Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Etsy: Made in Canada & UnNatural History plus Dinovember

This Saturday, September 23, we're returning to MaRS for our 4th Etsy: Made in Canada show! 

This year, I'll be selling my prints and hand-printed textiles at Table 38 in the west side of the Atrium off University Avenue. I'm enjoying stepping back a little, playing a role in the organizational committee but not being the leader. I've handed over the reigns to my friend (and show neighbour at Table 40) Emma of Landfill Designs is the ringleader this year! So, I get much more opportunity to simply enjoy one of the biggest and best shows of the year. Show up early for a chance to get one of our fabled swag bags! There will be a great juried selection of 125 local artists, artisans, designers, vintage purveryors and makers. Hope to see you there! Click on the maps to see larger images and plan your route.

I'm also excited to announce I'll be taking part in An UnNatural History! Local multimedia (metal and glass) sculptor and jewellery maker Tosca Terran of nanopod is curating an international group show which takes inspiration from the history of the artistic representation of natural history to investigate the unreal including "hybrid organisms, fictional fungi/botany, distant imaginary worlds, unusual geometry, otherworldly life, geography, animals, minerals, astronomy, genetic mutations." This subject dovetails with my own investigations of fictional science and my "Unnatural history" series of prints and I'm excited to see my work in context of this group and others' interpretation of these fascinating ideas. Tosca is also planning some fabulous events to coincide with the show including a Halloween party Opening, bat skeleton articulation workshops and Dias de los Muertos themed sugar skull workshops all at the Toronto Etsy Street Team Gallery!

Then in November, I'm curating the DINOVEMBER show, celebrating all things dinosaurs! This exhibition will feature art in all media and handcrafted items about everyone's favourite extinct behemoths*, the dinosaurs! For Dinovember we are seeking dinosaur items from imaginative artworks to scientific illustrations to handmade toys and other goods.

Other non-dinosaur Mesozoic creatures are also welcome! We love flying and marine reptiles, prehistoric fish and more.

*Diminuative dinosaurs are also welcome. Find out more here.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Beetles, Pangolins & Back to School

Beetles, 11" x 14" linocut with collaged washi, Ele Willoughby 2017
 When I did my demo for 'Washi Wednesday' at the Japanese Paper Place I had the idea of showing how I could print a single lino block to highlight the two main ways I incorporate various coloured and patterned washi papers into my work. I carved a lino block with an array of different interesting beetles and printed them both on papers to let me produce naturalistic images, mimicking as closely as possible the colours and sheen of these beetles in nature, and on a welter of wonderful patterned washi for imaginative reinterpretations of these beetles. The print shows, from left to right, top to bottom: Goliath beetle, Calligrapha verrucosa, blowout tiger beetle, Fruhstorferia sexmaculata, Phaedon oviformis, Reindeer beetle, Ceratophyus martinez, Erythrus ardens. Below are the first four "Other Beetles" in their wild colours and patterns.

Other Beetles I, 11" x 14" linocut with collaged washi, Ele Willoughby 2017

Other Beetles II, 11" x 14" linocut with collaged washi, Ele Willoughby 2017

Other Beetles III, 11" x 14" linocut with collaged washi, Ele Willoughby 2017

Other Beetles IV, 11" x 14" linocut with collaged washi, Ele Willoughby 2017

I've also started on a series of pangolins. The ground pangolin (Smutsia temminckii), is one of the eight armour-plated mammals of the order Pholidota. The keratin scales made of fused hairs overlap like a pinecone or the leaves of an artichoke. When threatened the pagolin rolls up into an inpreganble ball or emit a noxious-smelling chemical like a skunk. They have sharp claws to burrow into ant or termite mounds and extremely long tongues like anteaters. All 8 species are vulnerable or endangered, due to hunting (for meat and scales) and deforestation. They are the most trafficked animals in the world.

Pangolin I, 16" x 11" linocut print on collaged washi papers, Ele Willoughby, 2017

I am making a series of prints on beautiful Japanese washi papers. The scene is printed on handmade gampi udaban paper, 41 cm by 27.7 cm (16 inches by 11 inches) with a deckle edge. Each of the scales is printed on various handmade, colourful, patterned papers. This print is one of a series of prints, each with its own unique pattern of scales.

Today is a really big day in our household. We sent out 3.6 year old son off for his first day of Junior Kindergarten. It's quite the experience for all of us. I think parents and son alike are filled with excitement and trepedation for this new stage of life. I hope he's safe and happy and learning and having fun. He was very excited to go to school, but looked quite concerned when he realized he would be left there with the other students rather than coming home with me. I've spent most of my day wondering how he's doing, of course.