Almost-forgotten music

Winter stayed and stayed, and its quiet way of being has stretched into these daylight months. Now, the almost-forgotten music of leaf on leaf fills the air, and the sun's touch delights my skin, and colour and song are everywhere. I think I've met a new bird every day this week. I've also printed like a demon, for no good reason, just needing to finish a project that's been with me a while.

I am wondering what will happen next. I mean, I know what will happen next... sort of: summer will come, the long days will make me drunk, I'll dig in my garden and make some art. But will it all mean something else when I wake up tomorrow?




Past and Future

I don't know why the end of the winter always makes me feel nostalgic. Maybe it is about waking up from all the deep dreaming I do in the dark months, waking up and remembering the life I lived before winter, and the life still to be lived (can one be nostalgic for the future? how about nostalgia for alternate realities?). Maybe we all emerge from winter tender as new leaves.

Anyway, for several months, I've been busy sifting through photographs and trying to remember dimensions, and generally being forced to reflect on what I've been up to the last several years, while my friend, graphic designer Kristy Read developed a website for me. Dear blog, don't take this the wrong way, but this is finally the elegant, grown-up (yet-Basmian) website I've always wanted. Dear friends and friendly strangers, I hope you will visit: http://www.basmakavanagh.ca/

And, as usual, I have several other things cooking. Some have simmered almost long enough (they're thick and sticky and smell just right). I'll serve them up any minute now. The others, well...they might mature overnight like mushrooms, or they might be 14 year cicada larvae. It's hard to say... but at least one of them will be:


Oh Bacon, Bacon

I've been playing around with eel imagery for months now, knowing I would soon be collaborating with my sister on an eel poster series, incorporating my images and quotes about eels from Mi'kmaq Elders who have helped her in her thesis research on eels. We finally got down to work last weekend. These posters will be used as gifts, and as educational resources.

Here's Sana getting ready to pull the first print of our eel motif (actually, several eels) from a photopolymer plate.

Voila! The first eels.

Here I am wiping some extra ink off the boxcar base. That's a school of bacon swimming on the plate, one of several elements on our second poster.

I'm sure you can imagine that we worked up quite an appetite.

Good thing we had all those tasty prints around.


It's funny how the really crazy stuff never makes it into photos. Setting the Mi'kmaq texts in the type we had at hand was pretty challenging. There simply weren't enough q's or k's...but we managed. Not to mention the weird spacing... this typeface was not designed with words that start with "Wj" in mind.

However, by Sunday evening, although we had tired feet and sore hands, we also had a rack full of finished posters. Yeah, there was some giggling in there too, not to mention a totally new version of a well-known pop song. It went something like this:

"Oh bacon, bacon, how was I supposed to know..."


Sap and Sprouts

I have a lot of little projects growing at the moment, all at different stages of development... some are merely subtle subconscious stirrings, others actually underway but seemingly perpetually-in-progress. Yet -- it all feels right for this time of year. It still looks like winter out there, but underneath the snow and the river ice, all sorts of things are happening.

One of the things brewing is a new website, which will allow this blog to be more "bloggy"... a place for ideas and process, rather than finished products. In that spirit, I am posting a video of my most inspiring spring moment so far, recorded at the mouth of the Fraser River in Vancouver at the end of February.

Perhaps the season I'm looking forward to isn't Spring, but Sing....
(and yup, it's sideways...but it's all about the audio).


My Own Devices

So. It's winter. The nights are long, and suddenly, I've got loads of time for making stuff. I splurged on some vellum a couple of years ago, and I've finally given myself permission to use some. Boy, is it an amazing material.

This little (4" x 3 1/4" x 1") improvised limp vellum binding has silk ribbon ties and is sewn into the vellum with gray silk cord. When I say improvised, I mean I have no idea what I'm doing, just trying to make something that I like based on photos of old books that I liked too. Hopefully, this little book will also function well, and endure.

Now, I'm sure I'm not the first person to think of this, but playing with some curly
scraps of vellum, I couldn't resist constructing this little book ring.

I've decided that I'm on sabbatical this year. I haven't decided what that means, precisely, since of course, I will have to keep working. Perhaps this means more room to experiment, permission to say no to certain things, fewer self-imposed or external deadlines. Sigh.

I'm starting my mental holiday off right: with a small show of new, sculptural paintings in my new home town of Kentville, at the Designer Cafe, 373 Main St. If you're in town, I hope you'll stop in for a look. They make a mean coffee too.