Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Gimli - a Little Bit of History

'In 1875 a group of Icelandic immigrants who had arrived in [Canada] moved to the west shore of Lake Manitoba where they had been granted a reserve of land by the Canadian Government...The immigrants formed their own administration based on a centuries-long tradition of democratic government...The Republic of New Iceland was created.'

The Rural Municipality of Gimli was established in 1887.
'The early immigrants came full of hope for a new life of opportunities and settled the land made available through homestead rights. The free offer of a 1/4 section (64 acres) to common people, most of whom had never owned land was a major attraction. But there were many difficulties - dense bush, flies, field stones and harsh winters which had to be endured.'
Quotes from various historic markers.

The Icelanders brought their pagan religion with them and found many parallels and an affinity with the First Nations peoples' beliefs.
This Unitarian church, built in 1904, is the oldest in Gimli. It represents the shift to a Christian based religion yet at the same time, the raven's nest is left in the spire as a remembrance of the importance of the raven in old Norse mythology.

Inside the church, while admiring the contemporary stained glass window, Janis Arnason kindly explained to us the history of the window.
It illustrates the life of John J. Arnason, 1925 - 1989, a man who led the church - his first job as a strawberry picker, his restoration of the school, his building of a dam, his restoration of the church.

The restored school is now Gimli's town hall.

Wherever we went people were willing and able to explain to us the history of the area. Icelanders know their roots and know how they are connected to others in their community. 





Thursday, November 17, 2016

Icelandic Horses in Manitoba

Our 1st stop out of Winnipeg was to see Icelandic horses.

About 17 years ago 2 Arnason brothers decided to fulfill their father's dream to bring Icelandic horses to Canada. The catch was once a horse leaves Iceland it is never allowed to return so as to maintain the pure bloodline.
The brothers filled a plane with 87 horses and settled them on a specially built farm where they have flourished in the Canadian prairie climate. 
To read in more detail about the Arnason's Icelandic horse story click here


The farm manager, Sharon, our guide, has just released these horses from a coral out to a clover pasture. She can't leave them out there for too long or for too often because the clover is like candy for them.
Icelandic horses are known to thrive in harsh conditions, forage well for their own food, and grow a very thick coat in winter while living outside. Sharon said they puff up like teddy bears as soon as the weather turns cold.  They are the horse breed with the longest life span, up to 56 years. They are a breed with many other positive characteristics. Read what Wiki says here.
The Arnasons are rewilding their farm. Over the years they have noticed a lot more wildlife and a greater variety is visiting and passing through or is now living with the horses.


They are known for their gentle nature with humans and other animals. Over their long history, they have been used to herd sheep, carry very heavy loads for their size and with a rider cover great distances over uneven rocky ground with surefootedness at great speed. 
A unique feature of Icelandic horse is they have 5 gaits. While watching the video notice how large the rider is in comparison with the size of the horse which shows how strong this breed is. Also, note, once the horse is in the tolt gaits how smooth the ride is for the rider - the shoulders stay level. Check this video view here .
This video shows a magnificent horse capable of doing the super tolt view here 

Sharon with one of her favourite mares. This horse is a great mother and like her breed is a smart problem solver.

Mandy had an affinity with the horses being a horse rider herself.
Movies with lots of Icelandic horses: 
'Of Horses and Men' view trailer here
'Herd in Iceland' view trailer here


Saturday, November 12, 2016

2016 Study Session: In Winnipeg

Next stop in downtown Winnipeg was Mandy's fabulous studio.
After a tour we settled down to eat lunches we had picked up at some unique eateries around the corner.

Donna and Wendy walk on the rooftop to get a bird's eye view of central Winnipeg.

One could do a historical study of just Winnipeg's walls.

Just needs a 'bird on the wire'


Wendy, Mandy, Donna descending.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Gimli - 2016 Study Session begins in Winnipeg

Articulation's annual study session was in Manitoba this year. It began in Winnipeg where we all gathered, flying and driving in from across Western Canada.

