Sunday, January 18, 2015


I find it interesting to push limits of creativity with varied materials and venture into what one may consider Alternative Art if for no other reason that to have fun and bring creative thoughts into the visual realm. Mostly though no matter how fun my alternative work may seem it belies an underlying message about consumer waste of a throw away society and how our waste impacts nature. So when the call came out... Skirts must be constructed only of found upcycled materials and must be wearable. 
I jumped at the opportunity to design and create a Skirt for the event. My present undertaking of using items destined for the trash bin based on that mandate as well as... skirts are to incorporate the theme of "Finding the Magic in the Mundane"
The Mundane materials that had outlived their previous purpose are slightly tattered lime green and pink plastic tablecloths, red and yellow surveyors tape, two metal kitchen strainers disassembled, pink cotton thread found at a past rummage sale, plastic mesh fruit bags, worn out leggings, silver tinsel and possibly cassette tape. The Magic is in the process of turning mundane materials into a skirt inspired by 1920 Flapper era.
Dismantling vegetable strainers.

Blast of color and shine.

Six skirts will be chosen to be constructed for the festival.
I'm happy my design was chosen and have been busy each day working on my skirt as the SkirtsAfire fashion show and media blitz happens February 23rd, though the skirt must be submitted by the 20th. My design is being altered a bit from the original sketch as I found the thin plastic tattered in places making it challenging to work with. One mandate of the design is that the skirt be wearable and hold up for the fashion show and further display; so I've cut up ragged tights destined for the rag bin and backed the waist to hip section to re-enforced the waistband area as potential of the plastic tablecloths to tear was too great. Another challenge is machine stitching thin plastic. I've discovered stitch length needs to be at 4 and to sew very slowly. Go too fast the thread breaks or the plastic tears, too small a stitch can also cause a tear due close perforations. Happily though the yellow surveyors tape is quite strong and durable adding strength to the skirt where needed.

The sketch proposal displayed a zigzag pattern around the upper portion of the skirt which has been simplified due the materials being used.

Designing the hip sash is creative fun, its a lot of playful arranging and rearranging, a bit of pulling stitches to create ruffling, cutting and twisting mesh bags and joining layers for fullness. Ah, its all coming together. Soon what was kitchen cast offs will be a skirt for dancing the night away in.

Art Clothing seems to be in a category of its own. While perusing online I see many creative artists working with clothing as art or using the image of clothing in art in varied ways with varied media. It amazes me as well as inspires to view the amount of artists who create using found items and stand by the motto to reuse, recycle and upcycle diverting items from the landfills.

Its beyond time to quit indiscriminate buying and tossing as our landscape is literally littered with plastic refuse that does not break down, its non-friendly to the planet. So what I hope for is to inspire others to be creative with what they have on hand, reuse what you can, recycle, upcycle and support local small farmers, local artists and artisans.

The alternative art I create tells a story, it has a past life and I hope creates awareness.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year 2015 is here

Last evening we walked to our Community Centre to view the wonderful fireworks display that is put on each year. Thankfully it was a balmy 2 degrees out so we were able to walk, most years we have to drive as my body cannot handle below zero. There were many many people out for the event, my hubby figures at least 400 showed up,  may be a record attendance.

This notification came in last week.
Your skirt for the SkirtsAfire design competition has been chosen to participate in our fashion show judging, the next step in being named the SkirtsAfire official Skirt of 2015. 
We were very excited to receive so many creative designs and can not wait to see them come to life. All the designs truly did "find the magic in the mundane."

My design entails a dress being made of reuse and recycle materials. Wish me luck that all goes well and I'm able to complete the task. Hopefully I will remember to take photos as I create so that I may share the project with followers of this blog. Take care and may 2015 be a blessed year.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I was flat on my back yet kept busy

I posted on my other page what I've been up to, or I should say did while laid up for the last month.

I'll not repeat the photos here, so please do click the link.
About a month ago I slipped, a bit of a setback for me as I twisted like a pretzel and was unable to walk properly for three weeks. As I go totally stir crazy when not creating I had my hubby bring up my wool and yarn stash and started crocheting hats. Warm hat, funky hats, and even a sculptural hat is in the making though its not posted as its unfinished.

I didn't go to my Dr, instead I found a great Physio-therapist who has been excellent at teaching me to work on core muscle strengthening. I've also found an excellent Chiropractor who uses a weird little hand held device that gently thumps one back into alignment. So between the two of them and following their exercise programs I have gained back my strength and walking tall, well as tall as a short person can. The great thing is, I feel better than before.

Before I slipped I was making a quilt, though soon I shall be back to that task and the hats making will once again cease.

Summer memories.
Knowing that beauty surround me, even though it lie dormant beneath the winters cold and snow, it too shall grow and renew in the warmth of spring.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Further down the road.

