|Wunderkammer, interactive multimedia: linocut, collage, wooden box, electronics, sound files, 2017 by Ele Willoughby|
Another new experience this year was running an art gallery! I'm so glad that Emma talked me into taking on the Toronto Etsy Street Team Gallery, because truth is, I think I would have shied away from the financial risk. But it was a great experience and I'm proud of what we pulled off. I curated my first show, Wunderkammer, with a wonderful collection - a cabinet of curiosity in fact, of science art from some favourite and new-to-me artists. I went on to curate and organize shows about Canada, help foster Rebecca Vaughan curate and participate in Love Your Body, curate and participate in a Mesozoic themed the Dinovember show. I was also really pleased to take part in Tosca Terran's UnNatural History show at the gallery, where I showed my entire unnatural print collection.
2017 also some some great collaborations. WWEST's Phylo Women in STEM trading cards came out this spring. Definitely my favourite commission of 2016, was making and submitting five of my portraits of women. I have previously submitted some art for UBC's Dave Ng's earlier project to use trading cards as a natural historian's version of Pokemon. This latest set brings attention to women in science and technology, throughout history, and the hurdles facing women and under-represented groups. He told me he had seen my blog post about the death of physicist, material scientist and archeometry pioneer Ursula Franklin and it encouraged him to include her, as a great scientist, role model and Canadian. As you can see (above), I've also illustrated marine geologist Marie Tharp, physicist Lise Meitner, seismologist Inge Lehmann and proto-computer scientist Ada Lovelace. The sets are available from Phylo and you are even free to download and print your own!
2017 also saw my home, studio and peculiar combination of jobs and interests as the subject of this Toronto Star article. I participated in another Bees (& the Birds) show. I did all the Toronto Etsy Street Team craft shows: the Midsummer Market, Etsy Made in Canada (where I enjoyed playing second fiddle for the first time) and the Christmas Maket. I sold at the One of a Kind Christmas show once again. I had artwork selected for the Leftovers VI Silent Auction, in Boise, Idaho, and 'Life as we knew it' and 'LUNAR' art shows at Art.Science.Gallery in Austin, Texas.
On the home front, our son turned four at the end of November, which means that he was able to start kindergarten in September. This is a big shift and I'm still getting used to it. He's now at school 6 hours a day, which frees me up to have much more freedom and control of my time and schedule and he loves it and is flourishing!
I love most of all that this list is very mixed: art, science, family life, and I'm keeping people guessing. When I was young I thought I had to choose, but I think in 2017 I did a good job of not choosing and being as much of a Renaissance woman as I can. I'm rather enjoying not having to define myself one way. This year once again promises new things and I'm looking forward to seeing what it brings.