Jun 17, 2017

Grandma Has Arrived !

Finally, my grandmother, Esther Irene Deacon Currie, has arrived after almost a year in waiting !
She has been very patient with me and suffered through several cosmetic surgeries to get her recognition. Yesterday a photo of her was sent to Gallery Stratford for her place in the Connections Fibre Artists new show 'Running With Fibre'. The new show opens July15th and, although she won't be running, she will take her place alongside 25 other, fabulous pieces of fibre art.
'Rena', as she was known, rinsed, stretched and blocked to dry
Esther Irene Deacon Currie 1902 - 1961
Now, my intention is to do my mother next in this '4 shades of grey, posterized' look that I have so enjoyed doing. After that I will start on my 3 daughters ... and, if all goes well, my 6 grand daughters ! Sounds a little ambitious, I know ! Then, if I have time, I will do a portrait of my sister, her daughter and little gr.daughter.  
I'd like to document the fact that all these women share a common mtDNA sequence ~ a sequence that is documented to be 20,000 years old ... that's a long way back ! ... but passed down from mother to daughter all the way. (sons have their mother's mtDNA but do not pass it on ... interesting, eh ?!!

May 9, 2017

Quite Surreal

It isn't very often that like a photo of myself, but recently, at our opening of ARTeFACTS ~ Connections to Wellington County, a dear friend happened to take that one photo that I actually love !
I wish I looked glamourous and younger, but I've finally accepted the fact that 'cripes, I'm no spring chicken ... nearly 70' !! And, in my new opinion, not looking too bad for 11 mos. short of 70, still standing and still waking up on this side of the dirt.
Margaret Davidson Deacon and her gr.granddaughter, Sharron Deacon Begg
In this photo, I am standing beside my 'posterized' threadpainting of my great grandmother, Margaret Davidson Deacon.
It feels quite surreal ... me and my maternal gr.grandmother, who had died 32 yrs before I was born, and now we are standing here side by side. The original photo of Margaret was probably taken when she married in 1901 and the photo above was taken Apr, 23, 2017 ... a difference of 106 years !! Very surreal.

When I am doing my portraits, I get to know them fairly well ... or, I imagine I do ! 
I research the clothing ... in this case, Margarets photo was probably taken on her wedding day, her costume was popular 20 yrs. earlier, so I deduced that she is probably wearing her mother's wedding dress. They were farmers and knew how to adjust, renew, renovate and make do.
She lived only 36 yrs. and had 7 children ... all seven I knew well as a child and I know most of their stories. 
As I sketch, erase, resize and re-draw, then trace onto water-soluble, I think about that person constantly, imagining what her life was like, how she felt, how she loved. I mull over all kinds of scenarios and ask all kinds of questions ...  and I swear they are in the room answering and helping me get my facts straight ;)
I am very familiar with the county she lived in and where the original home was. I have collected stories of her, her husband Sam & families ... I know her ! 
What is, also, so very important to me is that we share the same mitochondrialDNA. We have a very strong connection ... one that, scientifically, was handed down from mother to daughter over the last 20,000 yrs. I can hear a few scoffs, but that's OK ;) This is such an exciting, scientific time we live in.

As you know, I have been working on my next portrait ... of Margaret's oldest daughter Esther Irene Deacon (previous post). She is all done except for removing the water-soluble, blocking and drying the wet, 'posterized' portrait. I will have photos to show you in a few days ... just as soon as I figure out what iPhoto Library has done with all mu pics. !

Apr 20, 2017

Introducing Esther Irene Deacon Currie ~ In Progress

Esther Irene Deacon was 13 years old when her mother passed away eleven days after giving birth to her seventh child. Excuse me if I am repeating myself. Esther is my third 'posterized', abstracted thread portrait in a line of, hopefully, six such portraits (or more).

some cosmetic surgery required beside her mouth and her cheek
sewing surgeon tools

Esther is my maternal grandmother, the sweetest little woman I ever knew. 
I didn't know her long as I was 13 yrs. old when she died of a heart attack in 1961. 
Esther was a farmers daughter and while her three little sisters were sent away to be raised by paternal aunts, she was kept on the farm to cook and help raise her 3 brothers ... at 13 !! I can't even begin to imagine the hardships she experienced.
At the age of 16, while helping a pregnant neighbour, Esther became versed in the art of mid-wifery. Word of mouth stories abound of the local doctor who usually arrived late and 'in his cups' when he was needed the most. The local women soon started calling Esther in advance of their impending births. Esther birthed a lot of babies in the county during her lifetime. 
She was very musical, as were all her brothers and sisters. Pianos, fiddles, banjos, juice harps (Jew's harp, jaw harp, mouth harp and/or Ozark Harp) vocals and whistling were their instruments.
Esther married my grandfather James Harold Currie, (the older brother of her best friend) when he came back from WWI. They had 4 daughters, 2 of which were still born. Her youngest daughter is going to be 83 yrs. old this August. 
Her oldest daughter, my mother, died in 1985. 
James Harold died in 1987 ... he was one month short of his 90th birthday.

Apr 12, 2017

New Show !

Connections Fibre Artists have a new show !  
Working closely with the Wellington County Museum & Archives, the group has chosen an item (or two) from the museum's extensive archives, and in celebration of Canada's 150th Birthday have made complimentary pieces of fibre work. A must see !

