Thursday, June 27, 2013

Two-Headed Turtles

I've had the image of a two-headed turtle, with a variously patterned shell, in my mind for some time. This week I've been making a series of linocut artwork on this subject.

Two-Headed Turtle ITwo-Headed Turtle II
Two-Headed Turtle IIITwo-Headed Turtle IV
Two-Headed Turtle VTwo-Headed Turtle VI

This is a continuation of the series of linocuts embellished with all sorts of beautiful ephemera and Japanese papers. Some of the subjects are imaginary, some are real. The two-headed turtle is in the middle ground. While fantastical there are many examples of polycephaly (multiple-headedness) in turtles. In fact, just yesterday, AP reported on a two-headed turtle born at the San Antonion zoo named Thelma and Louise, an, um, improbably named Texas cooter. Like human conjoined twins, the two-headed turtles result from the failed separation of monozygotic twins. These animals often occur in mythology. The sections of its shell, and lily pads are printed on Japanese washi papers or on the pages of a suminagashi marbled vintage French book. Each multimedia artwork is one of a kind!

Monday, June 24, 2013


white squirrel2

So, while working this morning, I've been having a conversation on twitter with Ratatoskr the Old Norse Squirrel messanger god, about the Legendary White Squirrel of Trinity-Bellwoods, along with the White Squirrel himself, cause that's what you do.

Incidentally, I've been reading A.S. Byatt's Ragnarok: The End of the Gods, so Yggdrasil seems to be the recurring theme of late.
    1. my 'terms of venery' linocuts Love those collective nouns for animals
    2. I am impressed by the glowing red eyes of the Legendary White Squirrel
    3. . Thank you very much! The (and family) do indeed have some eerie pink-red eyes..
    4. I believe & Co. were the inspiration for Cronenberg's “Scanners”...
    5. . Ah! Hmmm.... that's definitely a new twist on the story of the Legendary White Squirrel of Trinity-Bellwoods

    6. Believe me, nobody hunts or traps squirrels while is around. He's the 's secret weapon.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Ele & Roger-0020 I've been busy lately, and haven't posted much, but I have a good excuse. We got married June 8th! Beforehand, there was a lot of preparations to be made. Afterwards, we took a little mini Honeymoon staycation. I made almost all of the decorations (hundreds of paper flowers, faux Mercury glass vases, a giant blue paper rose bouquet, a curtain of sparkly heart garlands with fancy Japanese and Thai papers, paper flower garlards), the invitation (I made a large linocut in silver on dark blue washi paper and did the type design in PhotoShop, with advice and printing help from my friend Michelle of thunderpeep), I used my invite print to make a large hand-bound guestbook, RJH and I assembled little favour boxes of gladiolus bulbs (to which I also added a small reproduction of my hand-printed invitation heart). I recruited some flower-making help from Mom and my bride's maids Reynardin and Faunalia. R&F also made us a 'Ele & Roger Are Getting Married' bunting, with handcut paper letters in silver and blues, suspended from a fine silver ribbon - and, most spectacularly F baked and decorated the wedding cake (and topper) with help from R. There were three tiers and flavours and blue ombre icing. The handmade theme extended to gifts (at least on my side) with a necklace from Navahaus, rude cross-stitch by Crass Stitches and custom cuff-links with a vintage map of Woodstock, New Brunswick for the groom by Emma of Landfill Designs. I also made my own fascinator (well, embellished barret with silk and silk flowers).
Ele & Roger-0026
Ele & Roger-0034
Ele & Roger-0054

Ele & Roger-0191We got married on Ward's Island, at the old Ward's Island Association Clubhouse. Built in the 1930s, the building has a lot of character. The bridal party showed up early on Saturday morning to decorate. After a bit, the groom suggested that the bride and bride's maids return to the mainland to get dressed up. I think he didn't want me to fret watching him on the ladder. Luckily after we left, the 2nd groom's man and his wife showed up and they were able to finish and get dressed up themselves (minus the best man's shoes... he was in red Converse sneakers until his wife arrived later!) The women rode back on the ferry to our nearby hotel to get changed. My mother stopped by to bring us all hankercheifs. When we were ready, we walked down to the ferry, where we met a lot of the guests - some of his family for the first time. One of the things we really like about the Island is that it feels like the country, and the ferry gives you a sense of travelling to a destination, yet it is only 15 minutes from downtown. Also, since the groom stayed on the Island, I got to surprise him when we arrived and he got the first glimpse of me in my dress.

Ele & Roger-0217

I found this vintage-reproduction dress at Cabaret with F. It wasn't the one which caught my eye, but the nicest salesman in the world convinced me to try it on; it fit like a glove. The rest of what I wore was inspired by the dress; something-blue shoes with a sort of vintage look, the flowers in my hair, a pin at my waist from my paternal grandmother and a necklace from my maternal grandmother (borrowed from Mom) of a similar vintage to the look of the dress.

Ele & Roger-0723

We both got to greet and mingle with guests before the ceremony. The groom's men and my brothers were assigned to gather people to take their seats - but I realized my bouquet was inside... so I poked my head in the window and whispered to the groom, much to the amusement of nearby guests. I walked the aisle with both of my parents (though Mom almost forgot). Roger hired Sandy MacIntyre, a well-known Cape Breton fiddler who played with his son on guitar (cause you can take the boy out of the the Maritimes, but you can't take the Maritimes out of the boy). We wrote our vows together, and shared a single cue card (which also seemed to entertain people). A pair of swallows swooped around the barrel ceiling, prompting the Officiant to call them love birds. I loved the relaxed feel, which was what we had been hoping for. We managed to forget the cake topper in the hotel room, but prevailed upon Blythechild's trusty husband Synap to speed back in a water taxi to recover it. He was back before we even finished out photos after the ceremony (and before the reception).

Ele & Roger-1203Ele & Roger-1229

I love that we had a wedding where the kids could run around on the neighbouring bowling green, do cartwheels, catch a toad and spell our names out in popped balloons. It was small and intimate. We were very happy that so many people came from so far and we thought about those who were unable to be there. It was a beautiful day.

The gate-crashers:
bird gate-crashers
toad gate-crasher
Ele & Roger-0065

[Our photographer was Dave Chan, who was amazing. Most of these photos are his. All photos have credits if you click on them and in the meta-data.]

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

motion-detector frog

frog RJH bought me a motion-detector frog* (yes, you read that right) the other day, at the dollar store (yes, believe it or not there are a large number of motion-detector frogs there) to cheer me up. See, this is a pretty demented, simple, electronic product, and its existence and unexpected availabilty amuses me. I mean, who knew there was a demand for motion-detector frogs? He didn't seem very sensitive and at first did not ribbit until poked (the frog that is, not RJH). He was happily sitting, silently in my studio, until he decided that my every tiny move was cause to ribbit. So, I decided to place him outside to scare squirrels from my herb garden. Sadly, he's now responding to every tiny breeze and I think I had better go move him before he drives the neighbours mad.

*Not exactly as illustrated. That's a actual, real-live frog I photographed in NB. The motion detector frog is sort of like that, except more plastic, and prone to sporadically playing a recorded ribbit.**

**'Ribbit' is a Canadian word for the sound made by a frog, used also as a verb. I recall hearing a CBC radio interview with the OED who had recently decided to include it in its new editions. Apparently, outside of Canada, frogs just croak, which is weird if you've ever listened to the wide array of frog song. Strangely it was also the name of our high school mascot.