The past 4 months have been so strange and hard for so many people in the world. So much suffering and injustice. First COVID-19 and then the killing of George Floyd. So many important and uncomfortable conversations about racism followed and are still ongoing. I found it very hard to paint and draw during these few months and to be honest, didn’t spend much time in my studio.
Then in June, we got the opportunity to rent a remote cabin. No wifi and most days, not even cell coverage. It was amazing to be unplugged for a week, in the middle of nowhere right beside a lake. I became so aware of all the sounds of nature and for the first time in months, I felt less stressed and worried. Just listening to the birds’ chirping made everything better. I know I am very privileged to feel that way because my friends and family are all safe and healthy. But I realized how watching wildlife and reconnecting with nature made things more bearable. I found myself pulling out my watercolors and ink and painting and drawing for hours.
Perfect timing because a month later I got an email from the gallery asking for a short write-up on my next exhibition scheduled to open in May 2021. I had to think about it for a few days but having these drawings and having experienced nature’s healing power, it seemed like a good starting point. I am very much in the early stages and don’t know exactly where it will go yet but I am playing around with watercolors, ink, and embroidery and also want to play with oils and embroidery on canvas. It’s exciting to dive in and see where I will end up.
Here is the statement I provided to the gallery today:
Exhibition title: Healing Power
A series of works exploring the beauty of nature and wildlife. The relief this beauty provides during tough times and the hope it symbolizes for humans to live in peace with each other and nature.
Please take care of yourself and your family. Wash your hands, wear a mask, keep your distance (sorry no hugs) and just be safe. COVID is not over and we need to be smart. And keep having those uncomfortable conversations about racism. That’s the only way we can all learn and be better humans.
Growing up in the Swiss alps I always felt a deep connection to nature and cared about protecting our environment. I am sure my parents were at times annoyed by their teenage daughter giving them lectures about recycling and sustainable living. I didn’t realize though that they took what I said to heart until this summer when my mom told me that to this day she turns off the water in the shower while shampooing her hair. What seems like a small thing to do, she had done for over 30 years because of what her teenage daughter told her. It filled me with hope and it proofed to me that we can all make a difference by changing our own way of living and educating others.
As a teenager (circa 1990) with handmade environmental activism poster on my wall “Please be nice to mother nature”
Expansion of environmental activism message to throw pillows. 🙂 (circa 1994) “Please be nice to mother nature”
Over the past couple of years, the environmental crisis has been weighing really heavy on me and I have been working on a series of encaustic paintings about the impact humans have on wildlife.
Our oceans are full of plastics, our forests are on fire, the ice is melting, sea levels are rising and animals are becoming extinct at an unprecedented rate. As average global temperatures rise, the land and all the species that live on it suffer: Heat waves, droughts, hurricanes, and dust storms are growing more intense. The rising temperatures combined with other ways in which we have degraded forests, prairies and shorelines around the world now put food security, human health, and ecosystems at grave risk.
It is becoming urgent that we significantly reduce our emissions, consume less, buy sustainable products, eat less meat and plant trees. Based on a report issued by the UN and the world’s leading climate scientists we have less than a dozen years left for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C. Anything beyond this will have a significant impact on our lives as we know it. I truly believe that we can turn this around by making an effort. We don’t need to live a perfect zero-waste lifestyle but if enough of us make some changes to how we live the impact will be immense.
Scientists estimate that 150-200 species of plant, insect, bird, and mammal go extinct every 24 hours. This is nearly 1,000 times the “natural” rate and is greater than anything the world has experienced since the vanishing of the dinosaurs. The thought of so much wildlife going extinct is very sad and I want to do everything I can to protect what literally has provided inspiration for my art for the past 30 years.
