Monday, September 29, 2014

Quotes: Jane Kenyon

"Be a good steward of your gifts. Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. Be by yourself as often as you can. Walk. Take the phone off the hook. Work regular hours." –– Jane Kenyon (1947-1995, American poet and translator

* I found this in Dani Shapiro's Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life, 2013. One day I'll track down this poem and read it directly. Dani Shapiro quotes Kenyon's opening line "Be a good steward to your gifts." Several online sources quote "Be a good steward of your gifts."

After a very busy summer, I am following Kenyon's advice by working in silence and limiting my internet usage and movie watching (despite the fact that I do most of my stitching while watching movies on the computer). Silence and solitude are drawing me back into the much-missed rhythm of my work.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Toronto West Queen West street art

Toronto Graffiti; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
Vogue magazine recently listed Toronto's West Queen West as the second hippest neighbourhood in the world. Yes, it's hip and it has great street art.
Sanko Trading Mural; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
I'm particularly smitten with Sanko's new mural. If you are looking for a wide selection of Japanese pottery and foodstuffs, this is the place to go. 
Sanko Trading Mural detail; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
Toronto shop sign; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
I have no idea what this sign says, but I like it a lot.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


I spotted this shirt and it gave me an idea of how to use some of my subtler intuitive mark-making drawings as backgrounds for bold repeat patterns. Pardon the blur, the woman was walking as I photographed the shirt.
Not only do I love the shirt's half-drop repeat pattern, I also admire the woman's look.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Quotes: Claude Bernard

"The true worth of an experimenter consists in his pursuing not only what he seeks, but also what he did not seek." – Claude Bernard (1813-1878), French physiologist 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Studio Series: Lent drawings & more

An accumulation of Lent drawings © Karen Thiessen, 2014
Today marks 200 days since the beginning of Lent and this intuitive mark-making practice. Lately I've gone through a lot of acrylic ink as you can see from this pile of drawings. FW acrylic artists' inks offer a consistent quality. They cost more than other acrylic inks, but are worth it. 
Lent drawing & triangles quilt square © Karen Thiessen, 2014
The circles drawing in the above image is on an envelope with a subtle security pattern. I have a large collection of security patterns and not all of them are that interesting on their own, but they provide a nice background for my Lent drawings. To the right is my first attempt at piecing with triangles. I have more waiting to be sewn. I'm curious to see how I can push the triangle and how I will integrate it with other techniques.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Grave Ampersand

Brother's Grave Ampersand; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
On a recent visit to my late brother's grave I noticed the ampersand for the first time. Since then, I've been drawing multiple versions in my sketchbooks. At first I tried to draw the fancy version of the ampersand from memory and discovered that I couldn't remember how it looked. Now I've got it down pat.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Quotes: Joseph Addison

"Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses, and disappointments." –– Joseph Addison (1672-1719), English writer and politician