Remembering ………..

•July 29, 2016 • Leave a Comment

 

Eight weeks ago I flew to Toronto to choose pieces from the collections of four of my major collectors for the retrospective part of the show.  These friends, who I met way back when, have a great selection of pieces from the years of my prolific outpouring.

in the box

 

Donna was the first visit. She had everything ready for me and her dining room table and china cabinet were covered and full. It was very emotional seeing all the pieces and realizing I could remember the time I spent bringing them to life. And, I know you are wondering, she indeed has a Pinocchio character, one with two faces …

We talked for several hours and enjoyed reminiscing about shared moments. She was often the first in the door of an exhibit and proud to have collected some of her favorite pieces. Donna has also come to several of my ongoing workshops in Toronto. She told me her interest was mainly to understand how it all happens but honestly, she has made some lovely little people in those classes!

Donna Douglas 2

 

I then drove north to overnight with my sister, niece and nephew … a perfect thing on this trip as my sister was with me from the very first show I did in Toronto. She housed me, helped me set up the incredibly labor intensive displays and stood by for the long hours of the first years. She had her babies and they became part of the “crew” as soon as they were walking … my favorite story is on my website to read, but here is the photo of the kids years ago helping me open my boxes and being genuinely enchanted by it all … w o n d e r    f u l l . . . . mostly for ME.

rob and brad 3

 

Next visit was to Linda and Paul’s lovely home.

I arrived late due to Toronto traffic and getting lost in a city I grew up in, assuming I knew the way and heading off in many strange directions … I arrived a bit shaken and like the perfect antidote, entered a most enchanting world … she and Paul have their pieces throughout their home and it was deeply moving to see how Linda had incorporated her pieces with antiques and beautiful objects magnificently set into an alcove or a corner. They told me how their grandchildren love to come and “find” the figures, which are always magically moving. Linda is a tender sweet quilt artist and so we share a love of fabric, hers in her quilts and mine clothing the figures.

 

I left there deeply touched … I cannot quite express how much it means to be part of their family memories in a small quiet way…

Linda and I met at the first show I did in Toronto and were friends from that first moment. She was modelling for the fashion designers at the show. New to modelling her career blossomed instantly.  She and I shared the opening day in my booth every year for almost twenty years…I cannot imagine that day without her.

Linda Livingstone

 

That afternoon I went to see Anne who had found my work ( and me ) at my second show in Toronto. She embraced me as someone special, someone she related to, and would, without knowing it influence my work and my life for years to come. I fell instantly for her and have enjoyed her gorgeous presence in my life for many years.

She and her sister returned to the booth display later and drew a crowd with their joy and laughter while looking at each piece. She was part of the bubbling excitement of the years when people came running … I think secretly she was outside in the lineup getting everyone wound up, giving me her natural gracious enthusiasm and support.

Anne and Sam Alter

 

Her husband Sam eventually came to a show and I became a fan of his love for Anne … it was a very moving day for me when he chose a piece ( Hatter and the Red Queen ) for their collection.

Hatter and The Red Queen close

 

The final stop was the beautiful new home of my friends Pam and Bernie. It was so wonderful to see them so happy and catch up after a long stretch of time. We did a tour of the house and my work, beautifully displayed throughout their home … again so emotional and so lovely remembering the times we shared and the pieces they had chosen each year… so many pieces and stories it was hard to decide which pieces to choose but together we agreed on the ones we most enjoyed remembering.  Sadly one favorite had disappeared during the move … and was seriously missed …“Shiny and Dull”  two little dancers, one in shiny pink satin and the other in a dull pink baggy suit. One day I will create them again, but no matter, they are still with us ….

Pam and Bernie Collection

 

A wee story … Pam and Bernie taught me how to use a credit card machine at my first show. They had come back to purchase a piece and asked if I took visa. I proudly said yes and took out the machine my sister had loaned me from her store. Only trouble was, she was not there and I had no idea how it worked. Bernie took charge and charged himself for their purchase … there was such great laughter and we still laughed remembering that clunky old visa machine at the show …

Hatter’s Tea was borrowed from their kitchen counter where it has lived, even in their earlier home, since arriving from the show. That year I had made this piece for the “Tea Contest” at the big show… it was, of course, the winner !!!

