Material Witness will focus on extreme textile process. Images will be posted here showing the history of my work, new work, developing projects and inspiration.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

How It Works

First you ask the local bank representative in Vancouver how you go about getting a business account for your VISA and INTERAC in a remote area. A little city actually. They, of course, say " No problem!!!!" Just go there and apply from there. So setting up the Galleries will be easy!!!!


So you take the once a week little bus into town after catching it at an ungodly hour of the morning. Then you find said bank only to discover a grumpy and discouraged employee who puts you through the grind only to tell you that they don't have any appointments today. Only after you called and they said it would be fine to drop in.

This happens after you hand over all of your identification which is refused. Why? Because your birth certificate says Quebec and it is different than other birth certificates. There is a little crinkle over the I.D. number sign which interrupts none of the information. You hand over your passport, maybe, and then you discover your B.C. Identification Card expired one week ago!

Do you have an account at the branch or with the bank...no! Because you are trying to set one up and give them your money (which is apparently of no value to them?)

You explain that the little community bus only comes in from Wells once a week and that it will be really hard to get back again before the week is out unless, of course, you walk for a week through the snow and lonely forest perhaps meeting a caribou or a wolf or bear or something.

Rules are rules and appointments are appointments even though you were told it was unlikely that you would even need one.

You wonder if it is the Quebec birth certificate which took you a whole six years to replace last time it went missing. You are , of course, protective of it because you are actually Irish Quebec and it is really hard to navigate through the French system because you were taken from Quebec before school started and you might be able to call people a "Sausage Face" in French but your written French is from high school and you skipped most classes to snog away with some cute boy or other and didn't pay attention until the FLQ crisis when you refused to speak any English and your French still consisted of "Sausage Face" or something!

Needless to say...

You left Quesnel without a bank account, had your present sweetie refuse your collect and desperate long distance call and made a sore foot from stupid boots.

Thankfully you got to have breakfast with the lovely Barbadian Plantation export ,Miss Julia, who is a far distant cousin on the Chauncey side from 1690 something. And the lovely Floyd from Big Country Printers had no problem understanding the instructions that the talented and efficient Bill Horne gave him regarding your new business card, postcard and greeting cards.

Luckily you found a coffee carafe and filter at the Sally Ann and tomorrow morning won't be so bad if you throw some cocoa in the coffee. And go back to bed and try and remember how to call the banker a "Sausage Nose"

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Night Creatures

I woke up with a real start last night because the door of the Good Eats opened with a crash!
I ran over to close it and saw something on the porch but didn't have my glasses on and just don't see very well in the dark. I still have no idea what it was because I slammed the door shut but the thing started pushing at the door which wouldn't catch on the latch. I grabbed the ladder and pushed it over the door and the knob but the thing still kept pushing. I used all my strength, started yelling and shoved the big wardrobe in front of the door. Then pushed the light switch on and off!!!

It took about an hour but whatever it was growled away and tore up my compost bag.

Everyone here says it is too early for bears but that they will push doors open if they are hungry. So will big dogs, coyotes and other creatures.

What other creatures ...She asks still shaking!!!!

Bill and I spent the morning doing photographs of my work for post cards, geeting cards and business cards.

Two little bears were seen at the edge of town yesterday. Perhaps it was just "Close Encounters of the Bear Kind"!

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I have an overwhelming sense of gratitude this morning. I have arrived in a strange place and have had mostly good experiences.

I am particularly grateful for Claire Kujundzic and Bill Horne of Amazing Space Gallery in Wells. They are the kind of people everyone should have in their community. Both are highly creative and have carved a functional, creative life for themselves in a place that is an hour from even a very small city. They have managed to hold and continue to develop values that make them rather exceptional human beings.

I knew Claire and Bill by reputation in Vancouver. Bill worked at my favourite bakery, Uprising Breads. and Claire taught my one of my children a weekend arts and science course. We traveled in many of the same circles in the left, in social justice work, education activism and in the woman's community. We even share some friends. I have seen their work through time and always loved it.

I wondered where they had gone and discovered they were in Wells when I came up here to explore purchasing a gallery a few years ago. They invited me and Tim for a lovely dinner and have stayed in touch regarding Wellsian possibilities since then.

