Thursday 23 February 2017

The Box Project... done, and ready for the show happening the first weekend in March here in Creston, BC, Canada.

'Valley Fortune' will join a host of other pieces, in disciplines ranging from drama, music, poetry and more.  I've included a description of the evolution of Valley Fortune  at the bottom of this post, so you can perhaps understand how and why this particular format came into being.  You can find the parameters for the 'Call' at the end of my previous post in case you're just coming in on this story.

Here are the boxes I've prepared for the show in no particular order:

Berrylicious, exterior approx. 4" square x 1 1/2" deep, created in a disused wooden box

Berrylicious, interior and contents

Grape Dance exterior, approx 3" x 4" x 2' deep, created in a Gelli-printed paper box

Grape Dance, interior and contents

Heritage Tomatoes exterior, approximately 6 1/2" x 7" x 2 1/2" deep, created in a cigar box 

Heritage Tomatoes, interior and contents

Man and Machine, exterior, approximately 6" x 3 1/2" x 3" deep, created in a disused wooden box

Man and Machine, interior and contents

Nuts to You, exterior, about 2" cubed, created in a painted paper box

Nuts to You, interior and contents

Orchard exterior, approximately 3" x 4" x 2" deep, created in a Gelli-printed paper box

Orchard interior and contents

Red Delicious exterior, approximately 7" x 2" x 2 1/2" deep, created in a cigar box

Red Delicious interior and contents

Red Hot Pepper exterior, approximately 3 1/4" x 4 3/4" x 2" deep, created in a disused wooden box

Red Hot Pepper interior and contents

Valley Fortune carrying case for all eight boxes

Valley Fortune

Designed for Call & Response 2017 - ‘The Box Project’
February, 2017
Medium:  Mixed Media/Acrylic

The ‘Call’ to this particular project had me at the sight of the guitar pick, fashioned from a credit card that secured my secret note, along with the delightful fortune cookie.  They took me immediately to the concept of abundance, an ongoing mind-meandering of mine for the last five decades or so. 

We are geared to consider abundance in the form of money and possessions, and I’ve been considering other forms particularly around family, moral values, surroundings, community, and our daily bread.  How fortunate, then, that we were asked to consider whether we could incorporate the Canada 150 theme of the local ‘Full Plate’ committee.  The raw potato in my box was yet another catalyst.

We live in a community that is bound to the fertile land and moderate climate which makes the growing of fruit, vegetables and other foods such a strong focus. For the last ten years, I’ve been reveling in the local bounty of fresh fruit, dairy products, nuts, berries, and vegetables, and couldn’t wait to work on a project that incorporated some of these in a visual way.  Each of the eight boxes (Berrylicious, Nuts to You, Man & Machine, Red Delicious, In the Orchard, Heritage Tomatoes, Grape Dance and Red Hot Peppers) in the Valley Fortune box includes the following:

-  A photograph or two (most taken by myself, with a contribution in Man & Machine by husband John, and       an outright steal from the net when I couldn’t find a source for the Red Delicious apple photo I coveted)
·         -  A recipe related to the subject
·         -  A poem (Could it really be twenty five years since I’ve attempted poetry writing?  Yes it could.)
·         -  A coin (gifted by world travelers, and relating both to the abundance factor of money earned and spent, as    well as to the fact that much of what is produced in the valley goes out into the world)
·         -  A three-dimensional piece, either a found object or crafted from paper mache 
·        -   A ‘fortune cookie’ fortune

One of the concepts I like to incorporate in my work is that of the 4 R’s – reduce, reuse, recycle and repurpose.  You’ll find a wide range of these items in this project; from a cardboard box, dryer sheets used to mop up paint, left-over painted papers, reclaimed buttons, credit card guitar picks, wine and beer bottle caps I’ve reused to the maximum.  Many of these items have been found in Gleaners, another area of abundance in this wonderful valley.  The repurposing that is done through Gleaners is a massive boon to the locals and we are indeed lucky to have such a large number of volunteers involved.

Thursday 16 February 2017

I'm up... my eyebrows in a project that's due this weekend, and it's a corker.

On January 20th, 2017 some 70 local artists were invited to an evening for the second Call & Response event. At the end of this post, I've placed an extensive blurb about the process for this evening (as written to a friend the next day) just so you can see what transpired this year.  Suffice to say that my short version come-away from that evening was a feeling of abundance.

As the next fifteen days flew by (I was prepping and presenting a workshop in Kimberley on the fourth and fifth of February), my back-brain was wrestling with a way to combine the feeling of abundance with the Full Plate concept, as well as some of the items that were in my box.

The last ten days have been a whirlwind of creativity, and in the works (due Saturday) are a series of boxes that are representative of the abundance in this lush valley, from peppers to tomatoes to nuts - eight boxes in all.  As everything is still in a stage of undress, I thought I'd give you a quick preview of the chaos:

Of course, there will be a post next week which goes into much more detail and shows the individual boxes, but in the meantime just below is a feeling for how this all came about.  Stay tuned for more on The Box Project and my entry, Valley Fortune.  

'Gary Detheridge and Alison Masters had quite the evening planned for the second Call & Response. 

