Monday, June 28, 2010

Mondays with Marly - Stepping Stones - PART 1

By guest blogger Marly
Marly and Angie own Studio 28 in Waterloo, Ontario

I must admit I used to feel rather sheepish about my seeming lack of ability to focus on any particular art medium for any length of time. But the wonderful thing about seeing the decades go by, is that I've gained perspective. I am able to look back on the bigger picture, and I've realized how each shift in focus provided context and good insight for the next step (and art medium) in my life. Stepping stones... each experience building and informing the next.

In the 70's and early 80's, a college room mate taught me how to weave and I fell in love with creating tapestries and learning how to operate a loom. I even opened a weaving shop in the nearby tourist town of St. Jacobs.

I quickly learned that trying to pay the bills from weaving was an arduous task. Oh, I loved designing the first placemat and seeing the colors and patterns slowly emerge, but then to weave five more of exactly the same thing to make a set was absolutely painful. Boring. My little shop was in an old air conditioning in the summer and I felt like Rapunzel locked in her tower, literally sweating over my loom, watching the shuttle go back and forth and back and forth...Not exactly the perfect dream job I was hoping for. Although my loom sat in my living room for years, I finally admitted that my love of weaving had waned.  I sold my loom, and vowed that I would NEVER try to pay all the bills from my artistic endeavours again. Below you can see a picture of the Village Silos, where various artisans still sell their wares today, including the weaver that took over my store!

 A few years later, I became involved in a photography and picture framing studio and loved pursuing the craft of framing and purchasing Canadian art prints for the store. An acceptance letter to teacher's college sent me in a different direction for a while. I was fortunate to be given a teaching contract here in Waterloo, but I missed picture framing. I still knew my framing suppliers and contacts and they were happy to give me framing corners and mat samples to set up a little picture framing business in my newly acquired house.  So I was a teacher by day, and a picture framer evenings and weekends!  A welcome supplement to help with my mortgage payments! Although I had to give up my custom picture framing business a few years ago when a big framing manufacturer bought up the local company I dealt with, I still love cutting mat for artwork and find that the skills I learned come in handy for all kinds of art-making.

In the late eighties and early nineties, I had the opportunity to learn more about printmaking and joined a group of nine other artists to do group shows together at various local galleries. Those were wonderful years. Our group, called the Spiral Art Makers, seemed to have a similar approach and aesthetic to our print making and we learned a lot from our collaborations together.
 During this time, I realized how much I loved to piece things together in collage form. I would often take a print and cut it up, rearrange it,  and add odds and ends from other projects to create something new...a process that I still find totally addictive. I went through a phase of creating art pieces around earrings I no longer wore. An early introduction to the metal arts!


Ohhh, but watercolor was something I always wanted to try! In 2000,  two good friends, Rose, Jenny, and I decided to combine a camping trip with a watercolor course at the Haliburton School of the Arts. It was called Watercolor for Dummies. Perfect! Kind of took the pressure off!! And we learned a lot! For the next few years, Thursday night became the time for Rose, Jenny, and I to get together in my studio for some watercolor play time (accompanied by glasses of wine and good music.)  The artist that had the biggest influence on my watercolors during those years was Jeanne Carbonetti. I felt a deep connection to her abstract and spiritual approach to art making and poured over her beautiful books to learn more about her techniques.

O.K...that's enough reminiscing for today! It's off to the garden to plant some more flowers. Yes, the ones that have been patiently sitting there for two weeks! Stay tuned for Part Two of my art journey. The 2003-2010 period! Coming up in two weeks!

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