Category Archives: How The Light Bends

stitch stitch stitch stitch, repeat, stitch stitch stitchedy

EEK! Photos for one show due TODAY. I spent many hours yesterday working on “A Birth of Silence” so that i have at least one major area to shoot for this!

And i finally received my copy of the SDA “Materialities” catalogue.


Fitting that underneath the catalogue is the current work mentioned above 🙂

SDA Materialities page a

SDA Materialities page b


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Posted by on November 10, 2015 in A Birth of Silence, How The Light Bends, SDA (Surface Design Association)


show doings

No guarantee i’ll get into both of these, but unless you try–and DO THE WORK–you can’t submit, can you? With the group i am in locally (Contextural Fibre Arts Co-operative), there are two possible shows coming up next year, one at the Alberta Craft Council in Edmonton, and one at the Leighton Art Centre, near Millarville, Alberta. The first one is why i have been having periodic binges of stitching with “A Birth of Silence” for a planned “Organic Matters” theme. Admittedly though, i’m not doing so great with enough of the binges though………..A January deadline means get off my ass–or rather, ON my ass since i can’t stitch standing ;)— and “giter done”!

The second one will take place during the summer of 2016, and has us riffing off work we saw by Barbara Leighton, one of the founders of the art centre. (I wrote about that here as two posts.) I’ve been formulating and discarding ideas since that visit, about what i want to do, to portray, and which skills i have to complete the mission, but it wasn’t until yesterday morning at the train station that the lightbulb went on. I’d been thinking about an entirely different, perhaps overly ambitious, project and the pages of my notebook fell open to my Leighton scribbles and sketches, and suddenly, there it all was. (I love it when one’s ideas begin mixing and leaning on each other, fermenting and ripening.)

I’ll be sharing some of those ideas and samplings soon. All may migrate to the blog i have set up for when this one is “full” (approaching very soon, as with that pesky storage issue that all blogs have..) One thing we have also been asked to do with the Leighton show is to have smaller pieces that are reflective of the main gallery work, for sale in the gallery shop. I might start with those as they are also a good way of developing the ideas and approaches! I can then decide too what scale the exhibit pieces can be worked, as i have a diptych or triptych in mind.

And news from a “actual” exhibit: this, from the main SDA blog

Asked to summarize the experience of reviewing such a wealth of work, Wiggers observed that “Through a range of processes, such as dyeing, weaving, embroidery, quilting and tapestry, the selected works demonstrate how SDA members conjoin surface and structure using textile-based techniques; engage decorative, ornamental and pictorial traditions; examine and critique culture and traditions; and push textiles from material to ephemeral limits through individual and collaborative creative practice.”

There are gallery photos, and though i can’t clearly see mine, i suspect it’s the fifth one over in the first shot on the left in that blog post. Can’t wait to receive my copy of the exhibition catalogue. It’s funny too how as you work a thing, it seems rather large and intensive, and then it gets hung and all of a sudden it’s teeny—-still intensive, but teeny!!!!!!!!


more even better great news

I was pleased that yesterday i received an email from SDA that “How the Light Bends” was accepted for inclusion in the “Materialities” catalogue–and even more so when i received another today saying it has been accepted into the exhibition as well!

Had to read the email three times before i understood it. AND if i had read the first email that mentioned what was NOT being invited, i’d have seen that “HTLB” was not included in the “not invited”. Sheesh depression is heavy and able to filter out what is in front of you!!!!!!!!!!!!

And i actually did some serious stitching last night.


unparalyzed: great news

arlee barr_how The Light Bends_2015



I have been paralyzed since i entered this and two other pieces for the “Materialities” exhibit, and/or catalogue. I’ve done only a wee bit of stitching in the last month, a very wee bit, as i can’t seem to focus and do anything. I received an email today from the SDA executive director and am very very pleased to say that “How the Light Bends” was accepted for the 2015 Surface Design Association “Materialities: Contemporary Textile Arts” catalogue.

I have to admit reading the first email that i had not been accepted into the exhibition was a bit disappointing, in fact honestly,  i was devastated until i opened this particular email…and the catalogue will be around longer than the exhibit 🙂 🙂 🙂

Again, this piece is 21×26, ecoprinted and rusted cottons, with fabric manipulation and every embroidery stitch worked by hand.


Receiving this news was wonderful, and maybe the needles will come out again soon.


“How the Light Bends” done

Actually (sort of) done a week or two ago, but in the buzz that life has been lately with classes and the day job, i realized i hadn’t shown yet the completed piece!! Now i’m at a place with it where i have to decide which show to submit it to. Do i go for money or prestige? 😉


HTLB detail 1

HTLB detail 1b

HTLB detail 3

And by “sort of” i mean, just before i was going to attach the backing and sleeve, i noticed the last bee didn’t have legs yet, and i had forgotten a few dibbly bits along the cellwings—-caught and stitched in the nick of time!!

I still have to take “proper” submission photos, but i do love these more atmospheric shots!


HTLB moody shot

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Posted by on April 14, 2015 in How The Light Bends


it goes

action shot

The softest things of the world
Override the hardest things of the world.
That which has no substance
Enters into that which has no openings.
From this I know the benefits of unattached actions,
The teaching without words,
The benefits of actions without attachment
Are rarely matched in the world.

Chapter 43 Tao Te Ching


six days to go

march 8 htlbGetting the final sense of this now.

I think another bee might be in order at the bottom left on top of another cellwing. I won’t be sure until that part is filled in though.

This is going to be a beeyotch to square up–i never use a hoop and the heavier areas have drawn in the edges just enough to throw lines off. Or maybe that will be part of it, irregular edges and unstraight lines definitely part of me.

I have also been struggling with the maple leaves sent to me in the fall by generous souls–unfortunately, they are not working well as ecoprinting material. Maybe late-gathered, dried, then frozen does not work for me. C’est la vie.

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Posted by on March 9, 2015 in hand dyes and ecoprints, hand embroidery, How The Light Bends, in progress