They introduced the title for the show – The Box Project – and set out the parameters.  Each artist received a cardboard box of ‘goodies’, and were encouraged to use them as a springboard for creating a work of art to be delivered by February 19…i.e. less than a month.  The show will be 2 days, March 3 & 4, with the March 3 being the live performances (3 minutes or under) and March 4 display of the the 2 and 3-D pieces.  The sixty artists in attendance were invited to  trade with others to get what inspired them.  We could collaborate, create more than one piece, and are encouraged to go outside our own genre.

As we arrived, our name was put on a list, and we were then called up to the front to choose one of the closed 70 boxes available, ranging in size from 5 x 7 x 7” to a man-sized luggage box.  We were asked to leave the boxes closed until everyone had received one.

Each box contained:

  • A secret envelope with a saying, closed/sealed with a guitar pick  (My saying was ‘Listen to the quiet voice.’ from  Oblique Strategies by Brian Eno & Peter Schmidt
  • A plastic sandwich bag with a cotton ball soaked in ‘something smelly’ (pinesol on mine)
  • A piece of candy as a taste stimulus
  • A raw potato (at the request of the Canada 150 Art & Agriculture Full Plate committee, who were co-sponsoring the event
  • A DVD of inspirational stories, paintings, music, nature sounds, poems, paintings, etc. 
  • A fortune cookie (my fortune reads ‘Golden investment opportunities are arising.’ and carries the lucky numbers 9, 17, 19, 22, 29 & 37 on the back)

In addition, my box contained:

  • 2 pieces of neon yellow/orange cotton broadcloth
  • A used Labatt’s Blue beer can (traded with another artist to score a long-handled plastic shoe horn)
  • A 4 x 4” acrylic painting on MDF board (also traded with an artist for a blank white 4 x 4’ canvas
  • A package of birthday candles, 3 each of white, blue, orange and purple, covered in sparkles
  • A single pack of Stash Licorice Spice tea
  • A decades-old light switch
  • A mini yellow bulldog clamp to match the broadcloth
I requested, and received in trade for hugs, more of the guitar picks, scoring 14 in total.

I was gifted by by yet another artist:

  • Volume 18 of Jeopardy, a 4 x 6” book of writings published by Western Washington University in 1982
  • A bright yellow (definitely the theme colour) plastic Y thingy  with black switches on each arm of the Y that John scored – apparently it’s good for something manly
  • A pen-like incense wand about 5” long carved from several exotic woods laminated together

When everyone had a box, we were encouraged to open them and then go around to see what others got in their boxes – there was an astounding array of items, as you can imagine, plus there were several very large items at the front that were free-for-all pieces to go to whoever desired them, including but not limited to a purple vacuum cleaner, 3 sewing machines, two 3’ tall wrought-iron candlesticks, etc.  It was suggested that we might think about the Canada 150 Art & Agriculture Full Plate theme when fostering our concept as well.

Trading was hot and heavy, although I don’t know that anyone had (or has yet) any idea what will come of all the craziness.  It was, in other words, great fun to see some of the items, ranging from a single sneaker (very battered) to a 1964 craft magazine (I tried to barter for that, but my artist friend refused to give it up!) to plastic bugs and more.  Goodness knows what this show will be like, but it’s definitely going to be out of the box (pun intended).'  

Edit:  Note that nothing, anything or everything from the box could be used to create a final work...the box of 'goodies' were there to tickle the muse and get a project started!

Thursday 9 February 2017

Snowy Kimberley...

...and a mixed media workshop was a great combination, to say nothing of fifteen women who were ready to play.

You can tell that was the case when you look at these three photos:

Before their arrival, the room sits quietly waiting
In the throes of it all
A done deed, with one or two of their pieces 
In between, it was mayhem, laughter, testing the 'what if's' and playing with techniques and supplies. What could be more fun on a blizzarding weekend?

The floor was covered on both sides of the Centre 64 studio,

Our drying 'table'
as we tested backgrounds with peeling papers,

Peeling paper background

plastic wrap,

Plastic wrap technique
painted dryer sheets and much more.

Painted dryer sheet
They created plastic tape stencils (and no I won't tell you how many rolls of plastic tape were used), some of them from magazines and some hand drawn.

Carol's hand drawn mask and stencil
Sophie, Jeanne d'Arc, Lynne & Dianna peruse stencil possibilities
Many thanks to organizers extraordinaire at the Centre 64 Irma (who took the class as well) and Christina.  You did a fabulous job of creating this sold-out workshop;  it was filled with laughter and fun.  So much so, in fact, that the group determined to exchange emails.  They need a support group for their mixed media creativity virus has done its work!

Personally, I'm very much looking forward to the next one.  Happy creating, all!

Thursday 2 February 2017

Well, my bags are packed...

...or at least I've started.

Getting ready for a sold-out mixed media playdate in Kimberley is no easy task, especially when it's with fifteen new and not-so-new friends.

There will be tons of rich colour,

 mark-making implements,

mediums up the ying-yang (as our family expression goes),

and bags of student supplies to boot.

By the time I get finished packing today, the studio will be unrecognizable, the floor will be unseeable, and the car will be groaning with the thought of the load it will carry tomorrow.

I couldn't be happier - what could be more fun than playing in a huge studio at Centre 64 in Kimberley for the weekend.  You know it's going to be a blast!

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