Monday, December 22, 2014

Quotes: John Cage

"The attitude I take is that everyday life is more interesting than forms of celebration, when we become aware of it. That when is when our intentions go down to zero. Then suddenly you notice that the world is magical." –– John Cage (1912-1992), American composer, author, artist (quote found in Every Day is a Good Day: The Visual Art of John Cage, by John Cage, Jeremy Millar et al., p. 62)

Recently I bought two John Cage books: the aforementioned text, and Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Buddhism, and the Inner Life of Artists by Kay Larson at City Lights Books while in San Francisco. Since then, I've been engrossed (obsessed) with John Cage's influences, processes, and thinking. Both books are very well written and very readable and I can't put them down. I see several other John Cage books in my near future.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Nui Project embroidery

Nui Project embroidered shirts**
Writing about Dorothy Caldwell's Silent Ice/Deep Patience textiles has made me acutely aware of expressive stitching. As I continue my Lenten Intuitive mark-making practice, I've introduced experimental stitching into the mix. Here are two more images from the Nui project books. I have profound admiration for the Nui project artists.

These images are from Nui Project 2. **The above shirts were embroidered by (Top row left to right): Mikio Hamada; Machiko Yonetoku & Hatsune Doi; Natsumi Yokobaba & Noriko Fukumori; (Bottom row left to right): Mikio Hamada, Machiko Ikeyama & Aki Nozawa; Naoki Fujimura.
Nui Project embroidery detail of Keisuke Nomaguchi's textile
Each of us has our own intelligence. The embroidery of the Nui project artists exemplifies their deep engagement with intuitive stitching, not an easy feat.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Mixed Bag: Pattern, Travel, and John Cage

Tivoli building, Copenhagen; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2013
My husband and I recently returned from San Francisco, where we walked eight hours a day up and down the steep hills, ate delicious dim sum, and perused the numerous independent bookstores. Airports, plane rides and evenings in our hotel room gave me plenty of time in neutral spaces (no computer, no household tasks, no studio, no phone calls) to think and read. Travel is ideal for entertaining new perspectives.

It's that time of year where I think about the big picture and I've been thinking about patterns: both of the flat-pattern repeat and the behavioural/thought varieties. I see some art work on the horizon that will address both varieties, although I don't know how at this point. Being away gave me time to engage in some fuzzy thinking: a starting point for new ventures.
Tivoli building detail, Copenhagen; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2013
At City Lights Books I found five John Cage books and bought two. It was difficult to leave with only two, but it was the beginning of the day and books are heavy to carry up and down hills for hours at a time. My interest in the thinking and work of John Cage has intensified.

The photos of the Tivoli building are from our trip to Copenhagen last year. I love the lacy pattern. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Quotes: Kinnie Starr

"The purpose of art is to illuminate contradictions."  
–– Kinnie Starr (b. 1970), Canadian Aboriginal singer-songwriter. Source: CBC Radio One Definitely Not the Opera interview, October 23, 2014.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Studio Series: Chortitza oak leaf drawings

Chortitza oak leaves drawing © Karen Thiessen, 2014
My Lenten intuitive mark-making practice continues. I drew these colourful Chortitza oak leaves (Quercus robur) while on the phone with family and friends.
Chortitza oak leaf drawing © Karen Thiessen, 2014
I drew this black-and-white Chortitza oak leaf while sitting in church.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Dorothy Caldwell Silent Ice Deep Patience @ AGP 11

Dorothy Caldwell Walking on Tundra, 2013; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
Walking on Tundra is 26"X 53" and is mounted on industrial felt. The acid green is the colour of moss.
Dorothy Caldwell Walking on Tundra, detail 2013; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
Fine and chunky stitching on appliqués. A dash of pink provides a complementary contrast to the acid green.
Dorothy Caldwell Quiet Place: Willow & Arctic Moss, 2012; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
Quiet Place: Willow & Arctic Moss is another one of my favourites in this exhibition. Maybe one day I'll gather all my favourites in a separate blog post. Quiet Place is 23"X 23" and is mounted on industrial felt. It is a merging of Dorothy's signature wax and silkscreen resist with her new plant dyed textiles.
Dorothy Caldwell Quiet Place: Willow & Arctic Moss, 2012; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
This appliqué appears to be plant dyed.

All photos were taken with permission from Dorothy Caldwell and the fine staff of the Art Gallery of Peterborough.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Quotes: Charles H. Spurgeon

"Your emptiness is but the preparation for your being filled, and your casting down is but the making ready for your lifting up." –– Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892), British author and pastor