Hatter's Tea

 

One other little show tale ( the One of a Kind Show ) … I think it was my fifth show and after two long days of set up ; after the long journey to get there ; after the long months to prepare ; and after the final weeks without much sleep … I had it all together.  For the first time the booth was ready before the announcement of the doors opening … I proudly stood taking a breath. There was a commotion ( I mentioned a bit of this before ) in the hallway and turning the corner was a throng of people rushing down the aisle. I watched in surprise and … then … realized … they were coming towards me!!

I blushed, took a breath and the crazy times began. But … moments into the excitement, the many questions and the ” I’ll take this one “ I realized nothing had been prepared for selling and packing the pieces. I had some wrapping and boxes but had not even considered this as part of getting set up. Anne, Pam and Linda were all part of the crowd and understanding the look in my eyes they jumped behind the counter and began to help remedy the situation. That was the beginning of having these very wonderful women in my life. Once things were manageable, Pam and Anne went on to see some of the show and Linda stayed with me. We both remember not looking up until around three o’clock that day … From that show on, Anne and Pam came to help me finish detailing and preparing the booth ( the day before ) and Linda and I shared the long hours of every opening day.

Remarkable really, and as I recall it, I realize how synchronized this work and my life has been right from the first moment I made my first little person.

first one 2

 

 

so…at the end of  three days … I had gathered everything,  I headed towards my beautiful friend Janet’s house for a much anticipated visit before flying home to Nova Scotia…

One hour of driving in circles I finally called to advise I was somewhere in the vicinity but not at all sure what that meant … she coached me and turned me back towards her home.

Finally there she was waiting in the street for me to find her ….

Later, while we worked repacking and enjoying our time together, she left the room and returned with a little handful of  BEES!!! She said “The bees have to go”  and, they plopped themselves in the suitcase as if in charge of its precious contents …

 

Smiling as I write this, I will leave you and tell all about the bees,

another time…

 

The Bees 2

Work from the show that is 4 sale . . .

•July 28, 2016 • 1 Comment

She asked : ” Where do these guys come from ? ”     My curiosity I guess…always searching for the thing…like confirmation of existence something like that….

rose covered shadows

I have things organized and … the works that are for sale are up on my website …

Here is the link: http://www.katechurch.com/s-h-o-p/balance-point/

 

In the endless conversation about craft and art…I would like to think that this exhibit blurs the lines …

The C A T A L O G U E Writings . . .

•July 23, 2016 • Leave a Comment

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Artist Statement

Balance Point holds my relationship between past, present and the spaces in-between.

The selected works are a glimpse into the many practices of my creative life and a retrospective look at twenty years as a maker of fine craft.

It is my joy to present this body of work honouring a life devoted to creating for a living. To acknowledge the multiple disciplines that have supported, inspired and nurtured my many years in the marketplace.

Devoting time to my other artistic disciplines has brought constant transformation into my work and educated and informed my eyes and heart.

Drawing the human figure gradually altered my sense of proportion from something whimsical to something richly engaging. Ceramics has taught my hands to be more spontaneous when sculpting affecting the emotional core of my work. Taking time away from the long hours of producing for shows has brought space for reflection and a noticing of how my work is influenced and affected by the phases of my life and journey. These practices have felt so necessary and fed my insatiable appetite for evolution and challenge. They have kept me open to the discovery of what comes  n e x t .

This speaks to what it takes to continue to inspire the long hours and dedication of an artist/artisan/maker.

My intention is to bring some insight into the work behind the work and world we as makers live in. It is my hope that you will be intrigued and perhaps surprised at the levels of work that are involved in a life such as this. Not an easy path to follow, as our collective group knows, but a vibrant and rich one, one that brings handmade inspiration (something I have always listed in my materials as “magic”) to a wide audience, enriching their lives as well as our own.

…………………………………..

 

pink and black 

The Retrospective part of the exhibit is dedicated to my patrons and friends who have encouraged, supported and inspired me to pursue the challenge of closing the gap towards mastery.

 

The work shown here has been selected from the private collections of my largest patrons and earliest supporters. The time line travels along the twenty years I was part of the largest Canadian annual fine craft retail exhibition. I have been shown such kindness and enthusiasm for continuing my work; I wish to sincerely thank every one of you who have been with me on any part of the creative outpouring, stress management and challenging exciting years.