My hope is that this newest exhibition helps to increase awareness about the negative impact we have on our wildlife and that it provides inspiration to take action to protect our world and its wildlife. Each painting within this series tells the story of a Manitoba animal and one of the reasons why the animal’s survival is increasingly challenged such as deforestation, loss of habitat or global warming. 10% of all sales will be donated to a local organization Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre (PWRC). Their goal is to rehabilitate injured or orphaned wildlife in Manitoba and to successfully release them back into their natural habitat. I am very impressed with Pulse Gallery for agreeing to donate 10% of any of my sales to this amazing cause. It’s very heartwarming!
From Sept. 1 – Oct. 31 Pulse Gallery at the Johnston terminal at the Forks will be featuring a few of these works and for one night on Friday, Sept. 27 (7-9pm), all works from this series will be on display. I hope you can join me for a night of art, wine, snacks and feathered friends from Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre (they are bringing a couple of owls they are currently rehabilitation).
My favorite time of the year (except summer) is the time leading up to Christmas. I love how friendly people are, the beautiful Christmas decoration, Christmas music and I love giving gifts. The process of looking for the perfect gift or even better making the perfect gift for somebody you love. The anticipation of them opening the gift and the happiness and surprise on their face. I often make many of my Christmas gifts for my family and friends and this year was no different. I made Christmas ornaments for my friends (watch for DIY part 2 for instructions), I framed one of my screen prints for K. and the pièce de résistance this year is the quilt I made for him. He is a huge Star Wars fan and has been holding on to his old Star Wars T-Shirts. They have been sitting in a bag in our basement for years and he has refused to get rid of them. Years ago I had seen a quilt made from old T-Shirts and I thought that it would be a perfect way to recycle his shirts into something he can continue to use. He absolutely loved it and we have been enjoying naps on our sofa over the holidays covered with our warm and eco-friendly Star Wars quilt.
It was easy to make, so if you have a collection of band T-Shirts or souvenir shirts from your travels, this is a great way to make something that you can continue to cherish for many years to come. Here are step by step instructions with some pictures.
Wash all your T-Shirts.
Layout your shirts on the floor and decide on the size for each square (I made them all the same size but you could have different sizes. I decided on the size based on the shirt with the largest graphic).
Create a template from a piece of cardboard.
Place the template on each shirt and outline using a fabric marker or you can also use a Sharpie and then cut them out using scissors.
Once you have all shirts cut place them on the floor and decide on the layout (I didn’t have enough shirts so I used the back of some of the shirts to add blank squares).
Decide on the layout
Start sewing each horizontal row by placing the first squares together (with image area facing each other) and sew using a straight stitch. Then add the next square etc. until you have each horizontal line sewn together.
Before you sew all the individual rows together, press the seams apart on the back and pin in place.
Place the first two of the horizontal rows together (image area facing each other), make sure to line up the seams and pin in place.
Sew using straight stitch and repeat with all rows.
All squares sewn together
Decide on the size of your quilt (the size of your sewn together T-Shirts or do you want to have a border around).
Choose a fabric for the back (I decided to use a nice warm fleece), and buy quilt batting (make sure to get some extra batting).
Place fleece on the floor add quilt batting and place T-Shirt front on top.
Use large safety pins to connect all 3 fabrics together (I used one safety-pin per square).
If you are making a border with the fleece like I did, fold over the fleece and pin together.
Sew along the border of the quilt.
Sew the corners (I sewed them by hand with a blind stitch).
Hand sewn corners
Connect all 3 layers together throughout the quilt by placing a couple of stitches wherever the panels meet. This will ensure that the fabrics don’t move around. Remove the safety-pins.
Place a couple of stitches to connect all 3 layers of fabric
Snuggle up on the sofa with your warm quilt and have a hot tea or a hot chocolate.
If you have any questions just let me know. Enjoy!
I am so excited! I just received the printed posters and invites for my solo show. I wanted my materials to have the look and feel of a vintage travel poster and I am really happy with how they turned out. A big thanks goes out to my friend Charity for the design and to Prolific for the printing. Now I just have to start promoting my show and of course finish all the pieces for my show.
My air necklace is now available through ethicalcommunity.com . I will continue to add more jewelry over the next few months.
