Sunday, August 24, 2014

Hammerhead Hedgehorse

Hammerhead Hedgehorse
Hammerhead Hedgehorse, by Ele Willoughby, 2014,
Linocut mini print (printed area 10 cm x 10 cm or 4" x 4", on 18 cm by 18 cm sheet of Japanese kozo paper with chine collé blue Japanese tissue)

Some believe that the hammerhead hedgehorse is imaginary. Who am I to say?

Though it appears to be an extraordinarily tall hedgehog, with hoof-like feet and uncanny peripheral vision, the hammerhead hedgehorse is not closely related to the hedgehog. Its nearest neighbour, genetically speaking, is the pygmy hippo. They may appear to have horse-like hooves, but they do in fact have four toes and are hence even-toed ungulates, like the hippo family. Over the millenia, the taller proto-hedgehorses proved more successful at scanning the rivers for predators. Likewise, through the process of natural selection, those animals with increasingly shorter, wider snouts and greater peripheral vision afforded by wider spaced eyes, were better able to spot and escape predators and hence more likely to pass on their genes. Their name, in fact, is inspired by their unlikely ressemblance to the hammerhead shark - also, not a close relative. The hammerhead hedgehorse is a semi-aquatic mammal, not a fish, despite the well-known folktale about the fisherman and the bag of hammerhead hedgehorses. It is believed that the folktale is the source of the collective noun for these animals: "a bag" and the expression "as crazy as a bag of hammerhead hedgehorses".

Adult males can grow to 15 cm in height (or 6 inches) and females are somewhat smaller at 14 cm (or 15.5 inches). They are covered in spines made of keratin, much like a hedgehog and can vary in colour from blue-greens to brown.

In other news, the pop-up sale at Hunt Club in Little Italy has been post-poned until further notice. I'll let you know when they have an opportunity to reschedule.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Go Ahead and Do It

Florence Nightingale portrait
'Florence Nightingale', 2nd ed., 12" x 12" on Japanese kozo paper with chine collé, by Ele Willoughby, 2014

I made a second edition of my portrait of Florence Nightingale. I wanted a simpler, darker colour scheme and to print it on larger sheets to allow more negative space around her. I'm gathering up and framing my female scientists you see, for 'Go Ahead and Do It: Portraits of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics', a group exhibit at Art.Science.Gallery in Austin, September 13 through October 14! This is the perfect exhibit topic for me and I'm pretty excited about it. I only wish I could be there. If you're in Austin, there's an Opening September 13, and a party on October 14th, which will be Ada Lovelace Day. The show is curated by science writer and photographer Maia Weinstock, who will be hosting a Wikipedia edit-a-thon for images of women in STEM on October 13, as well as gallery owner, scientist and artist Hayley Gillespie. Maia, Hayley and about 10 other artists will also be showing their scientist portraits in all sorts of media. The title of the show is a quotation from computing pioneer Grace Hopper, whom I've yet to portray, but who is on the to do list.

Speaking of going ahead and doing it, I'm also preparing for the Hunt & Gather pop-up market at Huntclub gallery in Little Italy, August 22nd to 24th, and the In the Round show at Graven Feather on Queen West this November. Not to mention the big one: I'll be doing the One of a Kind Show from December 2 to 7th! I have a 5 foot by 10 foot booth, which we have to design and build as well as all the preparations of things to sell. But, before that, there's Etsy:Made in Canada Toronto Edition at MaRS, which I'm organizing with my trusty TESTy & 416Hustler leaders, and where I'll also be selling. Cause nothing says "taking a year off for mat leave" like organizing a show for 120 vendors after a successful 30-vendor show, doing 4 art shows in two countries, 3 pop-ups,  giving a couple of invited public lectures, running a small art business, creating art, writing, blogging, and teaching on-line. Basically, I'm almost as busy as I was previously, but now with less sleep and greater likelihood that I have a baby-related stain somewhere on my person. 1

1 When the baby was first born we watched all of Kingdom on Netflicks, cause other than baby care and attempting to feed ourselves, watching a gentle English TV series was about all we could muster. Basically it's Stephen Fry as tiny market-town solicitor being charming, and assorted English character actors trying to upstage him. Phyllida Law succeeds. Anyhow, there's one season with a baby where I heard the best approach to these issues. Young articling solicitor tells his boss Kingdom (Fry) that he has baby-sick on his suit. Fry's response? "Yes."