General


14064049_10154561859572268_8199250885273091585_nI am in process of transitioning to a new single existence based in Cambridge, UK.  Having dissolved my old life in Canmore, Alberta, Canada, I am cycling through six weeks of travels and visits with friends and family before the final transit to my new home.  Taking this time, this pause between actions, has been so deeply grounding and nurturing.  The interval has permitted time for grieving and letting go of the old life, transiting through ever-changing emotions as I move toward the gateway to the new life.  As part of this time, I spent five days with my dear friend Nancy and her husband Francois in their sanctuary of a cottage on Lac Sheen in the Quebec woods.  It was a time of deep peace in stunning surroundings, early morning kayaking in perfect stillness, haunting loon calls in the wee hours, heart-to-heart talks, endless creation, afternoon lake swims, wonderful food and the gift of old friendship and new.  I was able to spend some of the time building components of my latest artist’s book, A Walk in Quebec Woods.  With periods of papermaking, suminagashi and acrylic marbling interspersed, it was a blessed time to deepen my bond with these dear friends and to soothe my soul in the waters of their magical lake.  

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1914753_1053798144661581_5564570931144068029_nIt’s been an uncharacteristically long time since I blogged here.  How considerably my life has changed in the last two years.  In the face of such enormous change and transition, adequate words have failed me and I’ve turned away from blogging on a regular basis.  Through it all, I have continued to work, to teach extensively and to write in different venues.  Interestingly, much of my work over the last year has related to art journaling, and I have finally achieved the break away from my attachment words that I sought for so long.
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I am drawn back to this blog at an interesting time.  Months ago, I wrote about the end of my thirty year marriage.  That has entailed a two year long process involving a combination of hard work and slow acceptance.  A year after my four months of travel through the UK and Europe with my daughter, I am now putting a change of life into process that began to formulate in those travels.

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By this time, I am replete from a month of farewell lunches, get-togethers and gatherings.  The tidal wave of love and caring I have received from coast to coast has tumbled me and humbled me, learning the depth of regard in which I am and have been held.  I rode the crest of that wave into my journey to a new life.  I finally resigned from my full time job, sold and disposed of most of my possessions and furniture, packed my suitcase and departed on a journey to finally becoming the fully itinerant artist and teacher I have worked so hard to be.  I am grounding firmly with six weeks of visits to dearest family and friends.  Once steady on my feet and ready for launch, I will board a plane with my daughter to return to our beloved England to make our home there once again.

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Is that the end of the story?  Oh no.  It is the barest beginning of the vision I have.  I have worked more than a decade to build a business that can come with me.  Though based in the United Kingdom, I will begin to more fully and regularly divide my time between Canada and the US and the United Kingdom.  Free of a demanding full time job, I will be able to turn more fully and readily to my studio to bring the many manifestations of my creative vision to life.

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As I dismantle my old life, I am quietly sweeping away my footprints behind me.  I am filled with love and gratitude for the life I have led the last twelve years, and to all those who have shared my path over those years.  It is time for a new path, stepping fully into the artistic life I was born for, and that has grown and grown around me over these years.  Riding the crest of that uplifting wave of love and regard, I go forward.  There is so very much to look forward to, and you will begin to see me in some new ventures and venues as the year advances.  Watch out for upcoming workshops and some new online workshops coming for 2017, two new articles in Cloth Paper Scissors magazine and my work venturing further afield for exhibition.  The images included in this blog post show two recent artist book works completed:  Anonymous and Rime.  You can check them out on my Facebook page!  I look forward to seeing you about.

  What momentous times!  Teaching assignments completed, the year advancing, we are already three weeks into our Grand Adventure before there has been a chance to share it with you.   After spending two weeks around family in Norfolk, England, we are enjoying some time with dear friends near Lichfield, Staffordshire before moving on to a sequence of organic farm placements around the UK.   

    
 My studio is packed up, my tools reduced to a neat little travel binding kit I contrived in a spectacle case, and my eye and mind are teeming with ideas and nourishment from this complete change of pace and lifestyle. 

  This is a whole new experience for both of us.  Serious travel, not on ‘vacation’ as such, it has been hard to downshift mental and physical pace.  Hard to resist my natural propensity to collect, learning to be present with the places and moments empty-handed.  I am sketching and journaling nearly every day and just feeding, feeding, feeding the fires within.  My work coffers at home are empty after selling several pieces before I left, so I am gearing toward a period of high production over the winter.  I’ll have plentiful material to draw upon! 

 Finding different selves, different relationships with ourselves, each other and our friends and family along the way, this is a stretching and testing experience for us all.  My daughter and I have learned a new respect for each other.  When people said this would be life changing, I wasn’t sure.  Yet the gifts that are delivered every day humble and stretch me.  What more could I hope for than the gift of growth?  I hope your own summer is delivering gifts to your door.  Enjoy! 

