A great big thanks to the Canada Council for the Arts. I recently got word that I was awarded a professional development grant to fund my time at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Puppetry Conference to study materials and movement with Alice Gottschalk. It was a great experience - days and nights working with fellow puppet people and learning from them and from Alice. I left with a bunch of new skills and my thoughts on the difference between animation and manipulation and the relationship of the puppeteer to the puppet. I am grateful for the support from the CC.
A few months ago, I spent the afternoon making a worbla Carnevale mask with an awesome and creative kid named Gabriel for TVO Kids It’s My Party. At one point, I asked a crew member if I was loud enough (I’m soft spoken) and he said something along the lines of, “Remember you’re on a kids show.” I took that to mean I needed to uptalk, but not sure if that is what he meant or if I even managed it. It was a fun afternoon. My two-minutes of TVO fame is ten minutes in, but my favourite part of the episode is when the kids learn commedia (beautiful masks!).
I’m teaching a couple of workshops this summer.
First up is a mask-decorating workshop for the TD Niagara JazzFest. The JazzFest is hosting a super-cool Mardi Gras event on July 20th, featuring a parade, cajun cooking, and music by the Shuffle Demons, Heavyweights Brass Band, Turbo Street Funk, The Vaudevillians and others at the Henley Grandstand. You’ll need a mask. Come make fancy masks with me on June 13th so you can attended the event in Mardi Gras splendour. Details: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mask-making-workshop-tickets-63982088148/amp
On August 6, I’m delighted to be giving a mask-making demo at the Macpherson House at the Lennox & Addington Museum & Archives. Come on out to Napanee and decorate a mask. Details: https://lennox-addington.on.ca/museums-archives/mask-making-birds
June has been a solid month of making. I am exhausted, but happy. I think of working a bit like I think of the runner’s high. There’s always a point in a project when I think I’m too tired and I can’t go on, but then I’ll get just the right angle in a sculpt or start painting and the paint moves just as I want it to, and a work high will kick in. This month, I’ve made masks for private commissions, River Valley School in Alberta, and for Odyssey Theatre in Ottawa. The masks for Odyssey are for The Bonds of Interest by Jacinto Benavente, translated by Catherine Boyle, and directed by Laurie Steven. You can read more about it here, and if you’re in Ottawa July 25-August 25, please check it out.
A really nice thing happened to me last weekend. I won the 2019 Established Artist Award for the City of St Catharines. It was a surprise, for many reasons, but especially because my competition was fierce! The other nominees are all brilliant and accomplished artists, and my money was on one of them. As a result, I didn’t plan what to say, so standing in front of a theatre full of people, I winged it. I think/hope my gratitude and enthusiasm came through. St Catharines, you are an inspiring city, filled with opportunities for artists. Thank you.
And a big thanks to the Niagara Artists Centre (NAC) for the nomination!
So this is lovely: I’ve been nominated for the Established Artist Award for the City of St. Catharines Arts Awards. Ceremony is on May 3. It’ll be a fun night to look fancy and hang out with my friends and to celebrate the amazing St Catharines arts scene.
The Woodstock Art Gallery’s opening for the Enormous Elsewhere’s (me and Alexa Fraser) installation was on February 16th. We had a lot people come through - friends, family, and people who we met that day. In its first incarnation, Eating Animals told a darkly funny story about a dinner party in two acts. Now, in Woodstock, the story unfolds in a series of photographs and our central sculpture. One of the things that delighted me the most that day, was watching kids solving the mystery that is the centre of the installation. Eating Animals is at the Woodstock Art Gallery from February 16 to March 24, 2019.
Details at the City of Woodstock website.
Last week, I had a blast making masks with an awesome kid named Gabriel. It was for a segment on Venetian Carnevale for TVOKids “It’s My Party.” A perfect way to spend a bitter-cold winter day.
Gabriel and I made our half mask out of Worbla, a material I only just started playing around with in the fall, but have grown to love for its speed and versatility. It also makes super comfortable masks. We then painted it with acrylics and decorated it with trim and Gabriel was then party ready.