Sunday, May 30, 2004

Away on my travels so updates light until July. Go out and enjoy the good weather!

Thursday, May 27, 2004

The Revolutionary Knitting Circle

"Talking with the general public has always been a real challenge for activists," Neufeld said. "Because when [activists] start out with [talking about all these problems in] the world, most people just shut down because they feel so overwhelmed," he said. "So finding a way to ease them into the discussion is pretty necessary."
"Also," Neufeld adds, "the knitting creates a much friendlier environment for a dialogue. It is hard to associate knitting with anything really bad."
The aim of the knit-in was to demonstrate that people do not have to depend on big business for their needs.
"We need to be able to feed, clothe and shelter ourselves so that we can escape those dependencies [on large corporations]," Neufeld said.
Once that is done, he says, people can engage in fair trade and not free trade. The distinction, according to the RKC, is that in fair trade either party involved can walk away at any time whereas free trade can involve one party being dependant on the other, and therefore in a position of less power.
The RKC has several goals, the first of which is building a sense of community through knitting.
"It means a lot more if you can be wearing something that you have made for a friend or for yourself," said Richard Norman, a 20-something knitter and graduate from the University of Calgary.
Janice Kerfoot, another participant in the knit-in, pointed out that actions like the knit-in shows non-activists that violence and protest do not have to go hand in hand.
"People can watch us being creative," she said. "Demonstrators definitely have a reputation of being destructors rather than creators and we couldn't be farther from that."
The other goal of the RKC is bringing on the revolution through knitting. Other acceptable textile activities include crocheting and quilting.
"For certain personal reasons macramé is being excluded," Neufeld says. "There's a bit of a controversy over that, but I don't see macramé as a tool for social change."

The knit and purl of the revolution is here.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Crocheting frumpy?
Not in the hands of Xenobia Bailey.

Bailey’s works in crochet, which include costumes and colorful wall hangings constructed of concentric circles, are a far cry from the traditional shawls and doilies associated with the medium.

“Xenobia Bailey is the kind of artist who is extending what we think of as craft,” says Kate Lydon, assistant director at SCC. “She is definitely exploring uncharted waters in her medium.”

Bailey, a graduate of New York’s Pratt Institute, learned to crochet from an Italian-Swiss teacher she met while working as an artist-in-community in Brooklyn, N.Y., schools. She says that the development of crochet as a decorative needle arts form derives from the grassroots fiber arts movement of the 1960s, the “black holiness” tent revivals, and the “cosmic funk of the urban cultural movement.”

Her earliest crochet pieces, made in the mid-1980s, were hats. “I sent photos of my work to various magazines,” she explains, “and my hats were featured in Elle Magazine. It pretty much got me started as a fiber artist.” Her hats and clothing have also been seen on “The Cosby Show” and in Spike Lee’s film “Do The Right Thing.”

Xenobia Bailey surrrounds herself with some of her favorite work.
Bailey’s unique style is inspired by contemporary African-American music, particularly the funk variety. Her colorful wall hangings and garments are made of cotton and acrylic yarns and plastic pony beads. “My work is a utopian prototype for the aesthetic of funk,” says Bailey.

“To be an artist and be able to create things — it’s like fireworks every time you think about something,” says Bailey. “I try to get energy and movement from something that is not moving at all.”

To see photos go here.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

traveling Rituals
(lack of updates due to worm virus and changing look due to indecision!)

There is an exercise in The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron where she asks you to draw a large circle and then divide it up into 6 equal sized pie pieces. Then each one is labeled 'work' 'exercise' 'friends & family''spirituality' 'play' and 'adventure/romance'. Then to plot an imaginary line from the centre of each piece of pie to the circumference and plot a point on the line. Near to the pie edge if we feel fulfilled in that area or near to the centre if we feel very unfulfilled. It gives a snapshot of where we are in our lives and the incentive to add things to give ourselves a more 'rounded' life.

The idea of travel gives off that giddy feeling that romance has so I'm not surprised that she marries the two states together.

In a few weeks I'll be traveling to Sydney Australia for a month long stay. I've opted for the more adventurous route - to stay in a hostel rather than with relatives. I've had my time cut out renewing my passport, buying travel insurance, choosing and agonizing over a hostel etc but now I realise I'm in another mode. I'm performing 'travelling rituals'. I've been buying sunscreen, ordering books for the flight, buying new pajamas, new clothes, new underwear! There is no way I can face the antipodes without new underwear! There appears to be a ritual renewal in a very materialistic way going on before this big change. In addition I'm meeting friends before I go off, tying up other loose ends like writing a will.

All this work is preparation for change - rituals help us to bridge the gap. Sometimes they are formal and organised think of a graduation ceremony or a wedding but we can make up our own.

Facing a new day with a cup of tea in a favourite mug and time for your own thoughts in a journal.

Unwinding from work by watering a garden every night.

Friends getting together at New Year.

Leaving do's at work.

I'm sure you can think of more.


Here are some traveling resources

Artist @ Large
the hip traveler

Using the throw away to create art
Pencam photography

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

You grow girl!
Great website with articles on recipes for what you have grown, messageboards and here's an article on permaculture.

Making Happy reminded me of this website, by the way I consider 'creative' to be the creation of anything that did not exist before - gardening easily falls into that category.

Friday, May 07, 2004

My Paper Crane with ideas about getting out of that creative slump

Sometimes I think creative slumps come because we are fighting the 'are we good enough' fears.

Via Loobylu

Film blogs are hard to find
Not the 'what I saw in the multiplex last week and what I thought of it' blog but the ones by people actually making stuff. Here's one I found by two Americans making documentaries while on an exchange to Wits University in Johnannesburg.

Ten Ways to Support your fellow Artist

I would add support independent businesses as well - because the relentless drive to conformity is also not friendly to the artist.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Knit Knit - a zine about the intersection of craft and art. Includes an interview about the Church of Craft

The Joy of a Drawn Journal
No matter how small or mundane or redundant, each drawing and little essay you write to commemorate an event or an object or a place makes it all the more special. Celebrate your hairbrush and it will make you appreciate the intricacy of the bristles, the miracle of your lost hair, the beauty of you. Sounds sappy but it's in there. Draw your lunch and it will be a very different experience from bolting down another tuna on rye. If you take your time (and we're just talking maybe 10-20 minutes here, folks) and really study that sandwich, the nooks and valleys, the crinoline of the lettuce, the textures of the tuna, you will do a drawing that recognized the particularity of that sandwich,. That's the point: to record this particular moment, this sandwich, not something generic. If you approach it with that attitude, you will create something as unique. reaching that place is just a matter of concentration and attention. A brief meditation and you will have a souvenir to jog your memory back to that a moment forever more. Imagine if you can keep doing that, keep dropping these little gems in your day, recognizing the incredible gift you are given each morning upon awakening. You will be a millionaire.

Another great post from Danny Gregory

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Sabrina Ward Harrision has updated her website.
I saw her book a few years ago but as it was an import and very expensive I didn't buy it - of couse I regret it now.

More online quilts

Talking Quilts from Loobylu

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

In search of patten and colour..
I've been looking at Amish Quilts online. Somehow the originals have a very different feel to the contemporary copies - 'ready for shipping next day'.