child's clothing, hang on to a favourite stuffed animal or wear an article until it can't be mended. We form relationships about how we look, how objects make us feel, reliability and more with clothing (and other objects too!). We would bring in the article, read the letter and have both on display for this assignment.

It was difficult to pick a garment. This assignment would have been a piece of cake at other points in my life. For example, I had a nightshirt that I loved loved as a child because it had a raccoon with glow in the dark eyes on it. When I was a teenager, I loved loved a pair of embroidered jeans. When I was a young adult, I loved loved my flannel sweaters. When I was in my 30s, I loved loved a plaid purple top with big buttons. When I was in my early 40s, I loved loved a smoky purple Coach scarf.

There aren't any garments today where I could say I love love them. I don't know if it's because every day is casual day at my workplace or a matter of middle-age, but all my clothing seems simply functional now.

I decided to go with my oldest piece of clothing that I own--my denim capris. However, I still found it difficult to hit the 500 word mark. Ah we go...

Worn denim capris

Dear denim capris,

I can't believe we’ve been together longer than I have been married. I remember the first time I saw you at Tabi—it must have been at least twenty years ago—and I was thrilled to find petite denim capris. Petite and plus size? Oh yeah, we were going home together right then and there. It's true you broke the rule of having no pockets on the butt, but that didn't matter. You were perfect enough. In fact, you were absolutely perfect! Nowadays you’re a little faded, but I’m pretty sure you were a robust dark blue. I always preferred dark blue denim.

We have had so many great adventures over the years. We road tripped to Las Vegas twice, flew to Seattle and cruised to Bermuda just to name a few places. Whenever the occasion called for comfortable and casual, you were always there. That is why I loved shopping at Tabi. I knew I could find reliable clothes that looked good, fit well and had a great price. I miss Tabi a lot. I miss shopping there with Mom on weekends, buying fun socks or assembling a look. You remind me of those every day, small moments that were good times too. Maybe you were mass made in a Singapore garment factory, but you are still a unique individual to me!

Denim capris, I thought we would have to part after I lost 40 lbs. You were practically falling off my hips and not very fashionable anymore. You were too worn to thrift yet still too good to throw out. But, then I discovered that you were still functional! You are a perfect fit for winter birdwatching. None of my other jeans will fit over leggings and sweats.

Maybe we don't go out together as much anymore, but you're still perfect to wear around the house. Your colour may be a little faded and your style out of date, but I can still count on you for comfort and covering. And, somehow you don't have any holes anywhere after twenty years of washing and drying. You're a good friend, denim capris! Here’s to another five, ten, maybe twenty years?


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

FIBR300 - We interrupt this course...

Life is what happens when you're making other plans. Like so many other students, young and old, my course went online as AU Arts worked in a hurry to ensure continuity for the duration of COVID-19. The university is locked down and I can't access my two large projects.

The last large project was cancelled and I'm kind of grateful for that. I do, however, have one on-going assignment that probably won't go online as it would be difficult. It's the one I'm finishing up now, the cloth journal. I chose a brand new watercolour sketchbook that I had on hand so I didn't have to buy a new one and started dutifully recording mismatched socks, daily clothes habits, laundry schedules, sketches and more.

At the beginning of the semester, I assumed it would become a catalogue of hopes and dreams and new learnings. However, that didn't quite happen. I'm not sure what to learn from this journal. Maybe the time hasn't come to learn from it yet--journals are one of those things that you can look back on and nod sagely.

We still have to submit it by scanning the pages. I photographed the pages and put them in order according to project. My intrinsic sense of order won't quit ;-D

Page from cloth journal

Thursday, March 5, 2020

FIBR300: The Upcycling Project - Part 2

There are a lot of considerations when upcycling old textiles. I sketched out a few ideas but I didn't know how feasible it would be. I really liked the look of a t-shirt dress on Pinterest, but I'm not a dress wearing gal. I settled on a shawl.