Both Claire and Bill work hard to be decent people. They work hard for a decent world. They are generous beyond belief and are really nice people. They are also
very grounded and ethical. They aren't soppy and sickly sweet because they are also truthful and speak up when it isn't popular to do so. They take real risks.

I am just starting to get to know them and they have been so generous as to share themselves with me. This touches me deeply. I don't make friends as easily as I used to. I don't even expect to make friends. It is actually hard to bother with as many people as in the past.

Today I am just really grateful that there are two people like Claire and Bill in my world.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Moving On

My friends Claire, Bill and Griz, the burly hero from the Wells General Store, helped me to accomplish my move in less than 2 hours this morning. Bill hacked all the snow out of the front of the Good Eats Gallery and Claire and Bill helped me move all of my stuff either into the St. George's Gallery or into the Good Eats. Griz lent me his truck and plowed the road.

I was nearly outsmarted by an interesting passive aggressive today but I actually had the experience to recognize what was happening. I have always said that to be a good passive aggressive you have to be very clever. Witnesses always help in these circumstances.
Self report any damage and any devious plan by another can be circumvented.

Today I get to embroider. I have been invited to drink tonight but I think I would rather embroider because that is why I came here,

Now I have my own little kitchen, my own food and wine. I have heat in my room for the first time in a week. No difficult people to deal with but me. A view over the frozen bog that is so lovely it leaves me speechless.

The show at IMA was lovely and both artists dedicated part of the proceeds of sales to the local environmental work saving mountain goats.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Learning the Ways of Wells

I had a lesson yesterday in doing Wells the proper way. The guy who gave me the lesson has been here for 11 months. He refers to the people who have lived here for 14 years as newcomers.

I am moving from one location to another. My new house is at the "Good Eats". I will be in blissful aloneness. I have learned through time that signs of incompatibility can show up rather quickly and that they shouldn't be ignored.

The snow is coming down now and I haven't slept well for the last few days. I am going for a nap and then off to IMA (Island Mountain Arts). The art community here is vibrant and very active. Many people are doing beautiful work from sock knitting to incredible sculpture and painting.

Trying not to alienate people is my biggest challenge. I seem to have a knack for it.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Face Plant

Well....I am here! I am in the thriving metropolis of Wells and using the General Store to make this entry.

I have learned a few things being here.

A) If you walk fast in the snow you can land on your face in four feet of snow!
B) It is important to try and remember names of people who are around. They remember your name.
C) The salute at street corners in Wells is a five fingered wave not one using the middle finger which might get you a face plant.
D) A small community can have more community involvement than a big city.
E) Don't eat yellow snow!
F) First fire takes twenty matches. Wet wood won't light no matter how blue you turn.
G) Second fire takes two matches done blindfolded with hands in mittens.
H) Extreme embroidery warms the fingers. Yeah heat guns, heat presses, and hot tools.
I) Go to the potlucks and the parties. People here cook good!
J) Everything can freeze. Every seen a solid tomatoe on a cold counter?
H) The definition of spring changes depending on where you are. Spring looks like four feet of snow, slush and cold wind to me but kids just arrived in the store wearing flip flops and shorts.

Anybody want to cuddle? Be warned I will be using you for warmth. No commitment required!!!!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Step One, Step Two

Here are some of the steps I am taking to set up the gallery in Wells.

Step 1: Take a deep breath, pack clothing and food and then run off and drink with as many Vancouver friends as possible.
Step 2: Resist saying things like "So long suckers", because I have yet to experience 10 foot snow drifts, mosquitoes and the local grizzly bears.
Step 3: Avoid accidentally packing studio mates supplies or leaving her with the dust from behind the work tables I am absconding with.
Step 4: Avoid inviting friends to visit at the same time.
Step 5; Set up bank accounts, tax numbers, insurance, credit lines, and a guy to shovel off the church roof and install the wood stove chimney.
Step 6: Inform children and friends that I am officially in the poor house.
Step 7: Inform children and friends that I will no longer be doing their laundry.
Step 8: Learn to do a mountain yodel.
Step 9: Pack first aid kit. Include wine, matches, sex toys and a toothbrush. No razors because of frost bite.
Step 10: Remember not to yell out of car windows or show finger at the Wells traffic jam. There are less than 300 people in town.

One week and counting...