Drawing by hand is predominately what I do. I used Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop as tools in creating the logo and background drawings for The Calgary Permaculture Guild project. If you are interested in viewing the finished website for the Calgary Permaculture Guild please click here: www.permaculturecalgary.org .
During the fall of 2010 I was asked to create 140 individual wedding invitations for a good friend getting hitched from my childhood. Each invitation was different. Basically, I used whatever I could get my little art hands on: old envelopes, random pieces of paper, markers, stickers, a plethora of collage materials collected from the adventures of my life, fabrics, thread, old postcards, used brown bags, folders, photographs I had taken ... the list is infinite just as is the mind and creativity. The only thing the invites shared in common was a stamp informing guests of pertinent event information.
The following is an artist statement for our first self-organized/collaborated/fundraiser project. Denly Smyth McMann wrote this statement up. Here's to the beginning of many more of these rad functions and creative brain farts! Long live collaboration!
Taxidermy has a long and varied history. The original “stuffed animals” were collected as trophies of the hunt. It seems that human beings have a penchant for displaying and cataloguing the prizes of the natural world, perhaps as emblems of what they perceive as their superior cleverness and dominance over animals. Today preserved animals are housed in a variety of collections and range from the mounted deer head found on the living room wall of the weekend hunter, to the bird resting in the inventory of the university teaching collection, to the lion perpetually pouncing in the natural history museum diorama.
Collaborating since 2006, the People Inchoate is a diverse and ever-evolving group of artists formed around a core of female Alberta College of Art and Design graduates. This incarnation finds Camille Betts, Lyndsay Hinds, Maggie Jenkins, Julia Jungwirth, Renee Lazor, Ishmael Oh’Krynski, Mara Pratt, and Denly Smyth McMann ruminating on the concept of taxidermy. Each artist approaches this theme from a distinct viewpoint and expresses her meditations in the medium of her choice.
naTrophy examines taxidermy with one main constraint placed on the artists. All materials used in constructing artwork are limited to those that already pre-exist in the artists’ homes and studios with no new supplies purchased (full disclosure: rumours regarding the purchase of adhesive may be substantiated.) An effort was made to use forgotten or neglected supplies. These ‘ghost’ items have been made visible again. In this way, objects and materials that have lost their ability to be commonly desired are re-examined by the artist; with rediscovered potential, trash is transformed into trophy. What emerges from this experiment is a collection of strangely wonderful creatures pulled from the artists’ adventures and dreams. These are not your average trophies: this is a catalogue of salvaged emblems of mysterious wonderment in nature.
Have you ever wondered what a permablitz looks like? The following is the birth of my garden November 2010. This could not have happened without the love and hard work of the volunteers you see in these photographs. Seventy million thank yous go out to these people. Thank you to Rosanne Visser who braved the cold and took photographs the entire time whilst wearing her long underwear.
Self-Fabricated Excess Baggage: Patterns and Fabrics of our Lives
We live in a society of excess, where items accumulated through consumerism, gift giving, and the packaging that engulfs them, fills our homes. Some of it can be recycled, but what happens to the rest? Discarded, taken to the dump and wasted. A concern for my own excess became the jumping off point of my current series of fabric sculptures. The materials that fill these pieces and bring them to life are hidden. Thin cotton creates a semi-transparent barrier allowing for one to ponder what inhabits the insides. The items within vary from abused highlighter pens, margarine containers, plastic bags to old beans. I consider this a conscious act of re-using materials in order to take responsibility for objects I bring into and discard from my home.
All the fabrics are purchased from second hand stores and many of the items used are found or donated. Currently I select bed sheets, pillow cases, old clothes and other found fabrics that are brightly coloured and have a variety of exciting, cheesy patterns that comment on the visible consumer trends of our lives: in with the new and out with the old. The forms created within the fabric structures have human like qualities, some resembling body parts and organs. These human forms mimic the use of bed sheets: where we house our bodies as we sleep, wrap our bodies when we are cold and sometimes wither away in.
Due to the process of hand sewing every bit of fabric together with a needle and thread, the process of making takes on an obsessive, time-consuming quality. The fabric structures became an extension of myself that I would wrap my arms around in admiration, while at the same time throw down in frustration. In a world pulsating with progress and technology I want to be aware of my materials and be consumed by the lengthy process of not using technology. I consider these forms to be a venturing point towards creating projects that involve the community; to foster a space where artist and folk can interact together, as individuals are encouraged to touch, handle and move all the extensions. As an artist adding to the excess of our society it is important to me to use existing reclaimed materials to create something new and to be aware of the impact these materials have on our fragile environment.