I am very excited about this show and can hardly wait to see what marvels the group has come up with.
For my part, my strong interest in inherited old photos, and the lives these stoic faces led, prompted my desire to bring some of the museum's portraits out ... as well as the cameras that took them. 
Below - In this new show I felt that my portrait of my gr.grandmother was a perfect fit and she was finished in plenty of time.
Margaret Davidson Deacon
I had already started my 'posterized' black, 2 shades of gray and white thread portraits with my own posterized mug shot. This portrait is currently traveling and is in Thunder Bay
Sharron Elizabeth Deacon Begg
Following on quickly on the heels of these two portraits is the portrait, in same style, of my grandmother ... in progress.

Mar 12, 2017

full size ...  14"x17".
 Right off the hop, I apologize for the poor photography. Natural light is at a premium today and my 'photo shop' skills are almost non-existant ... but Ive tried ;)
This finished ink is my dear friend, Donna, and represents she and her 5 sisters.

 The ink below is totally finished now ... a few close-ups. 
It was quite daunting to work on this size, but I'm warming up to it. 
Again, poor photos. I am due for a new camera soon.

You have seen 'Maragaret Davidson Deacon' before ... she needed a small revision. She will be in a show next month and needed a bit of a border (as if she was framed). Margaret will be hanging next to other old photos from the late 1800's, early 1900's with a few old cameras placed near by. 
Our local museum is trotting out artifacts to highlight our (Canada) 150th anniversary. Connections Fibre Artists are creating fibre pieces to showcase 'old-timey' artifacts ... everything from chamber pots to one-room school house desks ... should be fun !  The show is entitled ARTefacts ... more info to follow.
 So, Margaret has her 'frame' and is pinned to dry.

ps. Margaret's daughter, Esther Irene Deacon Currie, is drawn and traced onto water-soluble ... to be placed under the needle next :)

Feb 5, 2017

I think I'm back on track ... at least the desire is there ;) !!
These trees are just 2 of 6 that I will be drawing in ink on a very latge, very white, blank, 14"x17" pce of drawing paper.  I'm excited, hence the preview of trees. 
Did I mention ? did you know ?  how much I like black & white ? My client wants to represent herself and her 5 sisters as a row of trees, in B/W, with smaller, young trees growing up, around and between them, representing their offspring ;). She has been a doll waiting on me and now is the time.

It's been a long dry spell this time ... almost 8 mos. of very little creative energy !!! Very Scary ! 
I know that one of the biggest reasons has been my eyes  ... I have been seeing an opthamologist for 2 years and after all the 'try this, don't do that, 'ctscan sees nothing wrong behind the eye', etc., etc., I finally took the bull by the horns, and got on the internet, typed in Rheumatoid Arthritis & dry eyes and came up Sjogrens Syndrome (pronounced Showgrins) ! Anybody ever heard of this ?? There is an mazing number of people affected by this, mainly women. And no one doing research on it ! The only suggestion is to relieve symptoms with artificial tears :(.  I have hopes pinned on getting an appointment with an eye institute soon. Surely there will be someone there who has more knowledge about this.

I would like to announce a traveling show that I am a part of ... 'Fibrations' ... I have some new pages on the website ! All the artists in the show, all the Artist statements ... good reading ! right here ! http://fibrations.org/fibre2016.php

Well, I finally get around to posting a little news as I prepare for a few more house-sitting jobs ... should have that drawing done by the beginning of April :)

Thank you to all of you who still respond to my paltry posts ... I hope to pay more attention and I plan to get reading what you are all up to in 2017 ;)

Jan 19, 2017

94 Years Ago !

Hello and Happy New Year !!  I hope wonderful art for all of you this year ! And for me, too ;)

This post doesn't really have much to do with art but it is of another subject close to my heart. 
Years ago I started to collect and compile notes on the many branches of my family. Wow ! We are the combination of so many others !!!  
Very soon, though, I became over-whelmed by the drawer full of written notes, computer print-offs, old photos, copies of emails from long, lost cousins, etc.  Daunting stuff when it came to compiling my burgeoning drawer into a comprehensive document. I jst couldn't get to the job at hand.
But last Novemeber I got the push required to get my butt in gear and start the process. My American cousin was writing his memoirs and I felt he needed to have the facts of his Canadian heritage ;) So, I got involved tackling the many boxes of photos, letters and keepsakes that I have been fortunate to inherit. This is where something fabulous and fascinating came to my attention !
In my grandfathers' box was a large envelope that contained a lock of hair,  and a dried bridal bouquet and boutiniere !! And so well preserved after almost 94 yrs !
Grandmother's 3 Red Carnations with white & pink satin ribbons
Grandfathers' Boutiniere 
detail of pink & ivory satin ribbons ribbons

The dried flowers are my grandmothers bridal bouquet and my grandfathers boutiniere from the day they were married March 13, 1923, when she was 17 yrs. old and he was 27 yrs. old. 
These treasures were clean and did not even smell musty !
The lock of hair was from the day she died of stomach cancer in 1947 when she was 42 yrs. old. They raised a family of 3 boys and 5 girls.

One branch done and sent off to 4 cousins ;)

In my long journey with genealogy I even had my own mtDNA done ! Turns out I'm directly related to a woman that lived 11,000-12,000 yrs. ago ! (speaking of years ;))  ** just got an update ... this line is now 20,000 yrs. old ! June 2017