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, May 28, 2009

Dead Bugs and New Beginnings.

Naughty Peter has done it again. He always manages to do something delightful unless we are attempting to travel together. Then I am the less delightful of the two.

Naughty sent me an amazing collection of images related to slime and gooey bits from an
io9 article called The Bizarre Conciousness Of Slime Mold.) I am currently living in and running a gallery in Wells, B.C., Canada. The Good Eats Gallery and my apartment are located just before miles and miles of bog. Hence I am obsessed with nasty slimy things and am out belly crawling unless I am overcome by bear terror.

Corey Hardemen is one of the painters in my other gallery on the hill called the St. George's Gallery. She is a biologist and a painter. She also has three little children and is living in a travel trailer for the summer with her blacksmith husband, Michael. Corey and her children are kindred spirits relating to muck and goo. The children can be counted on to drag in some inspiring offal or other.

Life in Wells is going well. I am making friends of all ages and am being included in lots of activities and fun. There is a seriousness here. People are hardworking. Artists, loggers, goldminers, retired people, children and musicians all struggle together to make a living. There are also lots of dancers, actors, historians, costumers and the various people who keep Barkerville running. You make friends if people think you have a commitment to this beautiful little town. People pull together to create a little utopia of sorts. If you don't pull you don't really belong except for the season. I am learning to pull my share.

There is also a kindness here that I didn't expect. Yesterday while sending faxes in the Well's General Store the newest resident arrived. She is one and one half days old and her middle name is heaven spelled backwards. Mean and crusty looking forestry workers, a local artist, a goldminer and the shoppers all came over to greet her. "Welcome to the world and welcome to Wells little one!" How moving is that.

The other children here appear to be cherished. It isn't unusual to have a five year old deliver your sandwich at the restaurant. She is included. The children call out to you when you pass by.
There are only a dozen or so children in the school. The community garden is in the school grounds. People watch the children very carefully.

I have asked the children to tell me when they find something like a dead bird or interesting bug.
A number of them have come into the gallery and spent time looking at the low shelves that now have magnifying glasses. I have decided to set up a little children's gallery and a little play area in the St. George's.

Work is proceeding and I had 50 people in the Good Eats last night. School groups are coming through from places like Terrace, Smithers, Chilliwack and Merrit. Sometimes I run into the street and pull them in because my signage isn't very good yet. Hopefully this weekend the sign gets painted.

Island Mountain Arts is selecting applicants for the workshops this summer and also have a scholarship program. I have been asked to help select the scholarship students tomorrow. I look forward to see who is coming for the summer.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Gallery Set Up

The Good Eats Gallery in Wells is now being officially set up for it's first show this weekend. the show will be an installation of my work called 'metamorphosis' and will feature some of my work related to cocoon and egg forms as well as a collection of textile and sculptural experiments relating to natural surface.

This is the May long weekend celebrating Queen Victoria's Birthday and the town of Bakerville is in full costume for the event. We are living in Wells and it is also celebrating but with an event to rebuild the Sunset Theatre after a snow collapse this winter.

There will be a large benefit tomorrow at the Wells Community Hall and all kinds of musicians are coming into town. The place is buzzing with energy.

Claire, Bill, Ron and Gail delivered Claire's show to Prince George yesterday and the opening is coming up shortly. More about that later.

I have been building, assembling and painting display units for the Good Eats Gallery. The final process on insurance and business set up is well under way and hopefully the credit card machines arrive eventually. Tim usually does this stuff for me and I am doing it on my own and discovering I really can. Screw drivers and drills aren't that hard.

New cadre of skills include reading directions, hammering, screwing on my own, using a level, putting together and running a projector, sign painting, hauling heavy things with a dolly, climbing ladders (no likey), filling out B.C. Government forms, and negotiating with banks. I also have the luxury of eating vegetarian most of the time. The rest of the time seems to be spent eating bacon.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tourist In Your Own Town

Claire, Bill , Stevie and I worked until very late pulling together Claire's show for the Two River's Gallery in Prince George, British Columbia. My role was simple enough. I reinforced her velcro attachments to hang the work and sewed little rings on the corners of her enormous trees.

I had to go back to the Good Eats Gallery and set up a mess into a real live show for the next morning at 9:00 am. The job was done at 8:45 am. Phew.

The merchants, artists and governers of Wells showed up and gave me the best welcome. They ate a few of my cookies and poked my work with enthusiasm.

They left and I climbed into bed a little worse for wear and slept until 2:30.

Elections happen for the Province of B.C. today. I voted in an early poll last week. Even 1200 miles from home without any fuss or bother.

Today I get to assemble display cases.

The Government approved both gallery names so I can now properly register.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Claire is setting up her spectacular show at the Two Rivers Gallery in Prince George this week and I am booked in to help her reinforce corners for her hanging systems.

Her work is spectacular!!! Enormous trees, personal landscapes, reflections of the natural worlds here and of her personal history. She has worked tirelessly on it for months and has created a show that has brought artists and others to tears with the moving beauty of the work.

I just feel really honored to be able to help her.

My own work will be debuted at the Chamber of Commerce Gallery Tour which is happening on Monday. The Good Eats will be the first gallery open and will also have a preview of the work for the St. George's Gallery.

Spent the last few days wrestling with insurance and bank officials. Things are rolling along but will not have interac and credit card machines for opening. Yeesh!

Gary, the owner of the St. George's Gallery, had not contacted me for weeks and I was getting very frustrated because parts of my business couldn't proceed without some information from him. Turns out that he had a very serious blood clot around the time I came up here and he ended up dying and being revived! He spent the last three weeks in hospital. Thankfully he is doing really well and has absolutely no memory of anything that happened to him. They can't find any permanent damage. His wife Sara, however, is completely traumatized.

Everything is being pulled together for opening on Monday.

Happy Mother's Day all!

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Phone is Ringing

My phone is hooked up at the St. George's Gallery. They were able to hook it up from the office in Quesnel. I am so very thrilled! I am connected to the wide world again.

This morning I spent unpacking the St. George's Gallery and have now started to set up the proper working studio. I couldn't see my breath this morning and only had to put on my mits after being in there for an hour.

Mike Wallace came by and put in the new lock set for me this morning and I can now lock the Church properly. He has been really involved in setting up radio access for the community. He is looking for a transmitter to be able to set up a little radio station for the Wells area. Similar to the radio station we have in Vancouver for the ferries and tourist information but also to broadcast local programming. Any one have ideas?

Breakfast this morning at the Well's Hotel. Lorraine came in looking flustered and pink. She raises sled dogs and was feeding them when a large Grizzly bear decided to try and compete for the food. Grizzlies eat mostly dandelions this time of year. she feeds her dogs frozen meet and the sun was out and melting it. Even her dogs went quiet and she backed up quietly to get back to cabin. She lives five kilometers from here.

I have decided to take the bear aware course this week.

It is so funny people don't really fear bears that much here. I know they are lovely but not cuddly. I can negotiate my way around a knife packing junkie without a problem but have no idea what I would do if the door pushed in again.