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, October 26, 2010

About Me

There are things you probably don't know about me. So I will tell you.

1. I am getting older and I like it. I don't like all of the things it brings like disrespect and sore knees but I like some of my sags and wrinkles. I want people to keep their own faces, boobs and bums.

2. I used to be a Can-Can dancer. I also danced interpretive jazz ballet and made extreme gestures and faces. I wasn't a particularly good Can-Can dancer because I had an ample bosom and threatened to knock myself out when bouncing enthusiastically.

3. I gave birth to two children. One was very large. I inherited two children. One was very loud and active. I like them all.

4. I like bugs a lot.

5. I have a complete weakness for my childhood foods. I really crave things like cracklin's and pickled pigs feet but I don't eat them. I will fight anyone for the butt end of the chicken. We called it the Pope's Nose. My early childhood was spent in Quebec.

6. I had an amazing singing and talking dog named Woofen. I would sing and so would he. I would talk and he would talk right along. He punished me by taking all of my clothes out of my drawers and getting the garbage bag and rolling in both. I knew he had done it when he put himself face first in the corner.

7. I can't drive. I am a hopeless passenger. I make everyone I drive with crazy. I imagine all kinds of disaster.

8. I can swear in more than seven languages. I want to learn real Gypsy cursing. I watched a tiny old Romany woman curse the cops in Paris. I have a new goal.

9. I still stamp my foot when pissed right off.

10. I love flannel nighties, clean sheets and cocoa. My real fetish is total comfort.

11. Mail gets left on my floor if it doesn't interest me.

12. I am double jointed and can bend all over the place. This means I can pick things up with my toes.

13. I am a breast cancer survivor. I "forget " to wear my boobs. Swimming is difficult because my back end is more buoyant than my front end and I end up swimming under water. Bee-line for the bottom.

14. I grow paper wasps nests and steal them for my art.

15. Truly hate mornings.

16. My worst childhood fears were "Dawn Horses" and the concept of "Infinity". I was afraid that a little herd of Dawn horses that survived the Ice Age would stampede, knock me over and trample me with their sharp little feet.

The image of a woman on the box of "Black Magic" chocolates was holding a box of chocolates was holding a box of chocolates tinier and tinier until you couldn't make them out. Shivered my timbers.

The first time I saw the ocean I threw up because you couldn't see the shore on the other side. Infinity in the big. Oh God! Then I discovered the "Universe" and couldn't sleep for a month!

That, of course, was all replaced by my fear of the nuclear bomb.

Since cancer...I don't feel afraid of much.

17. I really do love Paris and New York. Houses in both places is a dream I have.

18. Wood rot and sow beetle fascinate me. It must be the process of regeneration.

19. I bite thread. I almost never use scissors.

20. Most people are likable but I have a problem with "girly girls". Never trust them. Princesses appal me. Why would any ordinary person give their daughter delusions of grandeur? Or force feed them anything pink!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pick Up and Delivery

Celine came to the studio last night to select and pick up work. She also delivered my three Yvonne Wayakubayashi sculptures. And a completely delicious dinner. And laughter!

I arrived late to the studio yesterday and really was scrambling to finish edging the pile of work.
My eyes do not want to cut straight lines. Ever. Loud cussing, swearing and panic were rising from the studio and a brave Tina Ozols came in with blades and cork backed rulers. She and I managed to complete edging and gluing about two minutes before Celine arrived. Everyone needs a Tina.

I edged the work with a shibori paper and a batik paper which added to the canvases. Makes them a good small piece to take away at shows where other work is more expensive. I like them more than some of the larger work. Tiny canvases and tiny globes.

Celine took a good box full to the gallery. I feel accomplished and have my work rhythm back. Focus is now on the Crawl.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Giving Things Away

All morning has been spent burning globes and canvases. Delicious. No interruptions at all.
Finished seven globes. So far this week I have burnt nine globes, eleven canvases and have almost completed six encaustic paintings. Scared the mail woman this morning as I was running around in shocking pink nighty, scruffy hair wrap, rubber garden clogs and a gas mask for the fumes. Smoke was streaming out of the porch.

Have discovered that some of the paper mache newsprint bleeds through the medium a bit and creates misty variations in colour for the coral globes. Artistic accidents are the best.