After a wonderful, though way to hot for hiking week in Radium that concluded with a dear ones wedding and the chance to catch up a wee bit with siblings we headed southward. Our intention was to camp in Cranbrook but when we arrived I noticed forest fire smoke billowing upwards at a great velocity not far away. We enquired and were informed it was a back-fire set to pre-burn a strip to stop an uncontrolled forest fire. The smoke was so thick my poor nose felt as though it were on fire so onward to Creston we head after purchasing a card reader, I forgot ours at home. We always stay at Pair-O-Dice campground, which tends to be gaining popularity as there were very few spots available. We didn't obtain much sleep though as its near an industrial shop where some one decided to unload a truck at 3am, so the sound of a fork-lift beeping every time it backed up kept us awake for a few hours.

We spent the day wandering around Creston, chatting with the few people we encountered and taking in the art walk scene. As we wandered downtown streets we noticed many store were empty, closed up, not much there at all. It felt like a very depressed town. As we talked with locals we found that the trend in the area is to cross the border and shop for less in the states. I find this sad for if we don't support our local markets then we lose them, and it seems this towns depressed state is due such repercussions. I am a strong believer in supporting local talent and markets. I refuse to buy imported merchandise as much as is possible. We buy our meat, grains, fruits and produce from local farmers, the exception being is oranges and the odd pineapple. I taught myself to crochet and now have an abundance of hats for winter as well as for gifting. I grew up with the motto of reuse, recycle and make do. Its a good motto to live by. In the summer I made my sun hats using fabric bought at sales for $1 to $2 a meter that people donate what they no longer have a need for. My older sister and a few others also gifted me with material so my next project is to make some bags and purses.

Seems I drifted off topic of summer vacation, alas such is the way of my mind.

 Enjoying what the summer brings
 in warmth and flight
 and color thats sunshine bright.
Young crow 
and a fuzzy-butt fly?
Enjoy the moment, hugs to all!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Radium Memory

Home for a week now from our six week camping adventure and I've jumped right into textile work. I have put about 30 plus hours into creating a design for a quilt. It will be a colorful blend of patchwork and appliqué. I've not taken in-progress photos as my computer is maxed out with images that need editing and deleting. What I can show is... …
 The first day of our adventure and two moments after I decide my camera really should be on the front seat, as I turned to reach behind to grab it Gerald says "our first bear" and there it be. Sweet!

 Our second wild encounter was at Radium tourist info station. This well crowned beast soon tired of the paparazzi and sauntered off down the road.

 The light fell fast and the tripod was securely tucked under the truck seat, hence blurry image but as I was after the color idea for reference and not necessarily the clarity of a good photo I chanced a hand held shot.

 Heading back to the campsite we stopped at the lookout to take in the sunset. It was lovely, both below and above.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Eagles begin to gather

While in Broughton Bay area the Eagles were beginning to gather as the red-fish were making their way to the gravel spawning beds. I was lucky enough to get an eagle that had just captured a Chinook.
It was interesting to watch adult Eagles capture a fish from the stream and then entice the juveniles to come gather the fish from them. I watched one mature Eagle catch a fish, wait for a juvenile to come, then the adult released the fish into the stream and re-caught it while the young one watched. Amazing, though I have watched eagles often I had not before paid enough attention to the adult juvenile relationship to realize I was viewing lessons being taught.

All this viewing of birds is an integral part of my job of painting birds and nature. I feel it's essential to spend a major part of our time in the field experiencing excitement and wonder of the natural world and to learn valuable information about the species we draw and paint. When my hubby and I view other artists works we can often pick out paintings created from photos without the real life experience of watching birds and animals behind them.

Learning is a passion as is the art of creating.

Have a wonderful week.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

New territory explored, geographically and poetically.

August has been an adventure of exploring the interior of BC and meeting wonderful people along the way. We started out the month and our touring by attending my lovely niece's wedding in Radium. We camped at Dry Gulch Provincial park as we were informed that Redstreak Campsite was fully booked; though there were many vacant spots due people reserving sites and not showing up, which is a downfall of the reservation system in Parks.
It was as it was meant to be though as the camp attendant at Dry Gulch was a joy to meet and a friendship sparked.

On the morning of the wedding we stopped by the info booth to check our emails and I was delighted that a poem I had submitted to a competition had made it into the top ten. Though it didn't win I am ecstatic that it was well received. The poem is a tribute to my Mother whom I am sure sings with the angels choir as it seemed she sang often while doing chores, but as you will read the poem relates to another memory.

Oven warm breeze wafts
fragrance of buttery bread
over tender carrots ripe to pull
sweetpeas and hyssops buzzing
knee patterns soil cotton dress
Ma tenderly extracting weeds
from unruly crops
while children tussle
fingers still buttery wet
in long grasses.

© Tess

May your days be blessed with sweet thoughts.