Monday, December 7, 2015

Art as Therapy From the Weyburn Mental Hospital, Saskatchewan

In 1930 Weyburn Mental Hospital, Saskatchewan was the largest building in Canada.
Post WWII battle disorders caused a peak of the in-patient population in the hospital.
The Soo Line Historical Museum in Weyburn has a large room of artifacts from the hospital, many of which are rather horrifying.
They also have a collection of art painted by patients as a result of the art therapy program.

A project Articulation members are working on is a personal response to war. Some of the members are looking at how war affects the whole family not just those who go to war. 
The Soo Line Museum proved to be a rich primary resource for some members.

Ingrid Lincoln, Donna Clement, Mandy Onchulenko.
Equipped to carry out research: sketchbook/notebook, camera, a bag to hold pens, glue stick and gathered materials, sturdy walking shoes, dressed in layers and prepared for all weathers.

But we do stop for meals. Leann, our host, had scouted out a number of different places for us to try the full range of the local cuisine. 
We all enjoyed the Fireside Bistro in Regina located in what was originally a 1913 luxurious private home built in the arts and crafts style using embezzled public monies. That was the beginning of a most colourful history until it became a restaurant in 1979.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Soo Line Historical Museum - More Textiley Things

One never knows when a flash of inspiration for a work will strike.
Often an article stimulates a childhood memory and links to later life experiences.
Are you old enough to remember when general stores wrapped their customers' purchases in brown paper torn off a large roll.....

...and tied it with string. In the home, both brown paper and string were kept, along with the purchase because both had many further uses. Recycling is not a new concept, but maybe it could be expressed as an idea in a work using brown paper to reference another time of recycling?

Hand-cranked sock making machine
Textile related artifacts in museums often attract the eye of a fibre artist. Textile history is as long as human history so the fibre artist has a treasure trove of knowledge and techniques to pull from.

Spinning Niddy Noddy for making yarn into skeins ready to dye.
Every culture fashioned tools and equipment to work with fibre and cloth.

Often these tools are 'known' to us even when we have no idea how to use or operate them.
Any one of these textile related artifacts could stimulate the percolation of a new work for the fibre artist. 
During study sessions and retreats, Articulation members visit the local museums as well as the art galleries to provide depth and authenticity to their research. Observing, drawing, note taking and photographing and talking about primary resources makes a stronger connection to history, a more sensory-rich response to the environment and allows personal memories to be reactivated. The resulting work can have layers of meaning contained in a simple design, concept or story expressed in fibre and stitch that everyone can relate to on some level.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Weyburn Museum Visits - Soo Line Historical Museum

Sweater Blocker
Research is a big part of Articulation members' work. Annual study sessions allow time for some intensive research of primary resources which often involves visiting museums and archives.

Sock Blockers, Garment Blockers, Washboard
Weyburn has a number of very interesting museums with unique collections, including the Soo Line Historical Museum click here for location and hours, housed in a large brick building that used to be a power facility. 

Tie Blocker
We usually start a study session with a broad theme in mind then over the week the theme evolves and develops in another direction, into many directions and has to be reigned in or becomes focused. It all depends on what we find as we explore.

'Laundry Stove. Used in Lee Sing's Laundry until his death in 1961.'
Our name 'Articulation' describes the way we work very well. Together we do the initial research in a specific location, guided by a broad theme that serves to keep us connected while at the same time we all go off in different directions following our instincts, feelings and interests. We all produce work independently in our own respective studios then come back to exhibit together.

Tin Washboard and Soap Rack
If a theme grows in too many directions we usually have a discussion to find the most popular areas and to see what will be eliminated. And sometimes we don't. 

Clothes Wringer
And sometimes we just go into a museum to see what is there because it may stimulate a new area for study. One of the characteristics of Articulation members is their high level of curiosity. Everything and anything has potential to be a future body of work and needs to be investigated.

Laundry Products and Wooden Pegs
The Soo Line Historical Museum kept us busy exploring for several hours. We made sketches and took pictures not knowing when the research may be used. 

Electric Hair Permer

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Articulation In Weyburn 2015

Articulation meeting under Weyburn's war memorial.
This is a hint for an upcoming body of work.

Another exhibition we visited during the Weyburn Fibre Art Walk was FAN's (Fibre Art Network) travelling show "Abstracted."

Artists paired up to express an idea or phrase, one artist working in a representational style and the other artist in an abstracted style.
Above, 'Colours To Live By' showing houses typically found on the rocky east coast of Canada.

Marianne Parsons used raw edged machine applique in a representational style.