My throat is sore and my stupid arm is swollen. I have just over a week until I leave for Toronto for a week to see Tim's lovely 96 year old Dad. He informed me of the birth of a new family member named Raelyn Elizabeth on Wednesday. I will get to meet her!

Dane has been here from Winnipeg all week working and filming a new music video. Our creative energies have not collided. Wish he moved back home. Not in the house but in the town.

Am determined to get a pile of work done for "East Side Culture Crawl". Will have this week on my own and have discovered that no one comes to visit and chat late at night.

I am going into the studio to do rice paper batik for the canvas edges. Will try acrylic watered down as an "ink" because the Indian Ink is leaking. Never mind. I think that using an acrylic medium will work as a fixative or varnish. I know it gets decorative and fussy but the extra effort with presentation seems to get things more attention.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


My solo show at the Quesnel Art Gallery is now confirmed for next June.
I will also be doing a weekend long workshop at the gallery and teaching some of my more involved techniques.

Quesnel is a northern town committed enough to the arts to have a public gallery. My experience with Quesnel is that people from there enjoy art. Many of them traveled to Wells last summer and purchased art from my gallery. Quesnel is not a large city. The people work in jobs like ranching, forestry and mining. They are earthy. The land is wild and cold for most of the year. Men wear big beards, drive big trucks and work hard. Women are tough and solid. Not a likely place for art appreciation. But it is by far my favourite place to show.

I was thrilled last summer at the loggers, truck drivers and miners who came in the St. Georges Gallery in Wells. Sometimes they chopped my wood for the fire for a chance sit in the warmth and take in one of Corey Hardeman or Marie Nagel's paintings. They played with my sculpture and were thrilled by some of my techniques. I was also given rusty bits, help setting up and sled dog hair. And they bought work. The majority of my sales were from Quesnel patrons.

I can't help think that the constant and patient education Marie Nagel did exposed these people to a different way of seeing. That her common and gentle influence made a difference for all other artists in the area. She was followed by the efforts from people like the I.M.A., Bill Horne and Claire Kudjundzic, the Quesnel Art Gallery, Paul Crawford and his wife Julie, and the Two Rivers Gallery in Prince George.

No doubt the people in Quesnel honour art enough to have such a beautiful gallery that changes shows about once a month and offers locals the opportunity to learn from artists. I am thrilled to get to share some of my skills.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Miners Rising

I, like many other people around the world, have watched the rescue of the Chilean Miners.
They have been trapped in a mine for months and are emerging from the earth one at a time in a little capsule that is being dragged through a narrow tunnel. It is an extraordinary media spectacle.

Each man has a life on the surface away from the mine. Each has what we all have in terms of relationships and life chaos. Each must face the world again like a returning voyager.

Two things disturb me.

Why have we lost track of corporate responsibility for the disaster that has impacted the lives of these men and placed them in danger in the first place?

What happens to them when this is all over?

The media is covering this event as if it is a sports event. Not much different than how the Olympics were portrayed. A circus.

Miners die all over the world. They often work in terrible conditions. Many of them are children.
Walls collapse, tunnels flood, gases poison, fire breaks out. It is not natural to send people deep into the earth like this.

I noticed another thing. They had clean jackets on as they emerged.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


It is Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend and my children are cooking me a meal of wild salmon and maple syrup. I have three of them with me today. Tim is missing as he has just driven the twenty hours it takes to get to Fort Nelson. Chris and Vashti are on the Island. Dane is flying in at 2:00 from the "Peg". Steph is driving in from the Valley. Bren and Meg are unpacking and cooking a delicious meal in their new little apartment overlooking English Bay.

Dane will be home for two weeks. This is the longest time for years and I am looking forward to his easy energy.

I have been experimenting with en caustics on wood and silk. Globes are prepped and panels are being burnt. Have finished three.

Have left my studio and home keys somewhere. I think I locked them in the studio. This meant I locked myself out of the house after a long day and a long walk home. I tried to get in and couldn't so had to call Bren and sit on the porch, in the dark until he arrived to get a ladder, hang upside down like a monkey and climb in the slightly open kitchen window. I felt very stupid and incompetent.

Had a great conversation with Celine about direction and an installation I am planning for a show next June. She is so clear about the importance of editing. I learned in my last show that I would rather not rush things and that each work needs to be strong enough to be shown. I have watched textile artists constantly rush up until the end and include everything they have made to fill up space. I have done this. I have also seen important shows that have included only a few thoughtful and well crafted works.