…………………………………..

 

 the combining 3

The Combining shows how one discipline reflects upon another.

 

Rather than pouring plaster or cement into my sculpture molds, I would press clay into them.

Tortilla paper cast offs from life drawings were shredded, soaked and then poured into the same molds finding a method for making strong, light large scale work.

In the printmaking studio leaves and other materials found in the street led to pattern designs using cardboard and Plexiglas for plates. Lithography pencils and a gum arabic process meant favorite contour life drawings could be transferred onto the leaf prints.

Cutting and printing with linoleum became pliable printing stamps for the porcelain vessels I was making in the ceramics studio. I would press the same leaves and lino cuts into polymer clay for details on my figures.

…………………………………………………

 

 Shoe Shoe 2

Shoe Shoe Dancer is a story of when my paintings first became a direct inspiration for figurative sculptures.

 

A model for a life drawing session came to pose wearing her tutu and John Fluevog shoes. Her spirit and attitude was infectious. That day painting took me beyond old insecurities and I danced right along with her using my brushes. That evening, so alive with the experience, I began a little dancer called Passing Time. I used the inspiration of the day and found myself making a delicate tender figure that spoke of the profound connection I felt coming through this experience, something that has continued to grow deeper thicker and richer.

 

Flowering is wearing the boots I won while surfing the Fluevog website for another set of shoe inspirations for my series.  One pair is never enough ….

…………………………………………..

 

 Gentle Spirits

The Gentle Spirits installation is a story of time spent (devotion), abilities evolving and artistic and personal reflection with a view to the future.

 

The horses represent the artist, artisan, maker … the work horse; well-worn, slow moving, introspective…

 

The figures above the horses are the muses, the characters, the anima of my livelihood.

 

Many times I have been asked if derive my work from dreams but I do not dream these, I take instruction. It is as if they have chosen and I simply listen. Or perhaps they are, more simply, me.

 

The horse forms were designed with the intention they would be sculptural paintings. Beginning with a decorative method in acrylic I abruptly changed to oil paint and fell in love. Becoming obsessed with the project, the figures became fabric puzzles; their bodies designed using canvas and paint as with the horses. Their clay parts were tinted using pigments and pastels becoming more painterly as I worked. These large three dimensional forms engaged several disciplines, amalgamating the many practices on each one.

Invigorated, working amongst horses and figures that were also paintings, I grabbed my brushes and intensely began to paint over some unresolved canvases. Figures and feelings emerged out of the two dimensional surface effortlessly. The sculptures were informing the paintings, it was another level of what artists long for, the flow of connection. This was a significant shift along a related path which had directionally changed.

 

I had found my latest Balance Point.

rowdy A P P L A U S E . . .

•July 22, 2016 • Leave a Comment

 

front window

 

It has been a week since the opening and it is past time to write …

… so how do I express the sincere gratitude I feel for this event in my life… I had an idea and a vision of what I wished to create and found a way to follow it to it’s completion. And the most beautiful part is it was and is so much more, so much richer than I had thought it could be …

The show is on until the 28th of August, so there is time for it to touch more lives .

I love the touching part, the intimacy of the retrospective,  it sits open to whomever wanders through the space.

opening 1

 

I had such a great experience putting the show together, Susan Charles the director, Becky and Greg the residents were the best team.

It was seamlessly delightful – is that rowdy applause from this wee person for you three?

 

ready to speak about it

 

and more for friends and family who came to join me on that opening evening, and not forgetting, those far away who made sure I knew they were there in the spirit of it all, so humbling and so fabulous … W O W !!

 

opening 3

 

So now after a most wonderful week of the opening, my sister and brother in law coming to be with me and staying to visit for a few days (these are some of their photos)  and bit of time to recover …

it is mid-summer and I am remembering why I so love this place where I live.

porch life

… further explanations images and episodes will follow of the process so do stay tuned!!!

xo

 

Blood on the canvas….

•July 11, 2016 • Leave a Comment

mooondancer close up

It is completely appropriate that I would do one of my big marathons in honour of this show. As a retrospective it is fitting that I create a new memory as well as exhibiting the work of these past twenty years…

Yesterday was a day without a break, like the month long push of days without breaks of earlier years. Work is my strong suit so when I chose the life of an artist/artisan I knew one sure thing, I could put in the hours it would require. This is still true today although there are now issues like arthritis to contend with which may be my body’s way of putting limits on my workaholic pleasure…

 

father t i m e . . .

