Welcome back, everyone. Sharing images I create during my walks seem to have struck a chord with so many of you blog followers that I have decided to spoil you again today.
Life is ticking along in Parrsboro. And Covid19 has reached our little town for the first time since its reared its ugly head in the rest of the world. The first case was diagnosed on May 7th, just a day after my last post. It sent the community reeling and threw us all back into deep-caution mode. We (Colin and I) were not too worried as we have kept ourselves out of circulation and hardly go anywhere where we could run into people. We are super careful when we go shopping and pick up the mail. We have our little bubble of four. We go for walks and enjoy the arrival of spring. Life hasn’t changed much since we began isolating in early March 2020… I can’t believe we have lived like this for 14 months. I don’t fantasize about life after Covid as I believe it will be with us for a long time. But I won’t let it get me down either. There is so much to be thankful for and as long as I can explore my surroundings and go to the studio to experiment I am pretty much in my happy place.
Speaking about being inspired: About ten days ago I spotted an old afghan (images above) I had created in 1995. It had resurfaced and moved into my field of vision. The afghan was created after pursuing my Master Knitter Certification. I spent months busily knitting 12″ squares following certain rules and prescribed patterns as well as meeting specific criteria to provide proof of proficiency. All squares had to be sent to the evaluator, they were critiqued and I had to redo two or three. But, what does one do with about 48 12″ squares once the certificate is obrained? I sewed them together and for the five years while we owned and operated “The Fiber Hut” store front in Calgary (1996-2001) it adorned the big couch near the book corner. It welcomed countless knitters for Thursday night free knitting help gatherings and added a splash of colour to the store.
Despite it’s colourful addition to the store I found it very heavy, difficult to wash and dry and when we closed our doors to follow new passions the afghan was placed into a storage box. It came out briefly to cover a couch in my studio basement before we moved to Saskatchewan. The past 13+ years it was in storage. Fast forward to 2021: I have enough of dragging along things that are no longer of value to me. The afghan made it to Nova Scotia because the yarn is one of my favourite knitting yarns of all time. It is a cotton merino blend by Brown Sheep Company. At nearly $10 a skein in 1995 I felt it was wasteful to discard the blanket. So, about 10 days ago I had a light bulb moment!
I decided to unravel the yarn and knit a sweater or two with it… I am unraveling the last of the squares today. Then I will weigh the individual colours. What type of sweater will I create? I always wanted to knit an authentic Gansey. Now that we live in Nova Scotia I think it is a fitting project. I checked my book shelf but the original book by Beth Brown-Reinsel was not there… I think it was either sold or I gave it to the embroiderer’s guild in Regina with the many other books I passed on during my big studio sale and purge in 2017. I broke down and ordered the revised edition and I am so happy I did. The book arrived yesterday. It is much expanded from the first edition and I am happy to say it provides countless ideas and even patterns. Anyone who knows me realizes that despite excellent choices and complete patterns I will be designing my own Gansey based on the great information provided. Once the last square is unraveled the design process begins.
I inserted a little “visual break” before I switch the subject.
If life as we knew it had not been interrupted by “the virus” I would be in Germany these days. My niece and god-daughter tied the knot last Friday. With Germany slowly opening up they decided to go ahead and celebrate their nuptials with parents and witnesses only. A church wedding will follow next year in September if all goes well and according to plan. Michelle was so sweet to include us in the day. She and her husband called so we could congratulate them in person.
On other family related news… the grand-kids in BC have not been in touch much lately. The weekly reading sessions with Eliana (where she reads to us in French – neither of us speak it 😉 ) have come to a stand-still. These days she reads to her ducklings which were welcome into the family a little while ago.
We did receive a couple beautiful images of Eliana lately that I feel compelled to share… In the first image she dressed up for school as Maria from “The Sound of Music”. The second image is of her with a growing duckling. I hope both images make it into the annual calendar for next year. Are they not precious?
It’s time to wind it down for today. There a couple new things in the works for me. As you know, I taught my “Layers of Intrigue” workshop on line for the first time. Judging by the feedback the class was very well received and I am so pleased with the work that has come from it. Will I teach it again? Possibly.
Here is what I have learned from 2 x 8 hours teaching on ZOOM: Breaking the workshop into two Saturday sessions was good but I would go as far as breaking it into four 3.5 – 4 hour sessions. Another option would be two 3.5 – 4 hours sessions followed by a full day. I found the second day went well as individual feedback flowed easily and everyone learned a lot from design challenges posed by individual participants. The energy generated was very good and the hours flew by. Stay tuned as I fine-tune the timing of this workshop further. Details will be posted soon on the virtual workshop page.
After much deliberation I have decided that I will stop posting to my daily Miksang&Haiku blog. After four years of posting daily it’s time for a change. I am in the process of finalizing details on a new blog featuring my photography and writing. Details are still a bit nebulous but my targeted date for the first post is scheduled for June 1st. It’s time to shift gears! A new province, home, this rich environment and countless discoveries dictate this positive change. I will post a link to my new blog once it is live. Here are a few images that prompted my decision:
What is it? It’s dried up kelp found on the beach. Moving in I felt like I was opening a book to turn ancient pages… so many ideas and thoughts came flooding in that I had to follow nature’s prompt!