There is a temptation in textiles to show off the plethora of skills and techniques, layering and over layering them and showing off how much can be crammed into a piece. This often results in something almost hallucinogenic and incomprehensible.

The show is in the last stage of planning and the contract should arrive this week. Don't want to jinx it by talking too much about it. I need to get ready for the Crawl first and then put full concentration into developing a decent portfolio, website and other promotional materials.

I need to be disciplined about focusing on one or two things and not let the Muse carry me away.
Tim will not be here most of this year and I will miss him terribly. This means, however, that I can work day and night if I choose and not disrupt any of my projects.

Lots to be thankful for this year. Tim's survival and good health is at the top of my list. His vigour and enthusiasm for his new project is inspiring.

One thing at a time...one day at a time.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fort Nelson Visions

More images from near Fort Nelson.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Double Vision-Morphos Inquiry- Patricia Chauncey
various sculptural and embroidered textile works
Photographs- Scott Pawnell 2009
Tim has been packing up the house and making a lot of dust in order to move to Fort Nelson. I have been throwing a series of fits and exhausted tantrums! He leaves on Friday. Early morning. Dane arrives Sunday. Early morning.
Am ready to start playing with the installation and have purchased threaded rod to enable some animation of the work. Have also found illumination. Reworking the felted wing cuffs and fossil work.

Saw an inspiring installation on a Spanish blog called Solotextil. Reminds me of the shoe tree I saw this summer at the Tulameen. Very moving with the use of multiples and walking felted slippers. Check it out. http://solotextil.spaces.live.com/

Monday, October 4, 2010

Part Of Heaven

All photographs
Tim G.A. Hurley and Patricia Chauncey
September 2010

Part of Heaven exists in Fort Nelson. The colours, textures and surfaces of the environs surrounding the community are delicious. Here are a few images Tim and I took on our late fall picnic. The images were thankfully saved off a faulty card by a wonderful technician at London Drugs in Vancouver.

Friday, October 1, 2010


My fat little yellow and hand staining mushrooms have arrived from Fort Nelson. I am thrilled despite the fact they are getting elderly in the jar they remain intact. In a mushier sort of way.
Tim delivered them yesterday. No problems on the plane.

Hilary Young is teaching an image transfer workshop in Kimberly this weekend and came to the studio to borrow my flat irons. She told me that Julie Pongrac is giving a mushroom dye workshop in Pender Harbour or Maderia Park in the next few weeks. I am ecstatic and googled to find information and discovered a whole lot of workshops all over the Lower Mainland to Seattle focusing on the little buddies. The Botanical Garden and UBC are also holding workshops on identification. There is a whole Mushroom Festival happening on the Sunshine Coast! I will go broke and exhaust myself if I take everything but ...

I have been watching Arlee Barr's valiant experiments with vegetation and have been drying all sorts for awhile now. Found some gorgeous pots worthy of my experiments and back porch at the Commercial Drive Home Hardware down the road. A friend informed me that the Restaurant Supply on Hastings Street in Vancouver have some bigger and better ones. Will probably stick to the smaller size so I can manage them.

Visited Afuwa Granger in her studio yesterday. Her painting skills have evolved in very exciting ways. She has tucked tiny little sketches in corners and has bones in jars like I do. I am so sorry I missed her show but the work left was gorgeous. She is working on a performance for the Roundhouse using herself painting with disappearing medium.
Very interested in the direction of her work.

Plan to go to Eva Honig's new show opening at Numen Gallery on Sunday. Curious to see how her work is developing. Will also pick up my tiny and exquisite sculptures done by Yvonne Wayakubayashi. All paid for! Mine! A total indulgence in beauty.

The studio is so clean and I have done sketches for my installation for the East Side Culture Crawl. Cut out about twenty pieces for some "creatures". 4 different designs. Very,very visceral and animated. Need to wrap wires this weekend and make bodies, do some silicone casting and needle embroidery. Full out production on globes. Large, small and in between.

Fall is my New Year. Always feel inspired and energized by the promise of abundance and cooler weather. I walk more this time of year than any other. I crave vegetables and fruit. I get more done. The studio is the perfect temperature. What more could I even desire?

Had a pub supper with my sweet. So glad he is home safe and happy and full of Northern tales.