 

Good Heavens!  Is it 2014 already?  I had such plans to blog about the amazing events of 2013, and then, before I knew it, the year was over.  I don’t make resolutions as such, but I do have aspirations for the coming year.  One of them is to get back to blogging on a more regular basis.  Starting now!524284_423843824323686_1004332719_n

When I last wrote, I shared with you the exciting acquisitions of my work that had taken place in 2013.  I remain a little bewildered and deeply grateful for those events, and hope things continue along those lines in the coming year.  “River Worn” has since appeared in an exhibition of the Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library, University of Toronto, as part of the “A Death Greatly Exaggerated” exhibition.

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2013 was significant for me in other ways too, including travel to teach at CREATE in California and in New Jersey.  Those trips are always a great deal of fun, having the opportunity to reconnect with old friends and make new ones that share my passion for art and creativity.  In the summer, I travelled to both Los Angeles, California and New Jersey with my dear friend Tiffany Teske for a busy couple of weeks of solid teaching.

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As it turned out, as great as they were, these were not the most lasting memories 2013 brought.  For in 2013, I celebrated my 50th birthday.  The gift I chose was to make a solo road trip along the Pacific Coast Highway of California, between Los Angeles and San Francisco.  On previous trips, I have travelled the PCH from near the Mexican border to LA, and from Seattle south to the border with California.  The Washington/Oregon trip had been transformative, a few short days that changed my inner landscape profoundly.  I hungered for another time at the wheel, experiencing this time and place in its fullness, through my own eyes and soul.  

The time was fully as transformative as expected, but not at all in the way I thought.  As part of this important time, I took the opportunity to share some of the time with an old, old friend I had not seen since high school more than thirty years before.  The time shared was powerful for both of us, dredging up deep and long-buried feelings of separation and loss, and the painful goodbyes and torn roots that characterised our military lives.  The connection in some ways completed a circle, and in others tore open old wounds that can’t ever really be resolved.  I met my young self on that trip, traversing that road for the first time since I was five years old, and looked some of my oldest hurts in the face in a way that released some things I have carried all my life.  In between the tears and the talks, there were many hours cruising the PCH, stopping at random times to photograph, laughing over the kitsch, experiencing the Monterey Bay Aquarium and rekindling a long-cherished and remembered friendship.  The circles continue to widen from that trip, an internal revolution.  Resolution.  Transformation indeed.  I am finding words inadequate to express the depth of impact, the quake that continues to resonate through my very being.

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Part of my plan to mark this auspicious 50th birthday year included a list.  At the start of the year, I embarked on fulfilling a list of 50 Things I’ve Never Done.  Although there are still five months until my next birthday, I’ve only a couple of things left to accomplish.  I started off with no plan, opportunistically and openly embracing new things as they arose and seeking them out as they occurred to me.  Fulfilling the list has been by times fun, liberating, profound, eye-opening, terrifying, thought-provoking and laughter-filled.  I won’t share the whole list, but the list has spanned everything from something as simple as cooking and eating new foods (e.g., vegetarian moussaka) and destinations (New York!) to reaching beyond my own inhibitions and fears into the places that scare me (like lighting a bonfire with gasoline on New Year’s Eve!).  The activities have often been shared or brought to me by dear friends and have provided some unexpected bonding moments over the year.  I might have to make a list of some sort part of my lexicon each year! 057 (2) (480x640)George Washington Bridge (480x640)

And then, before I’d had a chance to catch my breath, I was picked up and whirled into a trip of a lifetime to South Korea!  I was fortunate to have had a piece of work juried into the Alberta Craft Council exhibition “Pulp Paper Pages”.  A collaboration with the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild, it was an opportunity to showcase the best of book and paper arts happening in Alberta at this time.  As part of an existing relationship, the Council applied for and was successful in obtaining grant funding to send a delegation of artists and the exhibition itself to South Korea.  I was so lucky to have been chosen as one of the artist delegates to accompany the exhibition to the Hanji Paper Festival in Wonju in the Gangwon Province of South Korea.  I have recently been commissioned to write an account of that trip for Bound and Lettered magazine, and so will wait to share the detail with you in that article.  From a personal perspective, the trip carried great gifts of new friendships and discovery, and included many items on my 50 Things I’ve Never Done list (like eating stingray and praying in a Buddhist mountain temple).  For the time being, let me share some of the images from this most wonderful trip.

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What a busy, fabulous year it has been.  There have been so many more events and participations I haven’t even mentioned.  I’ll leave you with a little clue to some of what has occurred this year.  Look out for lots more!  Wishing you and yours absolutely the best this year has to carry over your threshold.  Be well, be creative, be strong.  Happy New Year!1397961_617779771596756_516434779_o

011My customary summer break from my blog is at an end.  My feet are once again under my desk, and I have already begun on a series of new work and projects set for the winter months.   I have so very much to tell you about the events and travel of Summer 2013 that I will need to write a series of blogs over the next four weeks to cover it all.

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It is hard to know where to begin.  I guess the best place is to pick up where I left off, when I wrote about the devastating flooding that hit our dear mountain town just as I returned from my birthday trip to southern California.  Our dear mountain town and all those other communities so deeply impacted by the flooding slowly move toward healing in the deeper layers, well below the surface functioning that resumed within days.  The scars on our landscape remain despite the continual work on remediation.  The scars on our memories remain even deeper.

