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Assignment One – Mark Making and Line

Oh man, it’s taken me FOREVER to finally sit down, photograph my submissions and post them. Not exactly expeditious on my part (so embarrassing) but I’m often reminded that forward motion is still motion. So after many months of not actually doing any work (avoiding it, actually), I am now at the point where I’m ready to submit my first works for review by my tutor, Neil Musson.

The below drawings are the result of exploring mark making and line studies from Part One of the Foundations Textiles course at OCA. I’m deeply apprehensive of letting anyone see this work because from my point of view, the work is dull and not all that great. I’m hopeful that my tutor will look upon my submissions with more objectivity and maybe even a kinder narrative. Stay tuned.

Notes to Neil: Learning log pages to date will accompany this submission below.

Right hand Faber Castell soft brush

 

Wool locks handmade brush India Ink

 

Yarn handmade brush India Ink

 

White wax crayon resist, Black India ink wash

 

White wax crayon marks, 6B Graphite gently rubbed to reveal marks

 

Tombow marker

 

India Ink

 

Left Hand India Ink with Toothpick

Learning Log Entries for work done up to this submission:

 

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Nice knowin’ ya, summer.

Wow, summer came and went in a damned hurry, didn’t it? You know as sad as I am to see summer leaving us, I’m always so inspired by this time of year. We’ve spent weeks (months?) goofing around outdoors, filling up on fresh air and vitamin D and now that it’s September, it’s time to hunker down and get back to work. Maybe even spring for some new pencils or even those smelly markers just for fun.

This summer, after an inspiring stay in Inuvik for the Great Northern Arts Festival, I returned home with more ideas than I could realistically chase. But now that some time has passed, I’ve sifted through them and settled on a few that have me delightfully busy.

You see, my lovely partner, George is a trapper and I am so honoured and proud to be buying all of his furs to use in my handcrafted jewelry and soon… accessories. A few Pop-up shops at the tail end of summer have shown me how much everyone loves our gorgeous local furs and now that both Johnson’s Crossing Lodge gift shop and Whoa Bear in Carcross (soon to have a boutique in Whitehorse!) are carrying my work, I’ll have plenty of places where folks can fine me and the furs. In the coming months, I’ll be working on larger pieces but I can’t spoil the surprise as to what they might be. You’ll just have to stick around and find out.

I am gladly doing research into furrier training so I can build on my existing skill set to do more with these glorious pelts. I can’t tell you how much I love doing this work and how grateful I am to be supported in doing it. If you’ve yet to make it to one of my Pop-ups, note they are at The Claim from 9-5 every first Tuesday of the month. I take visa/mastercard but of course, there’s always the online store.

If you don’t find what you’re looking for, message me an I can probably make something especially for you.

Thank you for sharing your time with me and thank you for your ongoing support. I couldn’t be happier with being able to do this work. I am richly blessed.

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Overwhelmed and inspired

Friends, this has been such a challenging year. I have so many irons in the fire and I’m honestly going in a million directions at once. My textile degree is slowly moving forward (summer was a huge source for delay) but I’ve had an incredibly fulfilling season of travel, making, and inspiration. I attended the Great Northern Arts Festival in July in Inuvik, NWT. I was in attendance as a tapestry weaver but something told me to bring along my fish leather from Iceland. I had also brought along my jewelry making tools and findings which turned into some seriously sleepless nights and making of new jewelry that is now listed here on my website available for purchase. While at the festival, I also earned the honour of People’s Choice for Jewelry Design. This was a solid indicator that I was onto something with this jewelry.

I’ve also raided my partner’s personal stash of furs – he’s a trapper – and this has led me to make some really beautiful, simple jewelry items. I have experimented with wolf and lynx fur and have plans to explore making with fox, beaver, marten (sable), and rabbit – maybe even wolverine! Birch bark and porcupine quills have made their way into the collection as well.

