Category Archives: shows

ACC Exhibit “X3”

 X3   January 16-March 26, 2016, Alberta Craft Council, Edmonton Alberta

X3 January 16-March 26, 2016, Alberta Craft Council, Edmonton Alberta


Posted by on January 2, 2016 in A Birth of Silence, Contextural group, shows


“A Birth of Silence” makes her debut

I can’t believe how slow i was with this one! Started at the beginning of April, i had some real time lapse moments–as in, i let it lapse in time to work on! Don’t know why i had such a block with it: Padded Cell took 7 months, and it was at least as much stitching as this one, give or take a hundred hours! *I sort of kept track at the beginning of how much time i was putting into the handwork, and gave up at around 142 hours–add another 76.675459 or so, and that means a lot of myopic moments!

So, nine months later, here it is, “A Birth of Silence”.

We are losing our habitats, our rivers, indeed much of our planet, to irresponsible stewardship, on global and personal levels. Without pollinators, our food supply and natural reserves will be devastated. I have chosen to represent these necessary life forces in “A Birth of Silence”. Bees hover around a butterfly egg, the honeycombs and pollen grains are suspended in space, perhaps to disappear forever. Without the key element of pollinators in the world, there will indeed be a colossal birth of silence, a death rather, of everything we need and desire in our world.

I am truly horrified by how even locally this mismanagement is so striking. I learned this past week that my beloved Inglewood Bird Sanctuary and the local “wildlife habitat” area are in jeopardy of becoming simply open spaces with no real natural benefit to the local ecosystem. Invasive plants, non-native plants, no water in the marsh areas, plowing over the area that was used as flood mitigation repair which opens it to more invasive and non beneficial plant life, plowing which also destroyed the natural land formations of small hills and barrows and all of the trees remaining after the flood, no long term plantings for birds and small mammal food supplies and nesting/shelter areas, removal of beaver populations, improper stewardship of new plantings, construction of touristy buildings and well meaning but spurious “art projects” gawdz, the list goes on and on……….I suspect some eco-activist action may will be upcoming in my future.

Through the local fibre arts group Contextural, this will be part of an exhibition at the Alberta Craft Council Gallery in Edmonton, Alberta. X3 features 3 organizations on the cutting edge of fine craft: Alberta Potters’ Association, Contextural Fibre Arts Cooperative and the Nina Haggerty Centre.


This is the starting fabric, the base, created in my 2012 residency at ACAD. I had deliberately done large pieces, intending to use them as start points for future work. (Some of these are still sitting in the stoodio, waiting for inspiration.) You never know where these will lead you until the time is ripe. Through the last few years, my intent is faster than the implementation though, truly “Slow Cloth”! (Note though, “slow cloth” is NOT just about hand work–it’s about intent and commitment.)  I know too that sometimes–for me at least–my ideas can’t come to fruition until i have the skill set to make them real, whether it be a particular technique, or a concept, or a deep seated NEED to do that specific work.

I flipped the fabric though so the orientation is this way (hence the upside down ©) :

big expanse orientation

After exploring this technique for the past two years, i am still thrilled by the dimension and texture created.

ABOS pre exhibition 1

ABOS pre exhibition 2

ABOS pre exhibition 3

ABOS pre exhibition 4

ABOS pre exhibition 5

I don’t yet have a photo of the whole hanging properly (the top 6″ of this is folded over behind), but am hoping to amend that by seeing it at the exhibition on January 16th–i might just finally show for an artist reception 😉 Measuring the final result with the draw-in and tension, the size is 36″ wide by 43″ height.

(I just realized, the conception, gestation and birth of this one was indeed 9 months……..)


 *I don’t normally count the hours, but i was curious myself to see how much time does go into these works. It doesn’t make me any “better” than anyone else who puts time and serious effort into their art, but i had to laugh after seeing an article about a young man who puts THIRTYFIVE HOURS into each piece 😉 HA! There are many of us who put in much more than that!


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!!!!!!!!


i’m allowed to glow

!!!!! There were 2300 submissions by 506 artists for the SDA “Materialities: Contemporary Textile Arts Exhibition and Members’ Catalog” at Conference 2015!

I recognize some of “The Big Names” of the 91 artists chosen, and am truly honoured to be included among them.

SDA Materialities Exhibiting Artists 2015And i find it quite satisfying that included is one of my teachers, Lesley Richmond  (Capilano College Textile Arts program i took in the 90’s), and that my work is privileged to hang in the same hall, along with all the other big girls too 🙂 I still have some of her hand written notes in my class sketchbook!


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.


Planet S Mag – Prairie Fibre by Bart Gazzola: review of “Our Prairie in Fibre”

While i think it was a bit presumptive of the writer to label it as feminist work, some “artspeak” can make the waters deeper (as long as it doesn’t muddy it):) I’m pleased that there *was* a review, as too often textile/fibre art shows get very short shrift in the critical eye, particularly in Canada. I do kind of resent the “quota of landscapes and grain elevators”–i think it’s narrow minded and too hipster a remark to give any credence to. I doubt that any of us was working a cliche when we created the work, and certainly not when we submitted. All this aside, i am pleased that a gallery was open to Monika’s curation and obviously with the response and attendance, others are equally as intrigued and receptive.



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via Planet S Mag – Prairie Fibre by Bart Gazzola.