This January marks nineteen years since my Father died. I was 19 at the time of his death, and I have now been alive longer without him and I lived with him in this world.
To mark this time I used water from the lake where his ashes were scattered to make new work. I used the lake water to make large ‘hag-stone’ shapes on watercolour paper, and then used watercolour paints I made with wildcrafted earth pigments to paint the water marks. I loaded a large amount of paint onto the water marks, and let them dry overnight before seeing what was revealed.
I’m back printing photos in the darkroom after a number of years. I document most of my field work both digitally and on film, and being able to print photos myself again has shifted something in my practice.
In early January I was able to access the TARP (Textile Adaptations Research Lab) lab at school. I started work on the felting loom- a machine that needle felts fibres together. My first projects were made with sheep fibre, and I made floor mats that were used in an installation for my first critique for my Graduate Studio class.
I started with random wool fibres that I had in my studio, and some that were donated to the soft materials shop at school. Getting to know this machine didn’t take too long, and I am looking forward to making larger wool works with this machine.
In early December I was out at a mud-bogging event at Stave Lake that was also a toy drive for youth in the Fraser Valley. It was strange to watch so many vehicles tearing up the land, knowing the people driving likely didn’t think about the destruction to the environment.
I found an ochre deposit at the edge of the lake and gathered a small handful of pigment to process. On January 12th I washed, levigated, and sieved the pigment. I am trying to think of a way to tell the story of this place, the land is precious.
In early October I visited some black walnut trees I have been gathering from for a number of years. I use the hulls of the walnuts as dye and ink materials and these hulls will be used in the coming year or two.
When gathering the hulls I am aware of the other beings in the landbase- in this case I am thinking of the squirrels that call this area home. I take the whole fruits and remove the nuts in their shells and put those back where I found them. They are a food source for the squirrels and to remove them would disrupt the ecosystem. I only need the outside hull (green fruit part) and for me to help remove these bits makes gathering the nuts easier for the squirrels.
The work I showed in my first critique for my Graduate Studio class was a collection of pigments and ceramic works made from the pigments.
This work was made from pigments I gathered while attending the SIM residency in Reykjavik Iceland in June 2022. The pigments were painted onto ceramic shapes and hung above the bottled pigments. Beside the work were small tins of a poplar bud balm I made for the viewers to pick up and smell while experiencing the work.
Scent memory is a method that I explore in my work to help the viewer situate themselves in my memories of places. The smell of this balm holds memories for me- both of Icleand and of the Squamish Valley. The balm was made by soaking poplar buds in olive oil for a year and a half, and then cooked into beeswax.
I travelled to Princeton BC to visit an ochre site. This is a protected site and is important to the Indigenous folks from this region. I was careful to view the ochres but not to take anything or to leave a trace that I was there.
There is an otherworldly feeling at this site.
The bridge to get to the site had washed out last Autumn so we had to walk across the river. The trail to the site hadn’t been used much over the last year and it showed signs of being an important thoroughfare for the animals in the region. I saw signs of bears, wolves, and many other animals.