I can’t quite put my finger on where all of my energy comes from but I suspect it’s how I am managing many of my life’s stresses – channelling them into creativity and productivity. If only there was a way to weave in my sleep! Oh, and speaking of weaving, can I tell you a little bit about the Ravenstail robe I’m weaving for my partner?! I spun the Chilkat warp (two ply with cedar bark spun into it) for the robe – all 1000 yards of it! And on July 1, at the Adäka Festival, I put all of that warp onto my brand new loom that the aforementioned partner literally whipped up that morning. Aside from a month of art/music festivals and travel, I have been working diligently on the robe. It is certainly slow going as the weft (horizontal weavers) are sock/fingering weight yarn ( read: skinny AF).

Keep an eye on my Instagram and Facebook feeds for progress photos. I’m loving every minute that I spend making and am delighted that I am able to do so.

Just about to insert the black 3-stranded twining yarns!

 

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Getting the hang of it

So it’s been over two decades since I was a student. Yeah, I attempted to do distance education in my early twenties (with no success) and again in my thirties (again with no success) but those pursuits were not as inspiring as what I’m committed to now. I’m currently enrolled in the Foundations in Textiles course which precedes the full-on Bachelor of Arts degre in Textiles that I’m absolutely going for. I can’t wait to make time for the course work and am honestly over the moon with the process of exploring and learning.

In our course materials, we’re tasked with keeping a learning log to record our thoughts and insights, ideas and apprehensions about the process of learning. As a lifelong journaller, this absolutely lit me up. I scoured town to find a spiral bound sketchbook that I could use for my log and have spent the last few weeks getting accustomed to making habitual entries. Suffice to say I’m still working on making it habitual but it is definitely fun and as I go through my day, I’m making mental notes of which elements I want to document in my Learning Log.

(note: I will be uploading the entries to the log in my posts so that my tutor who is in the UK can view them. By all means, read them and enjoy but if they seem lame, dull, or just too damned many pages, sorry. I need to keep a digital record somewhere.)

      

So my first exercise was to make a series of marks prompted by some very exciting adjectives using a bunch of my new (yay!) art supplies. That was a fun experience. I noticed how the materials felt on the paper and in my hands. I also noted how the various media sounded and even smelled. That was an unexpected multi-sensory experience!!

      

Of course, once I’d started working, I wanted to just make marks all day but alas, adulting called and I had to pack up the fun and make dinner. So some time has passed since that exercise and I’ve attended evening talks and daytime meetings, I made a short film with friends and attended the screening. In other words, I’m DYING to get back to my assignments!

I’ve gotten more regular with my Learning Log entries and am enjoying having art supplies on hand all the time to record my ideas. In colour!

     
The best part about the sketch at the bottom of the page above is that while on a video chat with another textile artist in Hamburg, Germany, I showed him my sketch and he showed me that he’d doodled the same exact shape during our call. We immediately got excited and all fired up as artists are wont to do.

In preparation for the next assignment, I’ve created a few “paintbrushes” from materials in my stash. I will also have a look in the recycling bin to see which materials in there can be used as “quills” or “nibs” with India ink. Update to follow.

So today, I get to experiment with handmade tools and making marks with new methods. So exciting! Then an afternoon of weaving and creativity in my residency space downtown. I am seriously living the very best life. I couldn’t be happier.

Tell me what cool, challenging creative things you’re up to. I want to know ALL about it!!

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Eudaimonia – Human Flourishing

At the beginning of every year, I choose a word to guide me rather than making resolutions. Last year, my word was Meraki (google it. It’s a winner) and while I was pondering a word I have a strong connection to – light – as being my word for the year, this delicious word popped up. I think there’s something extra special about the richness of a word like this. I like that it’s not part of everyday vernacular but that it also says so much. I think that the definition of this word speaks to my personal goals every year but I’m pretty sure I had no idea there was one word that said it all. I can’t imagine a better state of being that would beat being happy, healthy, and prosperous. Don’t you think?

This is the image that I have for my Facebook cover on my personal page and I selected the background image because it’s Vík in South Iceland (a stock image, not one of mine) and if you’ve ever met me, you know I have a serious love affair with Iceland. Seeing the Icelandic landscape stirs something in me and I like that.

 

I think that this tradition of choosing a word at the beginning of the year says a lot about intention. I’m a big believer in setting intention and in the power of putting thought into words and the remarkable things that can happen when a little focus is put in one direction. I’ve seen it work too many times to ever doubt it. For me, this act of choosing a word is a new year tradition that only serves to benefit me and I’m pretty excited to see how this word benefits my life. Stay tuned!

