Getting the hang of it

So it’s been over two decades since I was a student. Yeah, I attempted to do distance education in my early twenties (with no success) and again in my thirties (again with no success) but those pursuits were not as inspiring as what I’m committed to now. I’m currently enrolled in the Foundations in Textiles course which precedes the full-on Bachelor of Arts degre in Textiles that I’m absolutely going for. I can’t wait to make time for the course work and am honestly over the moon with the process of exploring and learning.

In our course materials, we’re tasked with keeping a learning log to record our thoughts and insights, ideas and apprehensions about the process of learning. As a lifelong journaller, this absolutely lit me up. I scoured town to find a spiral bound sketchbook that I could use for my log and have spent the last few weeks getting accustomed to making habitual entries. Suffice to say I’m still working on making it habitual but it is definitely fun and as I go through my day, I’m making mental notes of which elements I want to document in my Learning Log.

(note: I will be uploading the entries to the log in my posts so that my tutor who is in the UK can view them. By all means, read them and enjoy but if they seem lame, dull, or just too damned many pages, sorry. I need to keep a digital record somewhere.)

      

So my first exercise was to make a series of marks prompted by some very exciting adjectives using a bunch of my new (yay!) art supplies. That was a fun experience. I noticed how the materials felt on the paper and in my hands. I also noted how the various media sounded and even smelled. That was an unexpected multi-sensory experience!!

      

Of course, once I’d started working, I wanted to just make marks all day but alas, adulting called and I had to pack up the fun and make dinner. So some time has passed since that exercise and I’ve attended evening talks and daytime meetings, I made a short film with friends and attended the screening. In other words, I’m DYING to get back to my assignments!

I’ve gotten more regular with my Learning Log entries and am enjoying having art supplies on hand all the time to record my ideas. In colour!

     
The best part about the sketch at the bottom of the page above is that while on a video chat with another textile artist in Hamburg, Germany, I showed him my sketch and he showed me that he’d doodled the same exact shape during our call. We immediately got excited and all fired up as artists are wont to do.

In preparation for the next assignment, I’ve created a few “paintbrushes” from materials in my stash. I will also have a look in the recycling bin to see which materials in there can be used as “quills” or “nibs” with India ink. Update to follow.

So today, I get to experiment with handmade tools and making marks with new methods. So exciting! Then an afternoon of weaving and creativity in my residency space downtown. I am seriously living the very best life. I couldn’t be happier.

Tell me what cool, challenging creative things you’re up to. I want to know ALL about it!!

Time to get makin’

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be working in this glorious space in Downtown Whitehorse. My friend, Emma Barr is an exceptional landscape painter and for the duration of her stay in Nigeria, I’m making the most of her otherwise unoccupied gallery space. I have a spot for my textile work in progress as well as a portion of wall space to display my weavings.

 

I’m treating this as a typical residency where I eat, sleep, and breathe my work. I wake up, do yoga, eat breakfast and head to the studio. I can spend eight hours in this space every day happily spinning and weaving while only barely noticing the passage of time. Yes, it’s my idea of heaven.

 

Today, I spun up two singles of merino (one single was spun with cedar bark) and plied them together for Chilkat warp for my partner, George’s Ravenstail robe that I intend to start soon. I was pretty thrilled to have this particular batch of warp turn out the way it did. I was hoping that by spinning it on the smaller whorl than usual would come closer to replicating the traditional thigh-spun warp that is normally used for Chilkat and Ravenstail weaving. Once this has rested overnight, I’ll wind it into a skein and then I’ll be taking it home and giving it a good soak to set the twist. Let’s hope that a wee bit of fulling will keep it from unravelling when I cut it for weaving!

 

And during my hours upon hours of spinning, I took my newest pair of Ginger jeans for a spin (see what I did there?!). I already have a few pairs of them and they are in heavy rotation in my very limited, mostly me-made wardrobe. I wanted a new pair that fit me just right and boy, do they ever! I used a lightweight stretch denim that I bought at Fabric.com and while my sewing machine and serger both gave me no shortage of attitude (complete with 6 broken needles!) and the whole project took several hours longer than anticipated, I’m really delighted with how they turned out. Just enough stretch that my booty looks as good at the end of the day as it does at the beginning.

And I think I finally have myself organized to begin working on my University courses. I have numerous pens, paint brushes, paints, markers, and sketch books to keep me busy for a long time to come. I will begin my Learning Log perhaps tonight or tomorrow with my coffee. I’m excited to begin recording my thoughts and discoveries as I embark on this new journey.  I hope to have a few pages to share and keep a digital record of within the next week or so, so if that sort of academic nerdery turns you on, then just hang onto your wig because shit’s about to get real!

 

Do you have any amazing/daunting/inspiring creative projects in the works? Tell me about them (Brooke, I know I can count on your participation here)

 

flourishing human

Vanessa

 

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