The next step was to draft a pattern with newsprint. Since my idea was symmetrical, it was super easy to do. I measured out a piece of newsprint the size of half my blanket, drew some feathers, refined the pattern, traced a copy and cut out the pieces after labelling them.

Pattern drafting

Did you know that t-shirts and polos are not symmetrical, though? The front of the shirt will have slightly less fabric than the back, so you need to consider all the options before you start cutting away. Originally the blue feathers were going to be on the top, but the floral trim on the purple shirt meant that I couldn't get enough fabric for the middle layer. Generally men's clothing will give you more fabric than women's clothing, but I had to find a fourth t-shirt to fill out the design. Before cutting up the shirts, I also had to run the pill shaver over them and clean them up.

Choices choices choices

To be honest, I wasn't quite sure where I was going. I only had a ~~ vision ~~ of the end product.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

FIBR300: The Upcycling Project - Part 1

I have a lot of catching up to do! My class is moving faster than I can document it :-D

Our first homework project was to gather a few pieces of old clothing from our closets or a favourite thrift store. "Upcycling" has been a trend for some time. Old clothing is a fabulous source of fabric or yarn that can be had for free or cheap. It doesn't require new material to be used or purchased. It can be very eco-conscious!

However, there are some caveats. Fast fashion clothing can be so cheaply made that it's not a good candidate for upcycling. High quality clothing usually has a generous seam. Fast fashion items barely have one. Then, thrift shopping has it's own problems with some stores being for-profit and actually expensive. Some chains may actually be a little dodgy--for example, Goodwill was caught underpaying disabled workers in 2013. Lastly, while dropping off old clothes may make someone feel good, there is a chance that they will end up in the rag trade or landfilled (nearshore or offshore). Stores won't take what they can't sell and a lot of clothing just ends up overseas where it can harm local textile economies.

What's a consumer to do? There isn't a perfect answer, but caring for clothing, mending and buying high quality, classic styles when possible might be one solution.

Anyway, from my old closet I found a pink wool blanket that belonged to my mother, an old long-sleeved shirt from hubs and three purple t-shirts of my own. I knew this class was going to involve cast offs, so I hoarded old t-shirts and bubble wrap just in case. I'm glad I did!

What am I making? Stay tuned to find out!

Old clothing for upcycling

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Back to School!

I'm back at ACAD (now that Alberta University of the Arts) for another textiles class. It's called Salvage/Selvedge and we're looking at the practical aspects of textile production and design. To start things off, we watched a couple of documentaries. Learn along with me and stay tuned to the blog :-)

The True Cost is an hour and a half long scathing looking at the often invisible human and environmental impact of fast fashion. The textile industry has always had a huge environmental footprint, but, it is only within the past ten years that the footprint has increased dramatically. From fibre production to processing to purchasing, the fast fashion industry is incredibly unsustainable and one of the largest polluters on the planet. It is amazing the producers were able to fit in such a wide survey of the textile industry into one documentary. They talk to workers, growers, factory owners, environmentalists, fashion designers and more to demonstrate the clothing continuum--and conundrum.

However, it's not all doom and gloom with the textile industry. There are lots of creative people out there working to reduce the impact or invent new processes. The Next Black is a forty five minute documentary with a very optimistic view of the future. Biocoture! 3D printing! Waterless dying! The film was made about five years ago, so it will be interesting to see where the next five years takes us.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Isla the Cat Pet Portrait

Here's another Calgary Expo Holiday Market commission that was a Christmas gift :-)

Cat sketch

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Gizmo the Cat Pet Portrait

I have a few pet sketches from the Calgary Expo Holiday Market that I can share as they were Christmas gifts. This is Gizmo and I hope the picture was well received!

Gizmo the Cat

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Instagram Top Nine 2019

Top Nine is a nifty app/website that figures out your top nine Instas (follow me here btw. I'm a little surprised but you never know what people are gonna like!