 

Do you choose a word for yourself? What word did you choose for yourself? I’d love to know. Tell me your word and why you chose it in the comments!

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Time to get makin’

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be working in this glorious space in Downtown Whitehorse. My friend, Emma Barr is an exceptional landscape painter and for the duration of her stay in Nigeria, I’m making the most of her otherwise unoccupied gallery space. I have a spot for my textile work in progress as well as a portion of wall space to display my weavings.

 

I’m treating this as a typical residency where I eat, sleep, and breathe my work. I wake up, do yoga, eat breakfast and head to the studio. I can spend eight hours in this space every day happily spinning and weaving while only barely noticing the passage of time. Yes, it’s my idea of heaven.

 

Today, I spun up two singles of merino (one single was spun with cedar bark) and plied them together for Chilkat warp for my partner, George’s Ravenstail robe that I intend to start soon. I was pretty thrilled to have this particular batch of warp turn out the way it did. I was hoping that by spinning it on the smaller whorl than usual would come closer to replicating the traditional thigh-spun warp that is normally used for Chilkat and Ravenstail weaving. Once this has rested overnight, I’ll wind it into a skein and then I’ll be taking it home and giving it a good soak to set the twist. Let’s hope that a wee bit of fulling will keep it from unravelling when I cut it for weaving!

 

And during my hours upon hours of spinning, I took my newest pair of Ginger jeans for a spin (see what I did there?!). I already have a few pairs of them and they are in heavy rotation in my very limited, mostly me-made wardrobe. I wanted a new pair that fit me just right and boy, do they ever! I used a lightweight stretch denim that I bought at Fabric.com and while my sewing machine and serger both gave me no shortage of attitude (complete with 6 broken needles!) and the whole project took several hours longer than anticipated, I’m really delighted with how they turned out. Just enough stretch that my booty looks as good at the end of the day as it does at the beginning.

And I think I finally have myself organized to begin working on my University courses. I have numerous pens, paint brushes, paints, markers, and sketch books to keep me busy for a long time to come. I will begin my Learning Log perhaps tonight or tomorrow with my coffee. I’m excited to begin recording my thoughts and discoveries as I embark on this new journey.  I hope to have a few pages to share and keep a digital record of within the next week or so, so if that sort of academic nerdery turns you on, then just hang onto your wig because shit’s about to get real!

 

Do you have any amazing/daunting/inspiring creative projects in the works? Tell me about them (Brooke, I know I can count on your participation here)

 

flourishing human

Vanessa

 

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The beginning

I have been a blogger for what feels like a million years. I first began blogging almost fifteen years ago. Every time I start a new website or blog, it feels like coming home. Me and this text editor window, we go WAY back.

So here we are again. Another new year, another new website. This time, I even have a new name to bring a new layer of complication. You may have known my work as Vanessa Falle. Last December, I decided to create a new name and new version of self that included an unpronounceable, unspellable last name. It means “Daughter of the King of the Sea”. I’d say that’s about as cool as a name could possibly be. If you want to take a stab at pronounciation – try “eye-yurs-daughter” and you’d be pretty dang close.

On this website, you’ll find two separate galleries of work. One showcases my lifelong passion of making textiles with my hands and the other highlights my love of people – relationships, to be specific. I also intend to add another gallery to hold copies of my school assignments. You see, I’ve long dreamed of getting a degree but never found one that fit. Not long after changing my name, I also found the perfect degree program. It’s a BA (hons.) in Textiles and it’s online. The school is called Open College for the Arts and it’s accredited through the University for Creative Arts in Farnham, UK. Self directed, online, and specifically in textiles. Absolutely perfect.

Of course, I will probably take several years in earning this degree but I’m delighted to be taking the initial steps. This is something I’ve imagined since I was a kid. I’m moderately terrified, adequately intimidated, and thoroughly excited. Paying for the first round of education was my Christmas gift to myself. I am incredibly humbled to be able to pursue this dream after a year and a half of absolute misery.

So stay with me as I embark on this interesting new journey of continuing to make art both in textiles and in photography while earning my degree. Phew!