Christa Watson’s artisanal relationship with ostrich eggs started more than 20 years ago, thanks to a chance encounter with a horse.
As the Davis Bay artist recalled in an interview, she and her husband, Bob, were living on acreage outside Chilliwack in the mid 1990s, when one day a horse wandered into their garden. When they eventually found the itinerant animal’s owner, Watson met his wife and learned she carved ostrich eggs.
“They were just beautiful,” said Watson. “I said, ‘You think you could make one for me?’ And she just said, really sharp, ‘No.’” Watson decided then that she’d take up the craft herself. “I tried it, and I got hooked,” she said, “I soon learned why that woman said ‘no’ so quick – there’s so much work to it!”
Watson painstakingly learned the craft on her own. She works with a small, compressor-driven drill, cradling the egg in her lap. Each creation can take months of effort. Some of the eggs, which she sources, drained, from farms in the Fraser Valley, become embossed carvings with animal or flower themes, which she might choose to leave in their natural colour. With many shells, Watson penetrates the eighth-inch-thick shell to fashion various shapes. She then paints them, which takes yet more time.
“I just work on it till it’s right. If it’s not right, I just keep on doing it,” Watson said. “And I’m finished with it when it’s right for me. And that’s all that matters. If other people enjoy it, I’m pleased. But I don’t quit till I’m satisfied.”
She also has turned her hand to the occasional still-life painting, which show the same deft touch.
“I have always been interested in beautiful things, they interest me and they’re fun,” said Watson. “I had four kids. I always had to work and really never had too much time. But now that we’ve retired, I made the time and dropped all my other things.”
Watson sees the work as its own reward and doesn’t make much effort to market her carvings, which she retails for about $300 each, a pittance considering the time they take. “It’s not that I want to make money. The eggs are a challenge to me. Can I do it? And if I can do it then I’m happy. So that’s where I’m at.”
The dozen or so unworked eggshells in her studio suggest Watson has years of satisfying artisanship ahead of her. Watson is willing to show her works to interested buyers by appointment and can be reached at 604-885-6659.
Upcoming contemporary art exhibit featuring a collection of overlapping drawings as 'illegible, messy scribbles' – Kelowna News – Castanet.net
A Kelowna-based artist is showcasing a new type of art exhibit, focusing on a collection of overlapping drawings that are illegible, messy scribbles for contemporary art.
The Iranian-Canadian artist, Aileen Bahmanipour, has created what she expresses as ‘useless drawings that contradict the very purpose of drawing, which is to have something the viewer is able to see.’
Described as both ‘an image-maker and image-breaker,’ Bahmanipour, exhibit if one that took inspiration from milling machines, extraction tools, and other similar industrial machines that separate particles from materials.
The Wasting Techniques exhibit hosts a series of complex drawings are on clear acetate sheets and will also be sprayed regularly with a spitting machine, which will overtime wash away the drawings and turn them into stains on the floor.
The exhibit also includes multiple ways for visitors to interact with the exhibition, either in person or over a live stream. Two cameras have been set up by the artist, one in front of the transparent sheet and one behind.
“We are intrigued to see the evolution of this exhibition over the next 6 weeks as the artworks change and transform from the spitting machine. Bahmanipour has created an exhibition that avoids being static by not only the transformative quality of the work, but the multiple access points for visitors to experience it,” Artistic and Administrative Director, Lorna McParland said in a press release.
Wasting Techniques will be on view in the Main Gallery of the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art from Jan. 29 to March 13, 2021.
Visitors will also have an opportunity to learn more about Bahmanipour with an upcoming artist talk with them via zoom on Feb. 18. To learn more and register to participate, visit the Alternator Centre’s website.
Weekend Round-Up: Stylish Set-Dressing, Madden Strategy, And Parisian Art – HODINKEE
Peter Schjeldahl has been the head art critic at The New Yorker since 1998. I would be lying to you if I said I was a frequent reader of his work, but I’ve always made it a point to bookmark his criticism when I stumble across it. That doesn’t mean I always return to it, mind you, but his writing generally ends up saved inside a perpetually growing list of need-to-read tabs on my laptop, waiting for me to grow restless enough to come back to it. This week, I opened up one of his more recently published pieces, The Art Of Dying, from December 2019. In this thoughtful piece of self-reflection, Schjeldahl discusses a recent lung cancer diagnosis, his years of sobriety, and how he’s lived his life thus far. Nothing is normal these days, and Schjeldahl’s writing here reminds us that we’re all nothing but a sum of our personal experiences and that how we tell our story truly matters. I highly recommend it.
– Logan Baker, Editor, HODINKEE Shop
Italian art gallery becomes a COVID-19 vaccine centre – The Globe and Mail
The Castello di Rivoli, near Turin, has been a marvel of reinvention over its thousand-year history. It has been a castle – castello in Italian – royal palace, military barracks, refugee centre and, lately, a UNESCO World Heritage site and art gallery.
In March or April, it will assume another role, COVID-19 vaccination centre, when the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, the site’s main tenant, opens its galleries to visitors who fancy combining a bit of culture with their inoculations.
The idea of turning one of Europe’s best-known contemporary art museums into a temporary health clinic was conceived by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, 63, the museum’s American-Italian director. “Art has always helped and healed,” she said. “It provides an experience that includes and involves others and can be a form of therapy to treat trauma.”
While vaccinations are normally not considered traumatic experiences, getting one in an airy gallery might take the edge off any lingering jab anxiety. Polls suggest there is vaccine hesitancy among significant minorities of Europeans.
The vaccines will be administered in the third-floor gallery of the museum, where the walls are lined with the creations of Claudia Comte, a Swiss artist whose work, according to museum literature, comprises “large scale environmental installations … of a form of consciousness primarily shaped through the digital experience.”
While Ms. Comte’s art may not be to everyone’s taste, the gallery no doubt beats a sterile, windowless hospital room as a vaccination centre. Ms. Comte is also working on what Ms. Christov-Bakargiev called a “soothing, calming” soundtrack that will be played while medics administer the vaccines.
After they get their jabs, the newly inoculated will be allowed to wander the lower galleries (assuming Italian pandemic restrictions allow them to open), where one of the new installations will include Sex, by German visual artist Anne Imhof. Works by Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and Amadeo Modigliani are also on display.
The vaccinations will be done by the local health authority, which will have to ensure that the proper safety protocols are in place. Ms. Christov-Bakargiev said the museum should be ideal for the inoculation effort, since it is already equipped with thermal scanners and a climate-control system and has ample space for physical distancing, waiting rooms and vaccination booths. The third floor covers 10,000 square feet.
She said the idea of turning the museum into a vaccination centre came to her months ago but took on new urgency on Dec. 13, when museum chairman Fiorenzo Alfieri died of COVID-19 after a month-long illness. He was 77.
“The day after he died, I thought that I needed to do something more than close the museum during the pandemic and wait,” she said. “We had to do something more.”
Many museums and art galleries in Europe began as hospitals, including Les Invalides in Paris and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, home of Picasso’s Guernica. Castello di Rivoli is just doing it in reverse order – a museum that is becoming, in effect, a hospital.
According to Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker, Italy, which has seen 83,000 pandemic deaths, had administered more than 1.2 million vaccine does by Jan. 19. Ranked by doses per 100 people, the tally puts it well ahead of the European Union average.
Italian health authorities are planning to open vaccination sites in public spaces across the country, including city squares. Cultura Italiae, a group of cultural leaders, has proposed that other museums and cultural centres copy the Castello di Rivoli vaccination model. After all, “public museums are committed to creating an accessible, pluralistic space to serve our community,” Ms. Christov-Bakargiev said.
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