“Wear air in support of lung cancer research”
We all need air to breathe and to live. I have seen first hand the struggle of not getting enough air into your lungs anymore. The concept is graphic, clean and creates a nice balance between the simply graphic type and the organic shape and material of the beach glass. The square air pendant is handmade from recycled .999 fine silver and is combined with a piece of beach glass. Each piece of beach glass is unique and different just like the lives effected by lung cancer.
Each of my fine silver creations is individually sculpted by hand, imprinted, sanded, fired and polished creating a one-of-a-kind piece. The fine silver used is made from 100% recycled silver, reclaimed from photographic and x-ray materials and combined with water and a non-toxic binder. Through the firing process the clay binder and water are burned off and a strong, sparkling and eco-friendly piece of jewelry emerges. All silver scraps, shavings and dust are collected and reused to help save our planet.
100% of the profit is donated to lung cancer research.
Make sure to check out the rest of the site. It’s a great resource to find out about ethical products from beauty products to food to beautiful things for your home.
I wanted to share this beautiful video in honour of all environmentalist that are fighting every day to protect our world and are willing to put their lives in danger to do so. Sadly there are many that have lost their lives at the hands of criminals that are exploiting the earth and its inhabitants. It makes me sad and angry but I am so thankful for such incredible people who are fighting for all of us and are fighting to protect our home “mother earth”. We can all do our part. Even small changes count. Just think of the impact small changes can have if millions of people participate.
Be gentle to mother earth! We can’t live without her!!!!
Over lunch a few of the girls at work and our dogs (Luna, Ninee and Guss) went to the Winnipeg Humane Society. We had seen on twitter that they were in need of rawhide for their dogs, so all of our dogs gave up their allowances to buy them some treats. We even got a tour of the entire facility and got to see all the puppies. On top of having wonderful staff and volunteers, the building is also very beautiful and environmentally friendly. They tried to include as many local building products as possible and they even have a rainwater collection system. Just all around an incredible place!
Here are a few pictures of our trip. Luna also got a new winter jacket from their cute little store.
I can’t believe it’s that time of the year already when we all start thinking about Christmas shopping. My good friend and fellow artist Charlene Brown and I have joined forces this year and are putting on a Christmas sale at Charlene’s studio. Please come visit us….drink some coffee….do a little shopping (pottery, jewelry, photography and textiles)….Nov 26 & 27, 12-5p, 1178 McMillan.
We are currently renovating the upstairs of our house and I have been thinking of doing something special on the wall behind our bed. I love the look of wallpaper but didn’t really want to go through the hassle, plus if you get tired of the look then it would be so much harder to change. I was asking myself why I couldn’t recreate the look of wallpaper with paint. I’m an artist after all! I started looking around on the internet for stencils and found lots of really nice ones. Most of them a bit too girly for K. but I ended up finding one that we both love. A great pattern of circles overlapping. Modern, clean and geometric! I got the stencil in the mail last week and this weekend I finally got to try it out. We painted the room in 2 different greys (Benjamin Moore Whitestone and Gull Wing). The original idea for the stencil was to use a varnish only so that the effect would be very subtle. I did a test strip in the studio and realized that it worked well on lighter colors but that the Gull Wing grey was too dark for it to work, so I adjusted the plan and used the Whitestone for the stenciling. It took 5 hours to complete but it is so worth it. The end result is amazing. Here are a couple quick photos. I will make sure to blog again once the bamboo hardwood floor is down and the room is put back together.
Here is what you need for this project:
•Paint – 0 VOC (better for you and the environment – you don’t use very much paint so maybe you can use up some paint from a previous project. Think green!)
I wanted to share a beautiful short film with a great message. The film by film-maker Johnny Kelly depicts the life of a farmer as he slowly turns his family farm into an industrial animal factory before seeing the errors of his ways and opting for a more sustainable future. Both the film and the soundtrack were commissioned by Chipotle to emphasize the importance of developing a sustainable food system. Beautifully done and a great message!