And there it was … gone!

21st Century Nesting Practices has closed, and it’s all been packed and stored away again.

So strange, that process: how things come out of boxes and wrapping to take on a life of their own for a while, and then disappear again.

It was a great experience – a lovely way to come ‘full circle’ with this work and see it from a different vantage point (coming out on the other side, so to speak).

That was in fact the case when a delightful group of poets I had worked with in 2007 (a decade, already?!) came to the gallery to do a reading of work from a collaborative collection titled Eyeing the Magpie. It was nice to re-connect with these poets, and to have this bird-inspired work presented in the context of this exhibition was really fun. My thanks to Nancy MacKenzie, Anna Mioduchowska, Julie C Robinson, Myrna Garanis, and Rusti Lehay (all pictured below) for presenting their work!


I am so grateful to the McMullen Gallery for the opportunity to exhibit this body of work; the context and the feedback I received throughout the exhibition was invaluable to me, and allowed me to see my work and my practice as a whole in a new way.

Deep Thanks also to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, for the support in creating the soundscape for this exhibition!

So now, a shift to new things – the first inklings of the coming spring are in the air, a new project going up for exhibition this week, and lots of studio work and new ideas percolating.


One more Week, and an Event!

This is the last week that 21st Century Nesting Practices is on exhibition at the McMullen Gallery. Amazing how fast the time has gone by!

The exhibition closes  on Sunday February 25th; morning of the 26th, I’ll be in the gallery, packing up the work.

In the mean time though – pop in if you have a chance, and if you like poetry as well as visual art, there’s a special event happening in conjunction with the exhibition this week:


I had the pleasure of working with these lovely writers a few years ago – and I am so happy that they are bringing their work to the gallery to share in amongst all my nests!

Almost all of the bird’s nests in 21st Century Nesting Practices are in fact magpie nests – that resilient, ever-so-smart-and-sassy bird that is such a big part of the avian landscape here.

I’m looking forward to this very much – and hope some of you can make it too.

Nests! at TIX!

I am very happy to let you know that TIX on the Square in Edmonton, AB is carrying some of my limited-edition artist books!

NEST {types} is a collaborative work, with lovely poems written by Vancouver-based poet Catherine Owen, and hand carved linocut prints by me. Each print/poem pairing revolves around a particular type or shape of nest: cup, saucer, scrape, burrow, and so on.


I printed and bound only 50 books; the linocuts were printed on rice paper, and the text is printed on eco-friendly straw paper; cover stock is FSC-certified. Hand-bound with unbleached linen cord.



Get in touch with the lovely people at TIX if you’d like a copy – they are perfect gifts!

‘Tis the Season for Giving … local Art

Yes, this is shameless promotion time.

I have some things I’d like to share with you, that I hope you buy from me, to give as gifts to people in the next while.

First off, I have some lovely hand-bound poetry books that would like to have new homes.

... and the finished product! 10" x 8.5", text stock is 80% wheat straw; block prints are on rice paper; 65 lb FSC certified cover stock. 50 numbered copies.
… and the finished product! 10″ x 8.5″, text stock is 80% wheat straw; block prints are on rice paper; 65 lb FSC certified cover stock. 50 numbered copies.

Text by award-winning Vancouver poet Catherine Owen; 7 hand-pulled block print illustrations by me. I carved the blocks, printed the images on rice paper, the text on straw paper, and bound the books. Limited edition of 50.

Seven Limited Edition, hand carved and pulled block prints of Nests will be in the chapbook ...
Seven Limited Edition, hand carved and pulled block prints of Nests will be in the chapbook …

The poems are based on the seven basic building forms that birds use to build nests, and deal with love and the work of living and caring for one another in ways that are insightful, and always threaded through with a keen understanding of human relationships.

$50 each, shipping via Canada Post extra (if needed).




I also have a new series of photo-based work I’ve just put up at Credo on 104th Street in Edmonton AB. These are a selection urban/street based images I’ve been collecting for the last several years: quirky little moments from various cities in Canada.

Manipulated digital images printed on mylar and archival fine art photo paper, framed and ready to hang. These are non-editioned images, so if you want something in a different size, get in touch, and we can talk.

Prices range from $45 – $90, shipping via Canada Post extra (if needed).


But there is a point to me telling you about these things, beyond the possible sale …

Buying from the maker of the goods you choose gives both buyer and seller so much more than just the positive conclusion to a mutually agreeable monetary transaction.

You have the option to get to know the person who made the thing you like a little better – find out the story behind the item you like.

