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Details of a summer past

One of the reasons that I am so inspired to blog about my daily dadoodles is that I love to share what I do with like minded souls. Last summer, I spent a week in Haliburton, Ontario, about 3 hours north of here, doing embroidery. The workshop was hosted by Dorothy Caldwell (see some images of hers). I took a batik workshop with her some years ago and am just so blown away by her work and her personality. Then a former studio mate of mine took this one-week stitching workshop with her and I loved the sampler she produced. When I saw the listing for her course at the Haliburton School of Arts, summer schedule, I knew that I had to take it.

I feel the need to preface my stitching work with the fact that I have nerve damage in my right wrist. After years of believing that it was carpal tunnel syndrom, I know now that it is because both my pinky fingers are substantially shorter than “normal”, which means that for years I strained the nerves of my other fingers when carrying stuff. I’m getting bi-weekly treatments now and currently put accupuncture needles into my wrist every night. It’s made a huge difference. So I was worried about how much stitching I could actually get accomplished at the workshop. I was very happily surprised to not have pain. It must help, that I didn’t have a heavy little boy to carry around for a week. I think that most mothers can attest to the fact that our kids continue to strain our bodies after birth, yet I wouldn’t want to miss his closeness and the hugs for anything in the world.

At the workshop, one of the excercises was to make 5 little images depicting a scene of our lives. We were inspired by having beautiful Indian Kanta cloths hanging around us. If you are interested in finding out more about the way that East-Indian women tell stories, check out this link: Kantha. I will upload images of my finished 3 little pieces at a later point. We also had to stitch on a sampler, where we explored stitching. We started out our class by being given a piece of cardstock and being told to start stitiching in the middle on the left side, then do whatever our fancy told us, and end up in the middle on the right side. When we where finished, we lined up all our cards. It was truly astonishing, how each of our personalities where reflected in this one line.

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I will remember this exercise when I teach my next workshop, as I think something similar like this would be wonderful to do with almost any medium. It connects us to our fellow students, as well as shows us our individuality.

The part of the workshop that I was most excited about is the sampler. Here are a few details of the stitching that I did. Even though the workshop was not my first time away from the family since Huxley was born (I’d gone to visit a dear friend in New York in November 2006), it was the first time that I had a chance to just work on an art activity for a concentrated time. Even though I did not at all like the place that I stayed at (kinda a creepy appartment, that had no view, and no happy vibes, but would have been perfectly fine for a batchelor), I spent all my time stitching. I’d get up in the morning, eat some breakfast, then get to school early. I’d be there stitching when everyone arrived. After class, I hooked up with one of the other girls and we’d go down to the lake to stitch. Arriving home at dusk, I’d stitch until 10pm while listening to my I-pod. I only figured out two nights before I left, that I could receive some TV stations (this felt weird, since we don’t watch TV at home, only movies). The best of all was that my hands where able to handle it.

So here, withouth further ado, some details of my sampler:

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Although the sampler has been at the studio since the fall, I had forgotten about it until I started looking for these pictures to share. Now that I have it in front of me again, I am very inspired to work on other pieces that I can then incorporate into my art works. Once the Toronto Art Expo Art Expo 2008 is over, I will definitely work on getting this under way. For now, I’m getting ready to resin coat a selection of work that I am very excited about. Pictures and twitter to follow.

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