Collage In Action

My creative life began from a very early age with play, using everything from crayons and markers to paints and other media. My favourite gift to receive at Christmas or on birthdays was some kind of art kit. I especially loved sand painting kits!

When I was young, I attended a girl’s club in our community – I suppose it was something like CGIT (Canadian Girls in Training) or Girl Guides. There I learned to knit (and continued to be mentored by my expert knitter and paternal Grandmother), embroider (a skill honed by my maternal  Grandmother), sew (often mentored by my aunts), huck-weave, crewel embroider, and crochet (the one thing and never continued). I also learned a variety of other arts and craft techniques using paper, felt, glitter, and glue often making seasonal crafts.

I took home economics through junior and senior high school. Although it wasn’t an option in the 1970s, I likely would have chosen those classes. There I further honed my sewing, knitting, and embroidery skills as well as cooking and baking. Products from those days included a velveteen cat, runners or doilies, a blue corduroy pillow with a brilliant yellow butterfly, a pink gabardine skirt, and funny little knitted elf slippers with pom-poms on the toe and heel…how I never killed myself with those?! I loved a blue sun dress with white polka dots that I sewed on my own! As began to take risks with my creations, I remember knitting several chokers each with a vintage earring as a focal point in the mid-seventies long before vintage was treasured. I was usually proud of my creations and would show off every detail to anyone willing to study the finished products with me—-over and over again!

I continued to create through over the years but things sometimes got in the way. Things like getting married and building a home, moving across the country to start a business–that grew to a very large home health care company, having a son, and returning to school for a PhD in Nursing. Over the years, my creative life took different turns. I did photography, painting, art-journalling, collage, card-making, quilting, and scrapbooking. I have taken a number of courses over the years and where I create has grown from using a simple painted wooden box for my supplies, to a corner, to a room, to now a beautiful studio in my home. I do my happy dance every time I go into my happy place!

My love of stones and sea glass led me to jewelry making. I took a course in gems and crystals to know more about the products I was drawn to. I tend to do what comes naturally to me and feels right for the stones and colours I am working with. I never feel constrained with my jewelry making and tend to go with the flow. Although I follow some basic principles the piece is always a surprise. I have sold a lot of my work (since 2004) and my style continues to evolve. I love working with natural and semiprecious stones. My pieces are on the medium to larger scale, often asymmetrical, unique, and eclectic could all be descriptors of my work.

I also do mixed fibre work, using raw wool, spun wool, and upcycled wool. I love needle felting and hand felting, using wet and dry techniques. I make shawls, ponchos, sweaters, and more with mixed, but mostly wool, fibres. I also incorporate other fibres and findings–jewels, buttons, wood, leather, and other products–into my work.

My creativity and creative thinking informed the arts-based approach I bring to my research – both the production and sharing of knowledge, my teaching, and the workshops I lead. The arts and creative approaches promote a deeper level of thinking. I will share more on this in future posts.