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.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Taste of Unearthed

Lost and Found

Amazing. Linda!

My beautiful best childhood friend has found me! She walked me to my first day of Grade 1. Arm in arm. She helped me learn to tie my shoes. We made little houses from shoe boxes and figured out when the new shoes showed up. We smoked a false cigarette made of prairie grasses. Danced ballet in the back yard and dressed up in real glass high heels. Spit sunflower seeds like perfect ladies. Almost 10 feet! Dressed the dogs in ruffles and lace and same with the little brothers. Hopscotched everywhere. Even when there were no hopscotch squares. Skipped and learned to double dutch and pepper. Became blood sisters forever by cutting with glass and rubbing fingers together.

She started to feel sick and I wasn't allowed to visit. The disease struck her heart. Scary during times when polio still existed and things like rheumatic fever were still common.

I sat heart broken on my porch and watched her house for hours in perfect vigil. I had already experienced the terrible separation that death meant. I stopped sleeping altogether.

I was called to her bedside when the priest came for last rites. Tiny me. Her mother begged my mom to let me be there. A life altering experience to say the least. They prayed over her which scared me. She had a little flowered nightie on and was not conscious. I was asked to hold her hand and tell her I loved her and I wanted her to come back. She didn't even look like Linda. And being me I talked and talked and she squeezed my hand. I would come back tomorrow.

Her mother kissed and kissed me and I saw her father cry hard. She wasn't going to live through the night. Whispers from all the adults on watch. Call day or night. We are right across the alley.

I didn't know kids could die.

I did come back and every day for a long time. At first she just lay on the bed. Sunken eyes and very sad, exhausted little face. I brought her drawings and paper dolls I made. I saved every penny I found and managed to buy her a paper doll with real hair. I scrounged all the Eaton's catalogues I could. So we could do cut outs. And we did. Read books. Did dot to dots.

One day the visit came and the door to her room was closed. I was lead away and made to sit on the chesterfield. The door opened and out she walked. More like a trembling stagger. All the way to where I sat.

We lost touch in adolescence. On the radio I heard she won a prize of money.

Miracle of miracles. Facebook finds my beloved cousin Jeff who was missing to me and others in our family. And then Jeff goes to an optometrist where a very lively Linda works. She looks at his name and asks if he knows me. He gives her my information and voila!

On Facebook is a picture of the lovely Linda. Full of life and love. Same beautiful eyes. Pink cheeks and happy family.

My blood sister.

Middle Of The Night

It is the middle of the night. I am stitching and printing to get ready for tomorrow. Tim leaves Monday morning after what has felt like a very short visit. This show gets delivered on Tuesday or early Wednesday morning.

I sadly missed the opening at the Squamish Arts Council "Out of the Woods" event but have heard that the opening was packed. Also heard that my work was well received. Feedback is always appreciated. Negative or positive.

The people at the Britannia Mine have decided that we are going to do a closing and not an opening for my show. They are having a large community arts event called "Copper and Fire" the day the show opens on August 7th. Have decided it will be fun whenever it is. The show will be up for a couple of months and the show at the S.A.C. will be up for three months.

So am now printing with chemicals that cause iron to rust. Looked at the concoction today and now wonder if I can leave some of the nastier chemical soup out and just use a high iron content emulsion or suspend rust scrapings in one of the more organic emulsions made of soy. It should work if the rusting process gets started and allow for more control in the printing process.
Won't try it tonight because there isn't time to change my process for this show. But the first of the next set of experiments.

Ended up enjoying the family evening after all. Ate a yummy African dinner at Simba's and had a good conversation. Tired enough to enjoy some of the power dynamics with my sons. Each one powerful in their own right in the world but with an established pecking order in the family. The eldest still the king. The youngest seeking approval from him. Papa Tim wisely and kindly including everyone. Me finally able to stay right out of it (almost). No longer needing to wipe a nose or have someone sit up straight. Hard to imagine that 27 years of intense parenting is over.
And that the next family celebration will include another generation as Breana moves into the last trimester of her pregnancy.

No real plans for the next project. Have a few things on simmer. But I really need a break and some contemplative time. Time to just consider the cracks in the wall.

Single focus and purpose for now.

Friday, July 29, 2011

When Does?

When does family show up from out of town? When you are deadlining!
When does difficulty with friends need to be solved? When you are deadlining!
When do your kids and spouse get pissy? When you are deadlining!

When do you become completely indispensable? The washing machine break? The car gets a flat?

Soon Patty Pie needs a nap!

She also needs a kind word, a back rub and needs to stop being a complete pain in the butt diva! Taking all ego out of this, setting limits and not cooking dinner but taking everyone out for a meal would help. Asking people to call first is a good idea. Moving back into the studio is the best yet!