Our first stop was in downtown Winnipeg at the North Forge Fabrication Lab. Multi-media artist Erika Lincoln was our tour guide. If you go to her website Erika Lincoln - Lincoln Lab you will see some of the work she has produced with the type of equipment in North Forge.
North forge is part of "innovation alley" a two block section of Adelaide Street in the Exchange District that was instrumental in earning a large grant from the federal government recently.


Erika showing us the raw materials used for laser printing.
L.- R: Erika Lincoln, Lesley turner, Ingrid Lincoln, Leann Clifford

Plastics for laser printing.



Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Elephant Rock Collapses - Hopewell Rocks, Nova Scotia


Elephant Rock at Hopewell collapses .Read the news article here.


It is a bit sad the Elephant Rock has collapsed to half its previous size.

This is what the Hopewell Rocks looked like when Articulation visited in 2010 during their annual study session.

Luckily several Articulation members preserved in their artwork the popular rock as so many thousands of tourists remember it.

Wendy Klotz, Home and Away, wool, felting, hand stitching
Here is Wendy Klotz's depiction of the rock as it was.

Donna Clement, Erosion at Hopewell Rocks, dyeing, painting, machine sewing
And Donna's, worked in a different textile technique.

Donna Clement, Erosion at Hopewell Rocks, detail

Monday, December 7, 2015

Art as Therapy From the Weyburn Mental Hospital, Saskatchewan

In 1930 Weyburn Mental Hospital, Saskatchewan was the largest building in Canada.
Post WWII battle disorders caused a peak of the in-patient population in the hospital.
The Soo Line Historical Museum in Weyburn has a large room of artifacts from the hospital, many of which are rather horrifying.
They also have a collection of art painted by patients as a result of the art therapy program.

A project Articulation members are working on is a personal response to war. Some of the members are looking at how war affects the whole family not just those who go to war. 
The Soo Line Museum proved to be a rich primary resource for some members.

Ingrid Lincoln, Donna Clement, Mandy Onchulenko.
Equipped to carry out research: sketchbook/notebook, camera, a bag to hold pens, glue stick and gathered materials, sturdy walking shoes, dressed in layers and prepared for all weathers.

But we do stop for meals. Leann, our host, had scouted out a number of different places for us to try the full range of the local cuisine. 
We all enjoyed the Fireside Bistro in Regina located in what was originally a 1913 luxurious private home built in the arts and crafts style using embezzled public monies. That was the beginning of a most colourful history until it became a restaurant in 1979.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Soo Line Historical Museum - More Textiley Things

One never knows when a flash of inspiration for a work will strike.
Often an article stimulates a childhood memory and links to later life experiences.
Are you old enough to remember when general stores wrapped their customers' purchases in brown paper torn off a large roll.....

...and tied it with string. In the home, both brown paper and string were kept, along with the purchase because both had many further uses. Recycling is not a new concept, but maybe it could be expressed as an idea in a work using brown paper to reference another time of recycling?

Hand-cranked sock making machine
Textile related artifacts in museums often attract the eye of a fibre artist. Textile history is as long as human history so the fibre artist has a treasure trove of knowledge and techniques to pull from.

Spinning Niddy Noddy for making yarn into skeins ready to dye.
Every culture fashioned tools and equipment to work with fibre and cloth.

Often these tools are 'known' to us even when we have no idea how to use or operate them.
Any one of these textile related artifacts could stimulate the percolation of a new work for the fibre artist. 
During study sessions and retreats, Articulation members visit the local museums as well as the art galleries to provide depth and authenticity to their research. Observing, drawing, note taking and photographing and talking about primary resources makes a stronger connection to history, a more sensory-rich response to the environment and allows personal memories to be reactivated. The resulting work can have layers of meaning contained in a simple design, concept or story expressed in fibre and stitch that everyone can relate to on some level.