I hope you have enjoyed today’s update. Before I close I want to share the following image I found on line the other day. I felt it was worth sharing.
Why did it catch my eye? For several reasons: I often get asked if I would come out with my camera to do a photo shoot and if it fits my schedule and I at least get some recognition by crediting me as the artist I am usually fine with that. The last time I was approached by a friend of the a sculptor and it was a bitter cold day. I was told that I could not post the images… but I was also not compensated for my time, both to attend the photo shoot and later while I touched up the images. Credit was never given when at least one image was forwarded to the local TV station for the “image of the day” challenge. It was a grey day with flat light and it took some time to process the pictures. This was not the first time I was asked to contribute my skills and I often wondered how to be better prepared to set certain standards and not feel exploited. The poster above has helped me prepare for future situations…
Expectations like the one in the last paragraph have been voiced in my teaching life as well. These days I am approached to present a talk via ZOOM. Most groups that approach me don’t question my lecture fee and happily pay it. However, some groups feel I should present for free. The reason cited: I should be happy to get the exposure as surely people will remember me once the pandemic is behind us and they will then hire me to teach… Honestly, I don’t believe that. And who says I want to start traveling in tight airplanes while lugging art in my suitcase for a trunk show in some distant city any time soon? Covid has changed my thinking and I am not alone.
I just cannot offer my presentations or workshops free of charge. It would be greatly unfair to the groups that compensate me for my time and experience. My presentations are well researched, they include one or more educational angles for those who attend. I am always happy to answer questions and provide additional information and suggestions to individuals. I would not offer these presentations if I did not have the experience to back up my information. I am a member of the “lifelong learners club” and those who have joined that particular club know that while it takes commitment and stamina we also always strive to add to our knowledge base to be better mentors.
If you know me you recognize my willingness to volunteer. I have no issues with that at all. I spent two Festival of Words Festivals in Moose Jaw as a volunteer photographer recording the events and submitting well over 1,500 photographs each time. Together with a friend and fellow photographer we gather virtually with Contemplative Photographers from across the country once or twice a month. My paid ZOOM subscription affords us to meet without interruption. We don not charge for our time. We delight in recognizing growth in individuals and love to encourage the members in general.
I’ll leave it at that. What are your thoughts? Please weigh in by leaving a comment or start a discussion in the comment section below.
Stay safe and explore your own creativity!
Check back soon for more, Anna
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Hi Anna, I always enjoy reading this blog. It provides beautiful images of your photographs, thought provoking questions and news ideas. It makes my day better.
I am so glad to hear about what you you are doing with the afghan. That will add to our conversation next Tue.
The article you reposted about people asking you to do things is very helpful. So often we are caught flat footed without a quick gracious response to an invitation. So many folk don’t see artists time and expertise as valuable. They often have no idea about what all kinds of art contribute to the country’s GDP.
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Thanks for your feedback and support, Elinor.
The deconstructed afghan is slowly taking shape… Hopefully, I have enough yarn to complete the Gansey I am working on.
You are a very valuable person with a wonderful talent that you have studied and developed. Do not give it away without recognition and reimbursement. You spent a lot of funds studying and practicing to develop your art. You are a professional. The same as any other professional. People pay to have a massage, fix their body, decorate their home, etc. So should you and I support you for every thing you charge. You are very well known and don’t need to give your time to gain exposure. But in the meantime, I love reading your blogs and looking at your beautiful photographs so I am a bit of a hypocrite.
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Hi Johanna, the blog has always been one of my volunteer contributions. It takes time and effort and I don’t post as often as I used to… but I am not ready to give it up. Each year at renewal time I do some soul searching and check my bank account but I consider the domain renewal cost an advertising expense. The blog also holds me accountable and keeps my writing muscle somewhat flexed. Thanks for your heartfelt expression! I truly appreciate your continued support. Hope you are well! Anna
How disheartening that groups think you should be happy to do presentations for free. I often wonder who runs these organizations and what other ‘mischief’ they get up to. I’m sure some of my patterns are copied and distributed too. I’ll keep your ‘slide’ for some perfect responses although I’m not doing online presentations or teaching right now. Lots to keep me busy – designing new patterns, more sewing than I’ve done for a while and, unfortunately, my aged mother who needs lots of attention.
Keep well – so glad you are in wonderful Nova Scotia. When we visited there a few years ago I felt it was such a wonderful place that supports The Arts well!
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Daphne, this is nothing new and I am surprised you have not encountered expectations like this in your long career. It was always a struggle to find a proper statement so I would not resent the job at hand I was “Volun-told” to execute. I feel much better prepared after finding the poster.
I am glad you are keeping busy and well. Aging parents with health issues (or in my case my husband) provide us with additional challenges that will keep us vigilant and better organized so we get all the tasks done throughout the day.
Good to hear from you! Waving at you from across the country, from one coast to another! Anna