Booking Myself for 2015

by Leanne on December 2, 2014 · 0 comments

in Speaking Engagements

Pieces

I’ve been offline the last couple of weeks as I’ve been tidying, and brainstorming, and sketching out some NEW (to be revealed next year) projects, which take a certain amount of quiet time alone to develop. Yesterday I finally cleaned up my linen closet, which sounds boring, but was actually a revelation for me. I received an advance notice of rent increase from my landlord last week, which reminded me that I’ve been in my current apartment for 10 months. It feels like I moved in about six weeks ago, so organizing the closet and getting rid of my last unpacked boxes really felt good. I’m looking forward to 2015 with less clutter and more time to make things without following a specific schedule.

Since making a dress from Sonya Philips’ 100 Acts of Sewing last month, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of making clothing again. I really love the idea of a uniform of one flattering dress made in a bunch of different fabrics. I adore clothes, but as I got older and my life becomes busier, what I really enjoy is not having to think too much about what to wear. My closet purge has me thinking a lot about simplicity and having less but better choices (which is somewhat ironic, as while I’ve really whittled down my personal possessions in the last few years, I actually made my first Black Friday purchase ever this year – a serger, to help me sew clothing). I’m intending to start sewing on a regular basis this year. I’m pretty excited that Colette Patterns has introduced a new magazine called Seamwork, that focuses on projects that can be sewn in 2-3 hours. I’ve been a big fan of their work for some time, I’m looking forward to see what else they come up with for projects.

And in book life, I’ve agreed to participate in a couple of events in 2015, including a new art and textile conference called Pieces: Celebrating Textiles, which will take place in Courtenay, BC this coming March.

Pieces: Celebrating Textiles is an event that focuses on the creativity involved in hand work, new ways of using materials and Slow Fashion. Pieces offers a tapestry of lively discussions, demonstrations, fashion show offs and vendors, complemented by makers, musings, mending, food, and more. I’ll be speaking on storytelling & textiles on March 29th. To register and learn more, visit the Pieces: Celebrating Textiles website.

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Sharon Kallis Common Threads

I recently received a copy of Sharon Kallis’ Common Threads (New Society Publishers*), a new book on creating community-based eco art installations. Focusing on empowering readers to rethink landscape art and its purpose, this book is a study in how we have traditionally used park land and green spaces, and provides suggestion for new ways to think about  ‘greening’ the landscape.

Sharon Kallis Mothers Dresses

Sharon Kallis’ Mothers Dresses. Final Resting Place of Kells, Kilkenny Ireland. Magnolia left skeletons, organza. Image from Sharon Kallis’ website.

Common Threads uses Kallis’ projects as an eco-artist as a starting point. It details her collaborative projects with urban residents throughout city parks, many of them here in Vancouver. In these eco-works, Kallis reuses what we traditionally consider waste – hair clippings, animal fur, organic debris, and fallen waste.

One of my favourite parts of the book is how she details her work with invasive species such as yellow iris or blackberries, which are typically ripped from the landscape, which she has braided together into artwork which will eventually break down, turning into mulch for other plants.

Sharon Kallis Ivy Boat

Sharon Kallis Ivy Boat

Full of interviews with artists, landscape designers, basket bombers, urban flax growers, graveyard celebrations, and community activists – there is a lot of inspiration here. Detailing how one might build their team with eco-interventionists of researchers, artists, connectors , and municipal champions, Common Threads also contains a whole section that outlines the basic techniques a burgeoning eco-warrior might need, such as simple weaving and braiding. And, there are also health cautions for working with poisonous plants, and suggestions for dealing different types of weeds. It is smartly put together.

While most of the book is in black and white, I’m glad that the publisher did include one section of coloured photographs of the works, as these are the images that truly do the artwork justice. If I could make one criticism, it would be that I wish that the entire book could have been printed in colour because the projects are truly beautiful and the book is photo-heavy.

Sharon Kallis, with community. Ephemeral Mosaic.

Ephemeral Mosaic. Made of salvaged flowers post day of the dead festival made by community members (year unknown)

Common Threads is a good primer to eco-art and the inherently political nature of making art with the land with our current environment. With an eye to impermanence in art as a way to dissolve barriers among people and make a statement, Kallis asks in her introduction, “How do we produce, consume and relate to the things we use in our daily lives? How can we be enriched both personally and as a community when we shift our thinking to allow the time for, once again, making for ourselves?

This book provides many compelling reasons as to why we should make collaborative art in an era of excess. I’d highly recommend curling up with it on your next quiet Saturday afternoon.

*Full disclosure: Sharon’s publicist sent this book to me free of charge but I was not paid for this review. 

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Simple DIY: Six Word Short Story Bracelets

November 11, 2014

A photo posted by Leanne Prain (@leanneprain) on Sep 9, 2014 at 9:34pm PDT This weekend I decided to spend equal times working (e.g.: digging myself out from mountains of email) and playing (getting out my old sewing machine). While the garment that I sewed myself was not perfect (hello, wrinkly hem!), I have to […]

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East Coast Book Tour – Wrap Up

November 5, 2014

Our epic book tour came to a close tonight, with free cake from our bartender. I can’t believe that it is over. I am going to miss @kpwerker & @craftivista so much! #dc #Washington A photo posted by Leanne Prain (@leanneprain) on Oct 10, 2014 at 8:59pm PDT Phew, has it really been three weeks since my […]

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Thumbnail image for Chat with me!

Chat with me!

October 24, 2014

Let’s talk about fibre, textiles, gender, craftivism, design, art, high-brow vs low-brow, and story-telling of all sorts! This Sunday, October 26th, I will be the guest artist/author at FibreArts Now online chat FANFARE! I hope you’ll joining editor Cami Smith and I for a lively discussion, and I will be answering questions live via the […]

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