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, August 31, 2013

Watch: Dozens of orca whales swim past Galiano Island

Watch: Dozens of orca whales swim past Galiano Island

Busy Chickens and Soup.

Karl and Kirsten are here for the weekend. Karl has already made me delicious clam chowder with cream. And pasta he cooked for hours. Tim made bread and Kirsten has been her entertaining self while watching us and knitting like Madame Defarge. And then she got up and made us a fresh Apple Schnitz Pie with sour cream from her Mennonite grandmother's recipe.I just made an herb salad from my vegetable garden. Fresh perfectly ripe tomatoes, basil, chives and a garlicky buttermilk blueberry balsamic reduction dressing. After nearly a week of soft food!

They have come for retreat. Karl is sicker with cancer than I am. But he loves it here and is very enlivened. He is on an up week because his chemo was two weeks ago and I am on a down with a complete change in my treatment regime and surgery. We are hatching all kinds of plans for the artist retreats. He is a serious bodger, carver and glass person. And Scandinavian funny.

Tim is building a chicken coop with a stained glass window. More like a chicken resort with a wing for the little angora rabbits whose fur I am learning to spin. I might move in there.

Last night was a crazy storm. Everything a storm could be. We had frightened frogs climbing on the house and woke up to the deer sleeping all over the lawn. Even the feral cats showed up. There are lots of hiding places here.

There is a huge pod of orcas circling Mayne Island and Galiano Island. The goal today is catching them in action. Stay posted for pictures of whales and chicken coops.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Waking Up

Uhn... I am waking up to the lens end of a camera. Me? Mornings? Not so much...
Tim? Mornings? Full blown spark plug! He was very lucky he was armed with fresh coffee and the promise of the breakfast buffet with all the other overly indulgent wedding guests.

What? Where am I?

You are a very brave man!

Weekend In Victoria

Beautiful Ayzia and Paul saying their vows.
Beautiful English Inn in Victoria
Me dressed in my best. 4 days from my injection so a little shaky.
Went to a lovely wedding in Victoria this weekend. I was spoiled to a nice hotel, good food and most of the weekend with my spouse. One of the nicest weekends ever.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Inch By Inch - Setting Up The Studio At Sweethaven

Inch by inch the studio is being set up. It takes up the third floor of Sweethaven. Sweethaven is a big Queen Anne house which sits half way up Mount Parke on Mayne Island. It is on 6 1/2 acres and has plenty of places for me to explore inside and out. Right now my goal is to get back to work while I can. In a studio I just had dreams about only a few years ago.

The studio at William Street and small talk Gallery in Wells have now been dismantled and shipped over here. Setting it up has been challenging because I am in cancer treatment for Stage 4 breast cancer. But I am tenacious and hard to defeat. So this will happen like I want it to. I am inspired despite the chemical interference.

So every day I tackle a little more and a complete studio is now in sight. Tim set up my shelves and everyone who has visited has hauled boxes and trunks to the third floor. Be warned if you have any designs on a decent lunch!

I was up there for two hours today and in the library and it is coming together!
Lunch organically grown in the Sweethaven garden

Hive with 5 layers found on our beach journey

Filling up the drawers in the studio with my work.

Another drawer.


And even more.

Library is getting set up and organized.

I love having my books all in one place.
Shelves being loaded
Loaded and ready to roll
Lots of unpacking yet.
There are still more empty shelves.

My room with a view of the West Coast forest.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Island Life

Queen Victoria always makes an appearance
The environmental lobby was everywhere.
Clear direction of local youth.
Heavy police representation.
Loud and orderly.

Horse and riders. The sorrel paint bolted into the unexpecting crowd. No incidence reported.
Farmers on a red hot souped up tractor.
Lanterns and masks. A West Coast tradition. All photos taken by Tim Hurley Aug.17,2013.
The Mayne Island Fall Fair was in full glory today.

Fun. New friends, music and food.

My new friend Astrid won first prize for her Jamaican Patties.
And they were delicious.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Pickled Pink

Sweethaven pickles made by me and plentiful wild Mayne Island Himalayan blackberries Aug. 2013
It is that pickle time of year. The garden planted in the first two weeks we arrived at Sweethaven is starting to yield buckets. Salads have been eaten for awhile but now the serious stuff is appearing and the trees are fruiting. The wild blackberries and rose hips are also nagging at me.