While Karen Johnson worked in a more simplified style, also using the raw edge machine applique technique,

'Nature's Patterns'
Left - Dale MacEwan, representational.
Right - Deb Tyson, abstract.
Both worked in the same colour palette, but different techniques produced quite different results.

Left - Lily Thorne, representational
Right - Patt Wilson, abstract

Articulation members enjoyed seeing the work of many people they know while they continued their discussion of the value of working within a distinctive style.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

2015 Retreat in Weyburn Saskatchewan

Articulation members: Ingrid Lincoln, Donna clement, Amanda Onchulenko, off to see another exhibition in Weyburn's Art Walk.

We all enjoyed looking at Jaynie Himsl's collection of work.
It stimulated a conversation about one's own style being connected to a particular technique. How one takes something and makes it one's own after many hours of working a threaded needle, sitting in front of a machine, wringing dyed cloth or squeezing wool fibres to make felt.

Jaynie takes her inspiration from her natural environment and her garden. Her simplified macro or micro views are expressed using threads and a sewing machine. 

She has developed a particular technique that is now identified with her style of expression.

More yarn bombing. That means there is another fibre exhibition nearby.

Monika Kinner-Whalen is another Saskatchewan artist inspired by what she sees around her. She also uses thread and her sewing machine but to quite a different effect to Jaynie Himsl's work. 
Painters  use paint and a fabric or paper ground while stitchers use thread/fibre and a fabric or paper ground, but go to any number of embroidery/stitch media exhibitions and you will see a far wider range of techniques developed into individual styles than you will see at any painting exhibitions. Fibre artists work from and reference a much longer and more universal textile history than all other art mediums. Textile history is greater than the art world. To quote from Beverly Gordon's new book 'Textiles The Whole History. Uses, Meaning, Significance,' "Textiles are part of the human consciousness," (p18).

Monday, September 28, 2015

'All Beings Confluence' Martha Cole's Community Project

An exhibition we all enjoyed was 'All Beings Confluence,' an interactive community art project spearheaded by Saskatchewan artist Martha Cole. She runs workshops in different communities across North America giving guidance on how to make large, transparent panels. She then loans collections of panels, according to the number requested, to be hung in a wide variety of spaces in many different communities.

Viewers walk between the panels to enjoy works up close and to see the layered effects as different panels work together, such as these hens scratching beneath the flowers behind.

Each panel is about one living being. It was interesting to note how many weedy-type plants were chosen when so much of the landscape is covered in commercial crops. This female connection with 'weedy' plants is from the time when women gathered them to feed and care for their families. This ancient knowledge continues to surface in women's artwork today.

It is typical of women's intuitive work to show plants with flowers at all stages of development in the same work.

The scale of the panels and large-scale motifs give a feeling of  not only being immersed in nature but also feeling part of the living network of life.

The panel on the left shows 3 stages in a butterfly's life.
The centre panel is Matha's rhubarb plant. 
To find out more about this important ongoing project visit the All Beings Confluence website

Monday, September 21, 2015

2015 Retreat in Saskatchewan

Here is Articulation working hard on their 2015 Retreat - at Moose Jaw's Temple Gardens Hotel and Spa.
From left: Lesley Turner, Ingrid Lincoln, Amanda Onchulenko, Donna Clement, Wendy Klotz and Leann Clifford taking the picture. Unfortunately, Shannon Wardroper couldn't make it to this retreat.

Here we all are, off to our water yoga class in geothermal water with the same mineral composition as the waters in Bath, England.

After going through the yoga possess outside on the rooftop patio, we transitioned into the hot pool and moved through the poses again. We sipped an ice cold glass of water then rested.

One of the main activities of the week was to get an idea of the sort of fibre art currently being produced in Canada's western provinces. Weyburn was the perfect stop with its 'Fibre Art Destination 2015' event with 16 different exhibitions. We had to work hard to see them all over the 2 days we had in Weyburn.
The first stop was at the impressive Signal Hill Arts Centre  housed in a 1912 hospital. 'Join the Thread' showed a wide variety of small works by a large number of Saskatchewan fibre artists. It did well showing the wide range of techniques worked with the threaded needle.

The Art Walk was located all over Weyburn's downtown core in a wide variety of businesses. A postcard map had been produced but the telling sign of art up head was the yarn bombing outside every exhibition location. But we had local girl Leann in our midst to guide us efficiently in and out of each exhibition then on to the next one.
More next post.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Victoria B.C Study Session

In September we spent time in Victoria, B.C.
We visited the maritime Museum and did research in its library

 The Museum Claims to have the Oldest working elevator in Canada.

I don`t know about that but I liked the pattern of the grill

Then there is always Emily Carr. Here with her monkey.

There are always flowers. hydrangea my favourite.