And "we wanted to see how you really lived" is a very rude statement. What does that mean anyways? That I am not a good woman or wife? That I am here at your beck and call?

"We didn't want you to fuss!" Not true at all... I always fuss but
I AM WORKING! I don't come to your office and disrupt you...

Art bomb it is. Serve on a plate! No self consciousness this time. Find a place in this mess if you can and phone next time. I hope you go home with thread in your teeth and paint on your bum.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

One more week and the last summer 2011 show will be installed. Amazing.

Went out to Squamish and set up the pieces for "Into the Woods". The show itself is in the Squamish Arts Council Gallery and looks amazing. Krisztina Egyed chose some gorgeous work for the show.

I love wood as a medium and was completely thrilled that Martin Thorne's work is interacting with mine. His huge sculpture "War of the Worlds" and his thorn work and carving of logs took the knees out from under me. Beautiful!!!!!!!

There was so much to look at and a delicious mix of First Nation artists and others.

Krisztina, Jim, Martin, Tim helped so much last night. Big, big thanks for the heavy lifting, transportation, glass polishing and lending eyes to the little installation.

I stood in the cool air and the very dark night and took in a deep breath of sweet forest air. Forgot who I was for a moment... proceeded to throw a little breathing fit without my puffer.
Need to move to the desert...

The opening is tonight and I am not sure if I can make it yet. A clinic day and we will see how I do.

And Elliot from Clothworks really did manage to perform miracles and get part of my emulsions from Montreal. They are here! Now I can silkscreen all night if I want.

Dr. visit successful Levels have dropped by half, weight loss incredble. Got a hug from my Doc and didn't do anything but put up with this medication. It is so working! Finally.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lanterns Lit

Lantern Detail 2011 Patricia Chauncey

Lantern 2011 Patricia Chauncey

The large lantern is now finished after many, many challenges and we will be going to deliver the work for the "Into The Woods" show today.

One down and one to go!

The video for the "Unearthed " show is now completed. The art works are still steeping in pots, molding on the back porch or buried in the ground.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Into The Woods

Last night this lantern looked like a doily draped on a beach ball.

Today the lantern takes shape. It will be shown in a little installation of forestry bits at the "Into the Woods Show" at the new amazing gallery with the Squamish Arts Council.

Got one extra day!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Things To Remember

I am bleeding from a needle stab, burnt from the soldering tool, sunburned and have a sore arm. Trying to remember why I gave up a reliable job that actually made money to do this!

Will try not to bleed on white felt and move on to the next piece. But please, please let the pieces fit together.

This stage of the work always requires a little more effort than I remember. Smashed up against two deadlines. As per usual. A behaviour I intend to think about.

I need one more day!

Metal Globes

Globe parts from last night
Globe from Wonderland Show
Inspirational surface Abalone shell
Globes for
Detail globe
Inspirational object - core samples
Detail of sample for globes
Inspirational object - pumice stone

Spent until late last night painting and forming little metallic globes. Finally a neighbour complained about the noise of my heat gun. Isn't as loud as a hair dryer but he is a good neighbour and looked exhausted so that was it.

Looked at the globes this morning and will need to work up the surface texture a little. Today is assembly for the large lanterns for tomorrow's delivery.

Did medical labs this morning and miraculously had a 15 minute wait instead of the normal 1 1/2 hours. Two needles only! Brought sketch books and artist statements with me. But didn't climb into them at all.

Tim helped me haul home 3 trunks full of supplies and has now moved his desk to the basement. Says he isn't lonely with the grinding of the washing machine. He looks much better. The man from under the stairs.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Surface Texture,

Inspirational bark

Photos July 2011 Patricia Chauncey

Some of the new components. Using the sun, the torch and the blaster.
Excited and productive.

Hand painting, stamping, silk screen, burning and pyrography. Applying ground glass, beads, glitter, metallic paints, graphte powder, sand and post industrial felts. Recycled plastics are also involved.

Results are dimensional and very textured.

Can never seem to use one technique but would probably be a good idea to quiet the mind.

Stitching starts tonight. Should throw a few sparks and spit a few needles.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Hilary Saves The Day.

Hilary has some of the magic emulsion. Not quite the same but almost. She saves my tail once again.

I called Michaels and asked if they had white "Puffy" and they did. Drove all the way to North Vancouver. They had black "Puffy"! Bought it anyways for reverse printing and to foil and paint further. Discovered a pewter metallic paint that works well with a textured ground.

Opus showed me how to make a glass crumble with heavy body gel. Can be made more matte and smokey with the addition of a little gouache.

