Thursday, July 12, 2018

A Summer Day

Today I was able to let summer in. One of the things that I love about this season is its slow pace. Slow is not what life has been like this year. Top that off with taking a new position at my out-of-the-house job and the days have flown by.

We leave for our summer vacation next week. One thing that a faster pace life has taught me is to appreciate each quiet moment. Here are some moments from today.


This pot is my little piece of Paris on my balcony. Last year my attempt at creating a pot like this did not work. This year the geraniums and verbena are happy, which in turn makes me smile. My balcony flowers always bring small joy.


Tea and reading on the patio. I watched wild bees gathering pollen from my flowers and dragonflies in the sky.



We walked down to one of our neighbourhood parks today. Played basketball and sat in the shade.



This piece is going to be full of memories from this year. I doubt I'll be able to look at it and not think of the challenge that 2018 has been. It will need to be finished by the end of November. I plan to bring it with me on vacation and stitch a piece about the Pacific ocean while gazing at the Atlantic.



Some quiet stitching time in the shade.  Photography by my sons. They are getting quite good with cameras.


And for the first time this summer I was able to hang laundry out on the line. This is a ritualistic summer activity for me. The balcony is too hot in the summer from 11 am to 5 or 6 pm for much else but drying laundry. A small thing that makes me smile.

Wishing you quiet summer moments too. 

JJ

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Art + Craft Project Wrap-up

As this project winds down and I struggle to catch my breath while moving on to the next big change, I am compelled to stop and appreciate the fruits of the community's labour. I spearheaded this project but so many others helped in numerous ways. The students were open to take this journey with me, and I am grateful for the support and time of so many in making this project a success. So here are the details of the last 8 months in various forms, for all to enjoy and remember.



 





Monday, April 9, 2018

In the Home Stretch

It is amazing that 6 months have gone by in a blink. Art + Craft is in its last two months. Last week was a blur of cutting raffle tickets, sewing on a queen size quilt binding, and assembling raffle ticket packages to go home with 328 students. I also taught a class, cooked meals and managed to come up with an idea for a future project.
The mind's capacity is at times unyielding. Why do these ideas pop into our heads when we are already filled to the brim with work?


Overwhelm has happened during the last six months more often than I would have liked. Building a new skill set is overwhelming for most people and I am certainly not an exception to that. I wouldn't change that right now though. While the pace might make me feel breathless, it feels like it is necessary to who I am as a creative being. Which I also worry makes me rather a challenge to be around right now. Often I have a sensation of pulling myself apart to reassemble myself again in my next version. I have done this before. I most likely will do it again in the future. 
So stamina, holding and breathing. Not letting my mind jump too far ahead on the to-do list. And trusting the bigger picture to work towards its logical conclusion are key right now, as I stand for a moment and pause looking down the home stretch.


Raffle quilt tickets are now on sale. Visit: https://quiltingcommunity.blogspot.ca/2018/04/raffle-sales-have-begun.html to learn more about how to purchase a ticket and support Forest Grove Elementary.

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JJ

Monday, March 5, 2018

Full Circle Artist Lecture

I am pleased to announce that I will be sharing an overview of my work this Thursday March 8, 2018 for the North Shore Needle Arts Guild. The lecture is called Full Circle: An Artist's Journey and I am looking forward to meeting and sharing with Guild members.
I will also be bringing a trunk show of some of the work in the presentation.

A piece I made in art school: Life After Death, 1999


Detail from Crow's Nest, 2017


To book a lecture or sign up for my newsletter please contact me via my website at: http://www.jenniejohnston.com/

JJ

Monday, February 5, 2018

Behind the Art: Life Lines

Life Lines was created as a site specific piece for Window which is an art display vitrine at the Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre in downtown Vancouver, BC.

Life Lines, mixed media quilt, 2014

The broad sense of the message behind this work was to talk about the isolation that city life encourages when everyone is closed into their individual condos and apartments. The clothesline represented both an ecological symbol of using the sun to dry our clothing as was common in previous generations (and is still used in many homes across the earth to this day) and a social connection that could unite city dwellers.


The contrast between the muted colours of the buildings and the vibrant faces looking out and holding the clothesline was my favourite part of this piece.



For more please visit www.jenniejohnston.com

JJ

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Looking for Center: 2017 in Review

It is that reflection and goal setting time of year again. I shared 16 posts in this space in 2017. I think I'm ok with that. Considering that it was one of the busiest years of my adult life. I've gathered some numbers for taking stock of the year.  I do not usually do this but I felt like it would help me put things in perspective.

Taken on Salt Spring Island, BC July 2017

I often felt a sensation of being in limbo despite pushing myself further than I ever had before. Looking back on the year this way has given me piece of mind that I have indeed achieved more than I thought. That is a reassuring feeling and it is helping to keep the limbo feeling in the background. Here are some numbers about my year.

Number of Completed Pieces: 5
Grants Written & Applied for: 2
Grants Received: 1
Art Sales: 2
Exhibitions Applied For: 10
Exhibitions: 4
Exhibition Rejections: 7
Art Related Articles Published: 2 (SAQA Journal Summer & Fall issues)
Press Coverage: 2 (Friendship Show UDHR Embroidery)
Art Exhibitions visited: 7 (a number I'd like to increase for 2018)
Attended SAQA Western Canada Regional Retreat in Kelowna, BC
Became SAQA Western Canada Regional Representative
Began my first Artist Residency at Forest Grove Elementary School
Began a part-time job at Mackin House Museum
Craftivist project artist for UDHR Quilt Project
Set up a Monthly newsletter
Set up a Facebook artist's page

These are career related accomplishments of course. There were many more parts to this life. Turning 40, sharing time with family, reading 36 books, travelling to some lovely locations, raising two boys and maintaining our crazy family of 4 life.

Installation view of Look In, Reach Out at the Zack Gallery, Vancouver BC, May 2017


A few thoughts to ponder as we move forward in 2018.

Why think about the rejections?  They are just as important as the acceptances.
Do you reflect on the passing years in your art practice? I do.  My project is called Memory Keeper and is now going into its 10th year.  Here are some past examples of the small pieces I make to mark each year.
2008 2010 2011 2012

Here's to an art filled 2018.

JJ

Friday, October 27, 2017

Making Your Studio Work for You

Space and making art go hand and hand. I have seen the lengths that artists will go to to make their work. Often the circumstances are less than ideal, and perhaps you, like me, have dreamed of a large, open, light filled studio space in which to create all day long.
The reality is that many of us need to work where we live. Especially in urban environments rent prices are high and space is at a premium. As you are building your audience and artistic practice it is often not cost effective to rent out a separate space for working in.
This is certainly the case for myself at this stage in my career. I love to look at artist work spaces and dream of "someday" but what am I doing in the meantime?

The third bedroom of our townhouse is my studio space.  It is not a large room, it measures around 10 by 15 feet.  The other function of this space is that it has to be a guest room.  The first thing my husband and I considered when we were setting the space up was how to make it comfortable for guests who would be using the space 20% of the year, and how to optimise the space as a studio/office the majority of the year. We decided that a Murphy Bed installed in the closet space was our best option.




While the guest room is set up my studio is placed into rubber bins and moved into the master bedroom against the far wall.



I have streamlined the process to get the moving part down to about 30 minutes and everything fits under or over top of height adjustable desks. It has taken me several years to get my studio this efficient.



And when everything is set up again as a studio I make the most of the space I do have. I am grateful to have a designated space no matter how small. 

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JJ