The thing you choose will be unique in some way; it’s not going to be one of several million items produced in a factory. It comes from a different kind of economy, and a different understanding of ‘value.’

You know that the money you spend is going to support the effort of someone trying to make a living from making. From self-employment in creative work. Local workers making local products.

Props to the many Maker’s Markets and Farmer’s Markets her and elsewhere that serve as venues for makers of all types … all those places where people gather to show and sell what they make – and make the cities they make in a little bit more awesome all the time.

(ok – my mini rant is over … and I hope you consider purchasing gifts for people  throughout the year from local artists and artisans. It matters!)


A Small Exhibition & Sale: Archives of Absence out in the world again

I am showing some of the work from the Archives of Absence project at Credo in Edmonton over the next while. The work went up this past Friday (February 22nd), and will be up for a few weeks.

It’s good to have this work out in the world again – it’s always good to revisit projects after a while away, I think, to see if they still ‘ring true’ for starters, but also to see what new things can be learned from them.

Berm: Epilogue
Berm: Epilogue

I certainly understand the importance of this project to my practice in a new way now. Archives of Absence really marked a shift in materials for me, and the dawning of my understanding of how crucial the specificity of place was to the way I make work. This project was also a very dynamic collaboration between me and (the very gifted) poet Catherine Owen, which brought my attention back to  the beauty of words and the joy of writing after a many-years distance. You can read more about the project, and all of its components here and here.

Berm: Further Liminalities
Berm: Further Liminalities

I really enjoy many of the images that came out of this project – and I hope the people who come and go at Credo enjoy them as well.

Berm: Fragments
Berm: Fragments

Gifts of an Unexpected Nature …

I’ve spent a lovely time over the last while catching up with family and friends.

A very good thing, that reminds one on so many levels of precisely how rich life is, and how many blessings there are to count. Daily.

In all that running-around-hanging-out-gatherings-feasts-grabbing-a-coffee-because-its-been-too long .. there has been such joy and laughter and simple pleasure, in amongst the (sometimes) madness of the season.

And there have been some unexpected gifts, which are always the best kind to receive; they make one think the most, over the long run …

To wit:

A lovely person that I have only had the pleasure of getting to know over the last few months gave me a most delightful and intriguing gift:

Beauty and simplicity (and those of you who sew will get the pun!)
Beauty and simplicity (and those of you who sew will get the pun!)


This was a lovely thing in and of itself – I hadn’t in the least expected it – but double the delight once this mysterious package was opened:


… what better, than an old and well thumbed book of poetry??


And the magic grew, as the cover was opened:

... someone (several someones, actually) had responded to the poems in a variety of ways!
… someone (several someones, actually) had responded to the poems in a variety of ways!

The wonderful experience of uncovering and discovering the marginalia in this book is a gift many times over, in itself a series of delights and mysteries.

Thoughts. Questions. Analysis. Little windows ...
Thoughts. Questions. Analysis. Little windows …


I was particularly struck by the headings added to several of the pages; an apparent correlation between the written word – the poems – and particular Hollywood stars from another era:

… there’s also: Basil Rathbone, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Cary Grant, Fibber McGee, George Burns, John Wayne, Shirley Temple, Jane Wyman, Ava Gardner, Barbara Stanwyck, Carol Lombard (“later” – this a particular shade of definition added for her only) … and many others …

I will be the first to admit I have yet to spend a great deal of time poring over these thoroughly intriguing notes and associations. But perhaps that isn’t the point, entirely.

On considering this lovely little volume and its contents, and its coming into my world, I am struck most by the potential it contains. Just now at least, I am most entranced by the layers of understanding in these pages, the different rhythms of reading and understanding that so many people have brought to these words over so many years. And it strikes me that I don’t need to know all of it – I will likely pore through this volume over the coming months, and read every passage and every note taken and added there – but that will only satisfy part of my curiosity. And  this process will only uncover (or recover) part of what is really there.

The real beauty in this gift lies in what I cannot ever know – about who read and who wrote and why – and in what struck the person who gave this gift to me at the moment they found it: what told them that I was the person who was to be the next custodian of these words and ideas, compiled from so many sources?

What a delightful and thoughtful thing: to give a gift that shows in its being such complete mystery.

So like this time of year as a whole, this little book shows me yet again – regardless of one’s affiliation, practice, understanding, or belief – perceivable reality is stunning all on its own. That moment of really seeing is precious.