You will find me in the garden with my hammer smashing broken glass. Do you realise how fine you can pulverise safety glass? It still maintains a crystalline form. Smashed glass beads also work well. So do the cheap and dirty ones.

Once again inventing a thing or two for this show.

All that is needed is a life and death deadline challenge! With the addition of 10 foot banners all over the mine.

Tim turned me into a "nice" woman again by feeding me picnic in a cool breeze at "New Brighton Beach". I might make him a pie now that the saskatoons are ripe.


Am not a "nice" woman...prickles out...things to get done!
Beware Alpha Bear.

First delivery on Tuesday...second delivery on August 2... install August 2-5... doors open August 7.
Included in that are a clinic and lab day.

Really glad Tim is home. Bet he is not.

Will climb on a plane before the end of August and see the North one more time before Tim moves back into this house. After more than a year... he wants a month to do just us and unfinished business. Such a tough and substantial person. Objective regarding Alpha Bears.

Friday, July 22, 2011


So very sad to hear the textile constellation in Vancouver has lost two wonderful artists this week.
Sang Jae and Mieneke Mees both passed away. Both dedicated teachers with extraordinary skills and an ability to share and pass them on.

That fact alone will allow their work to continue to have influence here. And allow us to keep a little part of them.

None of us would be able to thread a needle or sew on a button without sharing something that we have learned.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Supplier Trauma

Am in shock and trauma!

For years I have relied on one supplier to provide me with the major ingredients for my emulsions. Lots of my work is designed and worked needing these products. He even delivers it in person to the studio if I need. And he always, always has a bucket available.

So I phone him up yesterday looking forward to our conversation and getting the new bucket and pigments. And he explains that he has none in stock. That he isn't sure the manufacturer is even carrying it anymore.


I panic, plead and cry. I beg him to tell me who he knows who has ordered a big bucket that he knows isn't a seriously producing artist, I offer huge amounts of money. I am two weeks from a show!

I hang up and throw myself around the house in a total panic. I phone my husband who knows customs laws and cross border chemical transportation. Try and figure out a fast border broker and delivery system. Invite him on a weekend across the border where can get 24 hour delivery of a similar product.

El, my supplier, calls me back. He has located a bucket in Montreal! He has ordered it for me and it is now on the road. Has to be land shipped. 10 days. Very expensive.

Oh...what else is left to do but sit down and have a nice cuppa tea. Breath out.

El phones me back and asks how much I have left. That it can be cut twice by water. The man is an angel!

It works. It leaks a little in the screening if I use too much. In some ways the result is even more organic. It works when cut even further for the embellishments. So I will look at my designs and figure out how to create with less density and a more sparing and intermittent printing and painting.

This time less is more! And I hope that truck gets here soon.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Nitobe Garden

Water silencing the world

Japanese Azalea imitating a sea creature

Lichen and moss


Scott documenting a black widow spider I knocked off Celine. Remain calm

Marks on the stone

Serene Celine

Scott documenting me

Celine and Scott kidnapped me today and made me go to Nitobe Gardens. Which was extremely generous of them considering they just moved house last week. Needed to get out of this project filled environment and just absorb some beauty.

I haven't been there for years. It is a beautiful Japanese garden at the University of British Columbia.

Celine has considered all corners of Nitobe and found incredible little corners for me. Scott has photo-documented the seasons. He was trying out his new lens while I had my little wuss of a camera.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Filming For Unearthed

Thought I would share some pictures from movie day.
Ivan Hughes filming and interviewing me in the living room of this little house. Curator Krisztina Egyed is cuddled up to me on the couch. My work on the table for the next show.

Serious me being filmed by Ivan Hughes while showing off my inspiration table and W.I.Ps in the burn shed. Late in the day!

Left To The Elements

Swimmin' hole and old dock at the "ranch". Perfect for yardage and dryng.

Spring and summer have been quite cold and wet this year presenting a challenge
when working with longer yardage and mixed paper casts pieces because of drying times. The pieces like "Hive" need the heat to dry without crumbling or molding.

I had this fantasy of setting all this up in the normally hot summer studio and on my low roof in the house. But time is getting on here!

Taking a drive to Cache Creek or Princeton might be a good idea. It is always hot and dry there.
I can pre-prep the paper, store it in buckets and get the components completely ready, drive out there and set up a some plywood work tables.

Dyes seem to work better when its warm out. Lots of natural dye plants are available and work best when fresh in the summer. Silk painting and printing definitely are brighter.

But silk screening can be a drag in the heat with the print mediums and emulsions . The screens can really clog up because they dry so quickly. Some of the mediums create a crust when used for hand painting and things look perfectly dry and end up smearing when you are trying to heat set. Haven't found a medium extender to slow the drying process on cloth.

