Sweet, sweet curiosity.

This blog is all about things I have made. You can find intense embroidery, paper quilling mania, crazy gingerbread houses, masks, puppets, steampunk clothes, ornaments, wackiness and sculptures on this site. So have fun and check it out!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Trees that find root : Quiller Trees!

 Well, I was feeling inspired by photos from our summer trip to falcon Lake. Paul and I were out on the canoe, and we saw this island covered in trees, that was really just rocks.  Somehow the trees had taken root and were surviving even though they were barely holding on by the tiny crevices in the rocks.  There was evidence that quite a few had already fallen over, but the image really stuck with me, so I created this piece.
 I used my scrunching technique which I am learning works really well for organic shapes. Hope you like it!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Hearty Quilling : Sharing a little love...

 Can you feel the love tonight? That's right, I just went a little Lion King on you... Some things from a person's childhood never leave... Here is my latest piece. A little Valentine special...

 "Hearty quilling" is the title and I am really happy with how it turned out. I picked a lot of salmon tones and experimented with different filling techniques. I tried a fill with no swirlies ( That's a technical term...)  inside and I really like it. So don't be surprised if more of my quilled pieces have that effect from here on out! 

Happy Valentine's Day in a couple of weeks!

Friday, January 18, 2013

A polar bear trophy head.. Why Not?

   In the fall I took a sculpture course that was geared toward creating pieces with stryofoam and lost wax in order to eventually get a piece bronzed. I have previously shown the naked lady sculpture I did in that course, but the second weekend, I wanted to do something I could give my husband for christmas, so I carved a polar bear trophy head. Yep, Awesome christmas gift, because who doesn't want a massive polar bead head on a wall? I knew my hubby would like it because he is big fan of polar bears, so I used the techniques I learned and created it.

    Instead of covering the piece in hot  wax to prepare it for a lost wax bronze sculpture technique, I covered it in several layers of plaster.  This probably wouldn't work for theatre, as things in theatre need to be sturdier than just plaster, however, I knew that just on our wall it would be fine. I covered it in plaster and used the plaster to get a little bit of a slick fur effect.

I then left it and went away to Suchitoto for two months and this week I finished it and put it up on our wall. Merry Christmas, babe! ( Just a little belated..)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Creating and Teaching in Suchitoto, El Salvador

Es Artes!
 Well, it has been over two months since my last post. I am very sorry! I have been on an amazing adventure in El Salvador for the past two months and have not been able to post.  I went as a volunteer with CUSO International and with the Stratford Theatre Festival to work and teach in a small community called Suchitoto.  What I was told when I went down there was that I was giving kids the opportunity to learn new skills so that they could find work and stay out of gangs which are so prevalent in their country.  I went down there expecting a lot of things and what I found was so different from my expectations.  Suchitoto is an amazing place, full of people who care about their families and those around them.  I was treated with such warmth from so many amazing people. The people that worked in adminstration were dedicated, kind, with great senses of humour and even though my spanish was very bad, were incredibly patient with me.

Two of my students working hard creating shadow puppets... It's important for artistic concentration to wear a Tina Turner wig...
One of the reasons I went down there was because I have recently discovered I really like teaching and so I thought that teaching these kids about props and mask making might help them. After returning home and reflecting on my experience I have so much respect for the students in that program. I know that politically there is weird stuff going on with the school, but I didn't go down there for the school I went down there to work with the kids. The students have spent about two years training in theatre, with over twenty volunteers coming down to teach them a myriad of different skills from Theatre lighting, carpentry, welding, propmaking, drawing, drafting, maskmaking, costume construction and fundraising. These kids have gotten a very unique experience that very few people in El Salvador get a chance to do.  There are no arts programs in public schools and high schools in El Salvador so they are starved for artistic ways to express themselves.  The students at Es Artes are about to graduate from the program in a month and like any teenager facing a change they are concerned about what happens next in their lives.  I don't know what the kids were like when they started the program but what I see now is some incredibly intelligent, passionate, talented, driven students who have the ability to become amazing artisans and members of the artistic community in Suchitoto and El Salvador. They have a lot of different opportunities available to them because of the training at the school, not just from the CUSO Volunteers but from working with other artisans in Suchitoto and San Salvador.  There are already students from the school who are working in the community and for the school as welders and carpenters.
A very talented Student creating an amazing totem mask for the production of the Popol Voh.
It was an honour to work with these kids, especially the ones that were on my little production team. Together we created about 30 masks, 45 Shadow Puppets and a whole bunch of props.  I am very proud of the work that they did and of how well they worked together. I spent two months working with these kids everyday, without a translator, they were incredibly patient with me and had an amazing appetite for new skills and knowledge. They also taught me to speak Spanish, which was great as they were awesome teachers.

Some of the animal masks and bowls painted by a local artisan, Javier Gonzalez, an amazing painter who I learned a lot from, and all around great guy. 

It was difficult to leave after that whole time because even though sometimes it was stressful, it was also such an amazing treat to work with such amazing people. I am still dreaming as though I am in Suchitoto and I miss the students, staff, fellow volunteers and the community very much! Hopefully, I will get another opportunity to make it down there again.

One of the younger students and Javier having fun in the masks.