We have passed the shortest day of the year, the light is returning, and while we wait for the thaw and the next cycle of growth, many things of import are going on, in many worlds simultaneously. Not the least of which is the perfect glint of brilliant winter sun on drifts, the scrunch of  snow under boots, the welcome of a sparking fire and a big mug of tea, the moment when someone smiles from beneath layers of clothing. And the passing on of old books with notes penned in the margins.

Best of the Coming Year to you All.




Just a few days … !!

Started installing NEST today at Harcourt House. Exciting!

So, far, things are going smoothly … still a fair bit to do over the next couple of days, but overall I’m happy with the progress so far.

Also had a quick visit from Catherine Owen this past weekend – she was in town for the launch of her latest book, Trobairitz. The added bonus to Cath’s visit (aside form a stellar reading at the Edmonton Launch of her book!) is that she was able to sign all 50 copies of the limited edition chapbook NEST{types} that we have produced together.


So … the book will be available through me directly, starting October 18th at the Opening Reception of NEST. You can contact me directly here if you’d like a copy too!


The books will be at a special launch-only price of $40 on October 18th.

… and now, I must get back to the talk I need to get into shape before Thursday night! EEP!

Books! Printed, Collated and Bound!

I’ve always been a sucker for paper, pens, letterpress … all the delightful things that keep reading and writing an immediate and tactile experience. I’m a bit of a Luddite or a throwback I guess, but there is something utterly irreplaceable and so very delicious about hand writing a letter with a fountain pen … holding and reading a real book, and smelling the fresh ink-and-paper smell when it’s opened for the first time.

So really, it should be no surprise at all for me to discover that I adore bookbinding.

I have had the honour and pleasure to collaborate with poet Catherine Owen for several years now (her blog is here – and well worth a read!); this latest incarnation of our work together is a chapbook, revolving around – you guessed it – nests. Catherine has written some beautiful nest poems over the last year; her wondrous words and my images (based on the nest forms she used in the poems) come together here.

This little volume with be available for purchase October 18th, at the Opening Reception of NEST, my Residency exhibition at Harcourt House. I was going to wait a bit to show the world  – but I’m really pleased and excited by the results, so it’s Preview Time!

Some images of  the chapbook, NEST {types} :

Seven Limited Edition, hand carved and pulled block prints of Nests will be in the chapbook …
… how I spent my Sunday … collating pages before binding the book. Good thing we’ve got a large dining table!
… and the finished product! 10″ x 8.5″, text stock is 80% wheat straw; block prints are on rice paper; 65 lb FSC certified cover stock. Bound with unbleached linen cord. 50 numbered copies.

I’m happy with the way the entire project turned out – and looking forward to doing more in this vein over the coming years.

This particular project has been both a fitting close and an opening out: I am a little less than a month away from the exhibition of NEST and the end of that year-long process. That reality also marks  an entry into the next phase in the project (nope it’s not over yet!!), in which I will develop more visual work, but also turn my attention to writing, and to working with Catherine further to see what evolves in this body of work.

Looking forward, always, to the adventure …

An Ongoing Dialogue …

One of the most remarkable things about making art for me has always been the opportunities this mad existence has offered to meet – and work with – some truly exceptional human beings.

I have been gifted with several such ongoing encounters, one of which I’d like to share today …

I have worked on (and continue to work on) a collaborative project entitled Archives of Absence with  Catherine Owen, a terrific poet from Vancouver. We launched a chapbook, a miscellany, and the visual art from this meeting of minds in April 2011 at the Edmonton Poetry Festival, and I blogged about it here.

Catherine and I also wrote about our experience of working together on this project in an essay entitled “Engaging Space” … and that essay has (happily!!) just been published by Radius – you can find it here.

It is an amazing thing to me – as someone who has ‘shifted gears’ over the years from written to visual modes of expression to see this (very) visual project described and made real in words … another iteration, and other way of seeing all that we have seen as individuals, and as a collaborative team. This collaboration has been all the richer too, in that it has provoked a re-kindling of my desire to work with words again in an active way – to write, as well as make visual art – and that is a tremendous gift, beyond the telling.

The work on Archives of Absence continues … I continue to make work for this project, returning to it as a place which distills many of the ideas that permeate both my work and Catherine’s on an ongoing basis. Each foray in brings something new: a new way of seeing the land, the city, the work already made … the way I work and why I do what I do.

Collaboration keeps people honest and open, keeps the ego checked at the door, and and makes one just unsettled enough to keep the work continually fresh. For these things and so many others, I am always grateful.

Engaging Space will be released this spring by Wolsak & Wynn, in a collection of essays and prose memoirs entitled Catalysts – featuring visual art from the Archives of Absence project on the cover.