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.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Life with Bears

No. I haven't left yet. The contract is signed and we are now packing the house and studio.

I sat on the porch with Christine Hatfull yesterday and trimmed and powdered all my natural dye materials that have been collected during the summer. Good thing because the rain poured out of the sky today and soaked the place I was stashing all the bracken, lichens, barks, leaves and flowers. Some of the berries have been dried to condense power and intensity. I had hoped to have time to dye some silk and wool rovings. The waste papers have been shredded to make sheets for reforming up north.

Saw that Arlee Barr has made a valiant effort to extract colour from plant materials. Some are lovely.

Will send her some prairie recipes and some mordant recipes.

Leaving for the first trip to Fort Nelson next Thursday. Hilary and Jim returned and saw so many animals on the road. Moose , bear, sheep and a cougar! Will stop in on Wells on the way up.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Talisman One Complete.

The mobile that has driven me to hell and back is complete. I decided to work it like a Talisman instead of a traditional layered mobile.

Included in it are animal bones, driftwood, a buffalo tooth, chains, found metal objects and turban cloth. I used old rusted chain, wire and created new chain.

Forcing projects never works. Things come in their own time.

This one now casts shadows, clatters, shakes and pings.

It is on the way to Quesnel tomorrow. All bought and paid for.

All the unfinished Well s projects are now complete!!!! I did it!!!!
This mobile is about 3 1/2 feet tall. It is heavy and will be displayed beside an open window near a stone fireplace. The ceiling is made of hand split cedar. It is a heavy brute.

Friday, August 20, 2010


Tim went for his PSA and his doc said it was great. No cancer showing and a very low, normal PSA rating. He is mostly dry and without pain. He has started the house reno for the new tenant.

We won't be here next month but will be settling up north for the next year or so.

In the meantime I am wrestling animal bones, rusted bits, an old horse harness, shells, leather, driftwood, stones and felt. Trying to decide about cocoons and burnt paper or gut balls. I found a sandable, carvable, paintable wood glue.

We are supposed to go to Wells with friends on Monday. The fires are really bad and the air quality is terrible. Rumour has it that ash is falling in Wells as there are now fires near Quesnel. Some of the highway is closed and the winds have picked up. Rain is expected this weekend. I hope so because I am worried. All the backwoods are now closed and there is a complete fire ban throughout the province.

Wells is a little village that is near Barkerville, B.C.. I ran two galleries up there last summer. It is about one hour down a mountain road from Quesnel. One narrow road in and one narrow road out. Wells has one of the most organized and amazing volunteer fire departments around but the valley is tinder dry as many of the surrounding pine forests have been affected by the pine beetle and are very vulnerable to fire.

Tomorrow in the studio to meet Tina for tea and rug hooking exchange.

Want rain without lightening!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Frozen Stares!

Shocked and now excited. I am moving up to the Yukon Borderlands for a little more than a year. Boxes are being packed and contracts are being signed. Trucks are ordered. Garden being picked and pickled.

I am living in a construction site. Kitchen and bathroom being renovated for the new tenants of my little Vancouver cottage. I will never get to use everything new! It will be more than a year old when I get back here.

Tim and I will be living in a little apartment, driving around in trucks and taking bear aware courses and Northern survival courses. There are no long johns to be found in August in Vancouver. Good thing the weather holds up there for another month or so.

Exciting thing is that Northern dye plants, basket plants and seed pods will be available to photograph and study. Have already found a source for Musk Ox wool. Took no time to discover there isn't even a gallery in town. There is a library and a live theatre. Won't really no the rest until I get there. It is also dark for months on end.

Tim is glitterting with happiness and excitment. I sneak off and smother panic attacks. I am leaving for the north with a man who has just finished cancer treatment and lost an eye. He says this is on his bucket list. Has never been on mine. Sometimes the universe delivers us presents we never expected.

Will turn this into a giant visual research trip. No one knows me up there and this might be an opportunity to cloister off and do a real body of work.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Ice Storm

Tim's employer phoned yesterday to inform him he had been selected for a supervisory role at a remote job site. His sick leave is up in about a week. He is still healing as a result of complications like being blind in one eye and bladder difficulties. Turns out the job is about 16 kilometers from Fort Nelson which is near the Yukon border.

Holy F.

He wants to take it which means I go because there is no way he is going without me in this shape.

I spent the evening gasping for air and went to bed and dreamt of incredible ice sculptures sound illustrated by howling animals. I woke up realizing that it could be an incredible adventure that will pay lots of money.

Discussion formalize on Monday. Next month I could be living in a motel in the Far North. So much for my plans of a little cottage by the sea in France or a gallery in the forest.

I ain't going without a truck piled full of art books, cloth, machines and supplies.

Perhaps Wells was my rehersal. I can chop wood, light fires, haul water and shovel snow after all.

My, my!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Castings and Accumulation

Cast Recycled Paper and Chinese hemp twine
experiments Patricia Chauncey 2010
photo Tim Hurley
Placed on antique linen dyed with rust, blood and indigo.

How curious it is to look at the difference between multiple objects that are made in almost an identical way with materials that are identical. Not one of these pieces look remotely the same even though they were made in a short time frame when visual memory should be intact.

They have similar size, colour, materials and were made in the mornings about ten o'clock over a few days. I made a point not to look at the others as I produced each one. Same amount of material, same lengths, same amount of casting paper and shredded twine. None the same.

I am also interested in accumulation and collection, mass objects and homogeneous gathering.
These are part of a larger installation and not even sure what they will be yet. They still need lots of work and thought.
The cloth underneath is an antique linen curtain lining from Quebec City. It was a gift from Jan years ago. We dyed it with blood, rust and almost spent indigo.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Little White Things

I spent time exploring white shapes and shadows. All soft clay, all tiny shapes. Inspired by some of the gorgeous felt container work that Marchi Weirson is doing.

Playing with soft clay is something I do sometimes instead of sketching ideas. It makes playing with ideas for larger projects more three dimensional. Photos of them can be used in inspiration files.

Squishing soft white clay is a good way to start the engines and I no longer have the urge to rub it through my hair , smear it into the floor, stick it up my nose, or eat it. There are days when this could still happen. Not quite as satisfying as good gumbo prairie mud.

Photos by Patricia Chauncey and Tim Hurley August 2010
Soft white clay forms
Study for Abundance