First up in the sparkling and sterile kitchen is nettle and garlic scape pesto with walnuts. Next is nettle soups and blackberry leaf tea. Some rose hips are strung and the newly ripening ones will be turned to jam. Today fennel pickles and fennel oil were produced. The jars are full of curried pickled eggs and a spicy daikon Japanese cucumber pickle with ginger for sushi. Tonight I am making rosemary oil for my potatoes and trying spicy Italian pickled beans.Tomorrow morning I am going to try to make chutney with the newly ripened Asian pears if I am lucky enough to have energy.

I am a zealot. It is my most favourite addiction. Making pickles and jams and chutneys. A little at a time fills the pantry.

Bren brought his close friends Katherine and Lenore this weekend. Lenore studies the geography of food and is a "food security" expert. She is involved with the Vancouver Farmer's Market. All weekend we talked about and ate food. Together they hit every farm stand, restaurant and store on Mayne Island. They visited the Mayne Island Farmer's Market. And we got enough of the proceeds to eat like Royalty.

Do a Google on Dr. Lenore Newman or check out her blog sandandfeathers.wordpress.com She is a great read on Canadian cuisine and a genuinely lovely person.

Good food means good textiles. But right now it is good food first.

Tomorrow back to Vancouver for cancer treatment. It all changed on Friday so I will have to wait to see how this one works.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Illiteratty Visits Sweethaven

Illiteratty plays a tune at the Mayne Island Community Center
Kirsten Daub, Earl Peach and Mark Bender
Some vicious Boogie Woogie piano with Simon Kendall, Albert Klassen and Kirsten Daub

Sweethaven was blessed with a visit from the band "Illiteratty". Old friend and comrade, Earl Peach,. brought his cronies for a concert and a visit. And all we did was fed and bed them.

We were treated to an incredible concert across the street at the Mayne Island Community Center. Full house and lots of Mayne Islanders to meet. Watching Earl Peach and Simon Kendall waltz was a highlight of the evening. Hearing Earl sing brought me back to my activist days. I forgot the guts he puts in every single thing he does. The band was cohesive and sweet.

We all stayed up way too late talking misspent youth and odd experiences. Earl and I shared an early childhood in Quebec and an activist history, Mark talked about his twelve year old innocence in the full blast hippie days in Kitsilano (Canada's San Francisco), Kirsten shared stories of growing up so many years later.Tim talked about differences and we tried to figure out why Catholics and Protestants still have disdain for one another in parts of Canada.

Turned out Simon's kid and two of our kids went to the same day-care at the same time years ago. We rehashed old scandals. Daycares do have them. We all have them.

We had a nice, soft night and an easy morning while they packed up and left for their next concert in Port Alberni. Earl treated us to the sounds of an old Hammond Organ that was left in the house. Inspiring to prepare breakfast to Latin rhythms.

My thought waving goodbye as they went to catch the ferry was "Y'all come back now."

Friday, August 2, 2013

One Step Closer

I just got up after a long nap. My cancer clinic day was really not that good.
I had the injection this morning and Ms. Doc prescribed antibiotics for the inner ear infection and abscessed tooth.

I proceeded to the Outpatient Clinic. A bad news day. Cancer markers doubled in the last three months. The injections are no longer working. A new drug will start on Tuesday and another one to strengthen the spine, ribs and pelvis. Lots of discussion and explanations back and forth. I just spaced out. Too much information and dizzy from the injection.

I came home and went to bed. There was no more me today. 

Now I just want to get to Sweethaven and finish setting up my new studio.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

End Of An Era

At 5 o'clock last night I handed back my keys to the studio at Williams and Clark.
That ended my relationship to an amazing place to create. An eight year relationship to my first serious studio. I took one last look around and closed the door, visited the few that were working on the hot July day, gave and got hugs and promises to visit, handed the keys back to Jeina and left the building.

I crossed the street and sat at the bus stop and cried my eyes out.

Nothing else to be said.

Breath in ... Breath out.