Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to school I go.....again.

After years of saying "I should have been a graphic designer", I had an aha moment the other day.  Go back to school and become one.  So I shall.  

I LOVE to learn.  The list of classes I have taken in the last few years alone, online and in person, is diverse:

  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe InDesign
  • Shopify
  • Wordpress
  • Snowboarding
  • Enameling
  • Macro Photography
  • etc....

 I'm currently learning Rhino 5, although the certified class I signed up for was cancelled.  I'll figure it out:).  

When I arrived in Calgary in my early 20's, one of the first things I did was sign up for western riding lessons, simply because I had always wanted to learn how to gallop on a horse.  I experience no embarrassment as a matter what the subject.

I've spent the past few days researching this idea.  I could attend a physical University or College, but I prefer the flexibility of online learning.  This really is the future of higher education.  Don't even get me started on the outdated models of teaching used by many educational institutions, and the archaic practices of Universities for some programs...NOT all.  I'm 95% decided that The Graphic Design School based in Australia will be my initial foray into this.  I like their fundamentals program, and I think it will give me enough to decide whether to further pursue a degree program or other learning.  I currently have no desire for any sort of designation, just knowledge.   I have a good eye and decent sense of style, which I think is important,  but I'm interested in learning the fundamentals of color, layout, etc.  I also do well when I have assignments to do, and a community of others to share with.  

I currently do all of my own marketing and display materials, photography and website, but I know about 1% of what a professional may. The next step may be their web design program.  It's all fluid.

My goal for this is to start a virtual graphic design business to help artists and sole entrepreneurs with their marketing materials, at a reasonable cost.  It breaks my heart when I see people with poorly designed business cards, signage, etc., thinking they can't afford to have someone help them.  For example, when you have a beautiful business card, people actually keep it, and will show others....even if just because of it's physical attributes...think Moo cards.  The person they pass it to may actually be interested in YOU.

At 51, I have about 25 years of work left...meaning I WANT to continue working for another 25 years, on projects that inspire me and make me happy.   I can't envision a time when I don't want to be engaging my brain in a creative way.  If you are contemplating doing something, or making a change.....DO IT!  It is NEVER too late.  I've often said that if I feel like going to medical school in my 50's, I will. Funny, I just googled that and look what I found:)  I'm not alone.

At 50, I took up snowboarding.  I SUCK.  I am still on the baby hill, and may remain there.  I went with a friend, and after we battled the beast, we looked up at the mountain and she said "Is that the hill we were just on? There is not even a slope!":)  We had fun.  That's the goal.  If you want to learn something, research it today.  And, let me know.  I might be interested:)

Yes, I will still be producing art.  That will never stop.  Since I'm inspired by technology, expect my work to grow and change.

Stay tuned.

p.s.  Many thanks to my dear friend, and fellow creative, Diane MacLeod, for our school photo.  She is the historian in the group.  I am second row, 2nd from left, in my favorite polyester and vinyl dress:)


To visitors of the New Art Festival in Ottawa

I cannot thank you enough for your support and kindness at The New Art Festival in June.  I was once again overwhelmed at the response, especially to my new works in paper. I find that the people who attend this show (rain or shine....always) have a true appreciation of not just time-honored mediums, but contemporary fine craft.  As someone whose drawing skills are suspect, and communicates through untraditional use of traditional mediums, this keeps me going.  Again, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Major changes for this year...



I've written recently on my Facebook page that this is a development year for me.  I love what I do and create, but felt something was really just out of my grasp with my designs.  A step back was necessary.  I picked up my long forgotten jewelry saw (albeit a fancy, schmancy new one, but you get the drift) and rediscovered my love of some traditional metalsmithing techniques.  When working on my tiny gate in October I realized how much I missed melting, fusing, hammering, and just your basic hand working of silver.  


1.5" diam.  Tiny, tiny, tiny.....:)

1.5" diam. 


I've also been experimenting wildly with combining paper and silver, which has been a delight.  I've purchased a new, professional level die cutter which makes my heart sing.....I LOVE my tools:)  I love nothing more than hearing:  'Well, this one has a huge learning curve....'.  It's a challenge I happily relish.  I would have thought that I would have jumped on the 3d printer bandwagon, but for me the joy is in designing on the computer, but then putting hand to design to make the final piece come together.  Die cutting paper allows me to do that.  Much of my time has been spent researching archival papers/ finishes and glues....another task that makes me happy.  I adore the fact that my papers come from an Italian factory that has been producing paper since 1264!  I'm also incorporating some Japanese handmade papers, created using such ancient techniques that the number of families in Japan who make them are slowly dwindling.



Along these lines, I can't wait to present my Craftcast class on the basics of using the Silhouette Cameo die cutter.  This is a wonderful, affordable machine that can do anything that a paper or metal clay artist requires, if you treat it right and speak kindly to it:)  I get a particular joy in breaking down technology for people.  I'll also be teaching how to make a paper cuff, as I find that it's easier to get the hang of something when you're actually using it and making something. 


I'll be travelling to Holyoak, MA in April to take private enamelling classes with the great Angela Gerhard.   I am so thrilled with this.  I've wanted to incorporate enamelling into my vignettes and boxes for years, but was not ready until now.  Private classes work best for me as I have very specific needs, and as a learner I'm a 'get in, get my questions answered, get out' kind of gal.


So far, the only show I'm doing this year is the Ottawa New Art Festival.  I LOVE this show.  I've written much in the past as to how the people of Ottawa come out rain or shine....and it seems to pour rain every year!  Part of my development year includes a vastly reduced show schedule, and to that end I will not be presenting at the Muskoka Summer Show or the One of a Kind Show.  I'll be applying to Picton Maker's Hand and will let you know if I am accepted again.  This is a small show, and they like to keep it fresh for the attendees, so one never knows.  I have another venue that I am considering, but I've got a few weeks to decide on whether to apply.


And....just because I currently have no broken bones, I will be attempting snowboarding again this weekend....Didn't want to waste a perfectly good 51 year old body:)