 

At one point in the afternoon the old holes in my sewing fingers opened, I stabbed myself with the needle and slid my hand over several pins sticking out of the rear end of the horse   o u c h   and   O U C H    and the expected drops of blood. I had forgotten about the holes. Over the years I rarely used a thimble and my fingers became pin cushions by default.

I rarely had a day without a needle in my hand but lately I am sculpting more than sewing, so the blood on the canvas embellished my memorial day of good old times.

My sore fingers added a touch of self pity and drama to the rather peaceful afternoon. I cleaned the horse (which I might add is a sweet dream unlike the silk and satins I have bled on in the past) and continued trying to avoid the super sensitive holes  ….

 

 

Day time turned to night time and the marathon continued …

 

evening light 3

 

Hours later and still sewing I thought    ” I would like to listen to a funny movie and laugh my way through these next hours …”

suddenly I could not find my needles  …  ???  so, upstairs I go, find where I have stashed the needles (that is a feat in itself) come back down to headquarters, climb back up the ladder  . . .   y e s   . . .  a small step ladder  ( these guys are taller than my arms can reach but then I am very short ) and I find a needle dangling off the back of the figure …  a h a a a … and shortly thereafter (no pun intended) found the other  in the costume where I had used it as a pin …

I did say I had been sewing since early that morning  r i g h t ??

 

float close

 

Needles recovered, pleased with my competence, I prepare a wee supper. Once the stove beeps to let me know it has preheated I go into the kitchen, remember something I needed to write down and forget to turn on the timer. But then I do remember (these are all very important things) and climb down to set it so I don;t  f o r g e t . When the timer rings I notice there is no delicious aroma … and wondering why, open the oven door  :  there is nothing in the stove.

All this to say I had a wonderful laugh and realized I did not need a funny movie I was making one!!

 

look way up 2

 

My evening was uneventful after that, wee hours of the morning saw the completing of what had to be done and I went to lay my fingers and other parts  d o w n  ….

 

the long of it

 

 

Today is packing day so there will be no sewing until later this evening when the van has been picked up packed and prepared for the morning drive into the city for set up.

This is perfect because other than typing this little note for you who are reading, my fingers and hands will get a well deserved break.

 

day into night

 

…. Did I mention I have another show to complete work for?  There is this amazing doll exhibit going to happen in Petaluma California and the pieces I have created  but not quite completed need to be on their way this very week …    ahhh    …   but they are wonderful pieces   …  more on that over the days to come    …

 

so where am I …

•July 6, 2016 • Leave a Comment

construction zone 1

 

There is big stuff to finish, the new large scale work I have made is close but the final details always take longer than you think.. Redoing hands to get the gestures right and re-positioning  the bodies and the horses eyes until the expression pulls on the heart ….

rosie

these big guys have wonderful details that are rusty metal and found bits from the cobblestone streets and highway where I walk to the studio to paint …

 

perhaps a bit about that …

I joined a painting group this winter in San Miguel to push my work and learn more about painting …  I worked with a gorgeous young multi talented artist who was willing to help me with my experiments and insecurities. Week two I carried my large canvas horse to the studio … everyone who saw me laughed or waved perhaps because how many gringas bring a large scale canvas stuffed horse on a bus? and the neighbors who honestly wonder about me anyways … see me come out the door and walk down the street with my horse tucked under my arms … everyone was smiling on that fine morning.

 

 

stuffed canvas

 

The horses are meant to represent me.     My life.    a tired horse     my long hour work ethic     my worn out parts that have been over utilized for this journey  …  and as me, they carry the muse, the figures that guide my work.

going somewhere

 

 

Each morning, as I walked to the studio, I made it my mission to find the bits and pieces for their manes and tails. So it was another comedy of sorts on a certain morning when I walked the highway scanning the ditches and shoulders for treasure. This morning, the perfect thing laid out in middle of the road. I waited for a break in traffic to fetch my morning’s prize. Why were there so may cars on that road ?   finally, patience lost, I ran out and grabbed the piece of rope.  The approaching cars slowed  as I made my triumphant exit.