In all, despite those painful days and weeks, it was a lively and exciting summer, filled with events of amazing magnitude.  For this post, I will tell you that the summer saw two significant acquisitions of my work.  I haven’t got over a bit of jumping up and down excitement over these!

'River Worn' page detail

‘River Worn’ page detail

The Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library at the University of Toronto acquired my concertina book “River Worn”.  This piece was a much-beloved concertina nearly 6 feet in length at full extent, illustrated with river-worn rock images taken on a visit to the Kootenay River in British Columbia, and containing the lyrics to an old camp song, “Peace, I ask of thee, O River”:

Peace I ask of thee, O’ River
Peace, peace, peace
When I learn to live serenely
Cares will cease.
From the hills I gather courage
Visions of the days to be
Strength to lead and faith to follow
All are given unto me
Peace I ask of thee, O’ River
Peace, peace, peace.
~ Author Unknown, Camp song

The piece had previously passed through the hands of two California rare books dealers before finding its final place in the Thomas Fisher Library.  I am honoured  to have my work included in their special collection, and hope to get to Toronto to see it there myself one of these days.524284_423843824323686_1004332719_n

Over this same period, I had some work on display at the Abecedarian Gallery in Denver as part of their Artist’s Book Cornucopia IV. I had received email notification from them that one of the pieces had sold and would not be returning to me, but that was all the information provided.  When the package arrived in June with the returned work, I didn’t open it right away, knowing as I did that it was just my returning work.  A few days after its arrival, I finally opened the package.  In the top of the package was a letter from the gallery to advise that the piece had been purchased by Yale University.  I must admit with a blush that there was a certain rather shrieking and incoherent telephone call placed to my sister some three thousand miles and two time zones away (ergo, 1am her time . . .) before I recovered.  To her great credit, she advised me that shrieking phone calls at 1am from my home were generally welcome, as they usually meant good news!  A Sense of Place has now been catalogued and can be viewed in the Haas Arts Special Collection at Yale University Library.29304_393947807267_2001527_nWhen I next write, I will tell you about my adventures in California.  And then there is New Jersey . . . and New York . . . and South Korea.  As I said, it was quite a summer!

I wrote a few months ago about the creation of my artist’s book ‘withlostlongedfor’, and what it meant to me.  Though coming from a raw place far deeper than I usually share through this venue, your response to the piece has been universally positive and overwhelmingly kind.  I promised when I wrote about its creation that I would share the piece with you when it was done.  ‘withlostlongedfor’ is currently on display at the Sunny Raven Gallery here in the Bow Valley.

I created a scroll book out of stitched layers of stained silk.  This is a very personal piece for me, and one into which I put the voice of grief over the loss of my children.  This is not a story I have had the courage to tell up to now, and going into it, I felt fear and trepidation. I was not at all sure I would be able to complete the story, but I thought if I could, it would ultimately be very healing.

The Concept

The title of this book is derived from a poem I wrote many years ago, after one of the many miscarriages, and the text of which I included.  I have told the story of the events that transpired and that ultimately led to the creation of this book, so I won’t tell it again here.  However, to understand the meaning and power of the piece, you may wish to understand its source.  If so, I encourage you to read my original post, which I wrote as a part of my commitment to finally bringing this piece to life.

The Process

I have detailed the process through this picture diary, showing the steps I went through to create the scroll, and my thinking as I did so.

The Piece

I love this piece in the sort of mixed love/sadness you might expect.  It was indeed the release for me I believed it to be, and the response to it has been tremendous.  Thank you.

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I will never forget.  Elephants for remembrance and garnet beads to symbolise drops of blood.

I will never forget. Elephants for remembrance and garnet beads to symbolise drops of blood.

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I hand stitched a protective pouch from silk dupioni, labelled it

I hand stitched a protective pouch from silk dupioni, labelled it

The scroll.

The scroll.

Here, you can see the floating text, applied to different layers for it to fade in and out in appearance.  Segments of the crimson stitching bond the layers together loosely.

Here, you can see the floating text, applied to different layers for it to fade in and out in appearance. Segments of the crimson stitching bond the layers together loosely.

Here you see the old mill bobbins with their steel trim.

Here you see the old mill bobbins with their steel trim.

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“Follow Me”, Limited Edition artist’s book, copyright 2013 Dea Fischer

Have you visited my Dea Fischer – Book Artist page on Facebook lately?  There are some fun tutorials and lots of pictures of my book arts and other work out in circulation, plus many great shares of book-arts-related info and the work of gifted book artists working around the world.  The number of ‘likes’ on my page has been steadily leaping upward.  I promised when we reached 500 ‘likes’ that I would do a giveaway when we reached 1,000.  With that number, it seemed most appropriate to give away a copy of Quarry Books’ “1,000 Artists’ Books”, published last summer.

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My book “A Sense of Place” is included in this wonderful and inspiring book of some of the best book arts happening around the world today.  There are only 53 ‘likes’ to go and then it’s giveaway time!   I will use a random number generator to choose the lucky recipient from all those who have ‘liked’ the page up to and including the 1,000th person.  So, what are you waiting for?  You have to be in it to win it . . . . .

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“A Sense of Place”, copyright 2011 Dea Fischer

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