Silliness for today is to figure out how to use discharge paste on a 10 yard length. Time to refer to Jane Dunnewold's great book Art Cloth. Rinsing long yardage after all the processes is challenging.

I wonder how many salmon would die if I made a trip over to the river and let it rinse in the current. The dye goes back to the water system in the long run. People do it all over the world.
Anthea Mallinson, dyer extraordinaire, figured out that she could use one of those inflatable back yard swimming pools as a place to rinse long yardage.

My beautiful old claw foot bathtub has been dyed many colours. It always looks grungy from the abuse it has taken. I have two old laundry tubs under the porch that are great to use if I am in the mood to haul water.

The "ranch" needs to happen. The barn is huge and I can set up layers of drying racks and even make a large dehydrator. Or just use the sauna! Everything needed there including the river!

Just a few thoughts for this morning. And maybe I should give up doing impossible lengths and just do some piecing!

Friday, July 15, 2011

In The Burn Shed

Printed and heat blasted
printed and heat blasted experiment with a real hive
Rusted surface
Rocks, rust and stuff
In the burn shed- inspirational objects and rust gardens
Rust for shibori
Rust garden Day 2
Copper sheet with ammonia and h2o induced patina
Baby plants have now provided 3 salads.

Progress with the nest and nurturing guardian. Can't believe it lets me take pictures!

This week's work has really been about nurturing and patience.

My son Bren had a birthday yesterday at the Carthage Cafe. He introduced me to St. Ambroise, a sweet apricot beer. So good with the cous-cous. Came back to the house for birthday pear tart and chai with Baileys. We talked about traditions like birthdays and weddings. He talked about breaking traditions and about how he thought most weddings sucked. On cue Meg pulled out a little velvet box and told us all to be quiet.

"Bren I have something I have been meaning to ask you".

The whole restaurant went silent. The waiters surrounded the table.

He looked at her horrified when she asked him to open the box.

None of us moved. All completely shocked and embarrassed. Bren lost all colour in his face and looked wide eyed and stunned.

.....inside was a Darth Vader ring!

The whole place exploded!!!!

Have now started the new rust gardens. The patina is slowly forming on the copper in a way that should work. Gathering and collecting more metals and stone so I can see what they are.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Done and Dusted

Filming completed. The videographer is Ivan Hughes from Winnipeg. Krisztina and Jim came for support and ended up working their tails off doing things like moving furniture and planters and keeping me on track.

The experience was actually inspiring for me. Watching Ivan interpreting my stories and art was fascinating to see. His low key interviewing approach and genuine response to my work encouraged me to feel confident in talking about it, the inspiration and process.

Depleted tonight and talked right out. But completely satisfied and happy.

Validation is such a treat.

Early night.

Found out from Naughty Peter that there is a new Cronenberg movie about Sigmund Freud and Karl Jung called "A Dangerous Method". Pretty sure I know who I want to watch this one with!

Monday, July 11, 2011


Filming starts in the morning.

It occurs that I am so much less bold than in the past. I never worried about cameras or worried about talking to anyone when it was for an issue.

So when did that change?

Perhaps the reason is because there are awful things to step in. And that happens! Maybe attention span is just a tad longer. Or I have become a little vain and don't like the idea that my face will be blown up to twenty times larger.

The Hazmat suit is not terribly revealing after all. And the gas mask helps a bit. The knee high work boots create a truly flattering line. The elbow length heavy gloves create just the right atmosphere!

No longer a delicate flower. This aging thing really sucks!

Oh well! Time to get over myself and get on with the show!

Ranch Flowers

All wild flowers from the ranch near Quesnel.

Tim left early this morning for Fort Nelson. He did so much this week helping me with the show and organizing the next one. He works far too hard. He has been gone now for nearly a year and is starting to talk about coming home. We shall see. But I know it would be much harder to do my art without his wonderful support.

I think he is really excited about the beautiful ranch. He started planning projects for it already.

The day is beautiful and the burn shelter is cool enough for me to work in. Lots to do. Have started the process of accelerated patination on copper using household materials like ammonia. It certainly stinks. I should be able to do a silk immersion with it this afternoon. Now have lots of copper in full oxidization. The rust gardens and objects are ready to go for filming tomorrow.

Silk screening this morning. Lots of burning to do today. The new butane torches will be used.
Will also set up a cotton burial in the back garden. Will stage one for tomorrow and haul up both the copper boiler and the old washtub now full of rusty bits and rust turned to powder.

Some of the pieces are looking quite interesting and the layering is working. It is time to start a very cautious printing with graphite powder. And then leaf printing with my hammer on silk.

The challenge is to be reserved with the last few steps. Take it one step too far and it might not be reversed!