There will be a story of the strange little woman that runs out to the middle of the highway to collect …  dirty bits of rope.   W E L L   that rope was worth the dash through the traffic and who knows what legend I have inspired.

I must confess however, I am not the only stranger who collects weird bits of debris on the roadside…

images from the studio 17

 

Onward to the studio. I had this torn pagefrom an old art magazine  in my files to show how I imagined the skin of the horses. Carmen (my teacher) stared at the picture for a few minutes and then gave me a sequence of layers and  colours to begin. Not at all how I would have approached it so I was engaged and curious.

It was as if she could see below the surface of the image.I stood beside her and also stared hard at that crumpled paper but could not see what she saw. I would eventually, however.

Days determined by the drying time for the paint brought enough understanding of layering oil paint to go home and begin the other horses.

images from the studio 26

 

T I M E …………   I thought it impossible to complete my vision of seven horses. As usual in my life, while working on the first layers I had over prepared and sewn seven canvas bodies. Once ready to start I took a moment to be realistic and decided I could only complete three…

The weekend was intense and the horses were very dark, smelly (turpentine and oil) and dirty looking in their first stages. Rick named our house  THE STABLE  and Claude exclaimed that they were beautiful and I should  s t o p … ha ! they had no idea what I was planning ….. !

 

Needless to say the layers continued and every day Claude would say the same thing …  s t o p !!!    until I listened and did.

the tired horses

 

 

so …  the details I am now attaching are broken hoses  … twisted wires that fell from construction trucks and driven into the cobblestones … and famous highway rope tails I will be the legendary for ….

 

images from the studio 10

 

Three horses seemed not enough. I might be a tired horse but still have some giddy up left in me so three became five and then in a final push there were  s e v e n . . .

 

images from the studio 20

r i g h t … better get to it …

almost a year later…

•July 4, 2016 • 1 Comment

 

suspicious gathering

 

T I M E … so fast…so slow…so immediate….

Just shy of two years ago I was sitting in Laguardia Airport, waiting for my flight home from a NIADA Conference in Florida where I had taught a workshop and enjoyed experiences with artists, students, patrons and collectors…

Earlier in the year I had developed this concept for a public show about my life as an artist/artisan/maker. I submitted a proposal to the Mary Black Gallery in Halifax Nova Scotia.

I had not been thinking about it. Teaching and conferences were keeping my time tightly consumed and as I sat checking email there was a letter from the gallery…  “Dear Kate:

The acceptance announcement date had past so I felt myself tighten and prepare to read the letter telling me thank you very much but … I read on …“I am pleased to inform you …”     I might have squealed … at any rate I did something appropriately uncool in that snazzy upbeat New York airport booth where I sat, heads turned my way as tears welled and then trickled down my face ….

 

flight plane

 

I have seen a lot of airports in the last six years. Travel is part of teaching for me as I prefer to be with students than give online courses. I love seeing people using their hands. The reality of travel as an economy class person is no fun but when I do, time is in a lovely state of suspension and occasional drama.

Eight years ago I was on my way to Las Vegas to be juried for the National Institute of American (actually International) Doll Artists. Weather had shut down the airport and I was informed I would not make it there until late the next day. I had spent over a year preparing and was required to appear early the next morning for their decision. Hours of pleading and re-pleading at various counters finally turned up someone who listened to my circumstance and promptly put me on an evening flight. After the hours of line ups and not giving up I turned to walk away and fell completely apart. The stress had felt endless and the mission I may have failed to complete, was hugely expensive in my world.

I could not prevent or stop my reaction, but I realized no one knew it was me    there    undone     in the crowds of stranded people..

I was voted into the association the next morning and would have had another outburst but had nothing left to give ….

the sleepover

 

Back to the other airport story…

I sat and read the letter.  Reread the letter … and began to type the vision I had for the show. Time escaping, almost missed my flight.

Reaction to this proud moment had to be written…so running to the gate was kind of like soaring…as soaring as a fifty something with no wings could manage…

come fly with me

 

In these next days leading up to the opening of a show called BALANCE POINT : twenty years of artistic process,  I will share bits and pieces of how those visions and dreams written at the booth in the airport have guided me in the creating of this exhibit…

travel options

 

 

 

6fb56942-e397-4c1e-81ea-c32891480a4f

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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