I attended a wonderful workshop yesterday given by artist Lori Weidenhammer. Lori’s workshops are part of the CULTIVATE exhibition at the Roundhouse.
Lori has been researching honeybees and native pollinators for more than 6 years. She knows about bees, she knows about gardening and plant species. She has an incredible aesthetic sense and a serious commitment to community education. This is the second time I’ve participated in one of Lori’s workshops (cf my post here August 4, 2013 “free fall”). I enjoy learning about the environment from Lori and I enjoy the art making that is an integral component of her workshops. Yesterday we made handmade paper into which we embedded flower petals and seeds. The paper will be made into little cards that can be given away as gifts. They are beautiful on their own. More importantly though, the embedded seeds can be planted in the garden–a small encouragement to help our native pollinators!
Lori spoke about the need for evidence on the relationship of honeybees, our native pollinators and the availability of forage. How much forage do honeybees need? Is there aggressive competition between honeybees and other pollinators? Are we favoring honeybees to the detriment of solitary bees and other native pollinators that are also in serious trouble? Should honeybees be treated like pigs and chickens, ie. food sources, or should bees have a different status? Important questions.
The festivities at Sunset Community Centre were fantastic, and despite the iffy weather, the day was very well attended. From face painting, to jungle gyms, to performances, to food, to a fantastic mapping project by “Something Collective,” there was something fun to do and see for everyone in the family.
Our ephemeral maple leaf project went very well. We had lots of interested participants, and it was a pleasure to engage our visitors in this drawing project.The tiny drawings and messages are absolutely stunning! I’m posting a few of rose petals here and some images of our participants working intently on their designs.
By the end of the day, our fantastic assistants, Bal and Gourvir, had placed well over a thousand inscribed rose petals into our giant maple leaf (10′ x 10′ without the stem).
Many thanks go to the incredible Arts and Culture Programmer, Cyndy Chwelos for her unfailing support and amazing willingness to try different things. Thanks are due also to my partner, Victor Guy for being so helpful and welcoming to everyone who passed by our tables. Thanks also to our young volunteers for giving their time. And last of all, thank you to everyone of our participants who helped in creating this maple leaf.
I will be participating at Sunset Community Centre on July 1. Thanks to the fantastic Program Director, Cyndy Chwelos, we will be creating a giant, collaborative, maple leaf sculpture outside on the grounds of the community centre, with the help of community members and visitors to the Canada Day Celebrations. That’s Sunday, July 1, 12:00 – 4:00pm. The maple leaf will be made entirely out of incribed rose petals. Each participant will be asked to incribe his/her first name or initials and birthdate on a rose petal. Or, just a pattern or a design can be created on the petal if so desired. Each participant will then place the petal(s) into the already prepared maple leaf outline (made out of rose stems). It should be fun and if we’re lucky, great visually, given its 10′ x 10′ size, especially against the green of the lawns. And of course, made of out natural material, it will be ephemeral and totally environmentally friendly. Will the gods of weather cooperate?
I participated in the DrawDown again this year, this time at the Kensington Community Center. It was a great deal of fun. We had lots of visitors of all ages, and everyone was happy to roll up their sleeves and try the art activities! We did monoprint bugs, flags with good wishes written on them, stencil drawings, hand prints, geometric and contour drawings. Bravo to all the visitors who participated and to the fantastic program director of Kensington, as well as the super helpers who volunteered their time to make this day easy and engaging for everyone!
Keeping in the spirit of the Vancouver Draw Down Finale, Shannon Browne, the owner/curator of the Artemis Studio/Gallery in Deep Cove, and I, offered a day of free, fun-filled drawing activities on Saturday, July 23rd. It was a beautiful day, and we had a great time greeting visitors as they came into the gallery, chatting with them and encouraging them to participate in our no-skills-required drawing activities. It is thanks to the incredible artists Elizabeth MacKenzie, Cindy Mochizuki and Arts Programmer, Cyndy Chwelos that Shannon and I were inspired to follow their fantastic project and offer this day of fun, drawing and sharing!
I’ve started looking closely at another essay by Jean-Luc Nancy (from The Ground of the Image). Entitled “The Visitation,” the essay is based on a mannerist painting by Jacopo Pontormo (1528-29) which depicts the Biblical tale of a meeting between Mary, the mother of Christ and Elizabeth her cousin. A visitation – and encounter of family and friendship between two women, and a sharing (in this case of a religious miracle).
Nancy states that the term visitation in its Latin religious form means more than a physical encounter, rather it is a space of experience, of learning and awareness. Therefore, I want to begin the work on this new essay with two recent sharings of my own, visitations (in studio) with my friends, Elizabeth MacKenzie, Cyndy Chwelos and Nina Chwelos. For me, the ability to discuss my work is a crucial part of the art-making process. The studio-visit experience is always informative, thought provoking and productive, even when hard questions are asked. I see constructive criticism as a generous act because it requires the person viewing the art work to give not only of their time and attention but also of their knowledge, their experience and their aesthetic sensibilities. And when someone gives of themselves to such a degree, their responses require attention and serious consideration in return. Honesty is often not easy, but crucial for growth. So, in gratitude for their time and willingness to share, for their constant support and friendship in life and in art-making, I thank you, Elizabeth, Cyndy and Nina.