Think about it.
When admitted to hospital, having doctors and nurses keeping watch over you, providing a calm and safe place for you to heal… Do you stop to say how truly grateful you are for them?
Do you acknowledge that these people, in the health and helping sector also have lives, their own people to take care of, and also have themselves to nurture?
All the countless hours of helping strangers, in all sorts of stages of life and health, at any time of day or night- being ready to not only provide medical care, but also a kind and thoughtful approach to you and your health.
Yes, I know, it is their job. But still- shouldn’t we still voice our gratitude once in a while?
Recently spending time in the hospital, I spent two nights in the new Dawson City Hospital- and I must say, what a beautiful centre as a brand new building, but also as a community of doctors, therapists, nurses, and pharmacist.
Gone were the fears of strange hospitals, with cracking paint and scuffed floors, and that awful lysol/sickly smell of unwell people. What I found were beautiful murals, spacious rooms, and wonderful staff. Because of my situation- I had to have an eye kept on me, so I got to know some of the nurses quite well- (on a patient/nurse kind of terms I guess)
The genuine humour, laughter, and interest they had shown in both myself and my artwork was so wonderful. I immediately felt safe, calm, and content in my room. It is amazing how your environment and mental state can affect your quality of sleep. – even sleeping on a hospital bed- (a.k.a. – a bit like sleeping on a block of wood) I slept like a rock, and woke up in a calm, almost meditative manner. What a wonderful change to the not-so-good nights I had been having previously.
So- To thank all these wonderful people. I decided to create my Community Project into something that would acknowledge all the special people at the Dawson City Hospital. (At least- the ones that I was lucky enough to have as providers of care for me)
How I did this was I began to knit.
I love knitting- and have always found it very therapeutic. Lately, I have been making these little pouches, “Marsupial-satchels” I call them. To carry special things that one may find dear to their heart.
Using beautiful yarn my mother had sent me in a care-package, I began to knit and crochet thinking of all the caring people who I had met when I was at the hospital. With every stitch, I silently said thank you, with every little detail, I silently reminded myself how grateful I was to have crossed paths with them. It was a very healing and meditative experience to create these little pouches. I knitted eleven pouches. And then included a little letter within each one. Here is a quote from the letter:
“Just wanted to say thank you for all of your help and patience over these past few weeks. To be able to have a safe place to go to when on cannot provide that for herself is a blessing. Therefore ~ Thank you, for being YOU! As part of my Community project for SOVA, I would very much appreciate any comments, feedback, etc. on what you think of your homemade marsupial-satchels. I wanted to give a token of appreciation, ~ you may keep, give away, switch, as you like with these little pouches. Just wanted to show in my own little way, how thankful I am for crossing paths with you ~ as you have made it a more positive one to walk.”
A close up- I hand wrote the letter, and made photocopies, providing my email and blog address for people to check out this article, and maybe even leave some feedback about what they thought about it all!
Here I am wearing one – to show size and where they would approx. rest on the body. – This pouch was made for one of the amazing doctors I am lucky enough to see once a week to help me through this all.
So far, I have not heard back from any of the medical staff on what they thought about their little marsupial-satchels. I hope to hear via email, or face to face, what they thought about it. Even if I don’t hear a peep from anyone- I know that I myself felt love and joy making and giving these away to those that had helped me, so hopefully, that loving energy will be passed along with these pouches to the 11 gentle souls who made my life a little easier to cope with this past month.
And that is my Community Project.
And by that- I mean getting my face plaster casted for my assignment dealing with prosthetics.
First Step: Cover entire face, neck, ears, hairline, eyebrows, lips, etc. with a thick layer of Vaseline.
Step two: Have two assistants that you trust and that have previous plaster casting experience to assist you. You will be completely useless and blind in a matter of moments. So pick your assistants wisely.
I chose Bronwyn and Justice. The super-couple of SOVA. Both very talented artists. Watch out people- this duo-power is out to crash and conquer the art world!
Step 3: Have your assistants begin to plaster your face. It is honestly a rather relaxing experience. This picture was taken before they blinded me for the next hour or so.
The perks with having artists do this- is that you will have a two people who can think on their feet, strategize, and always have aesthetics in mind
Step Four: This is where I am completely unaware of what these two goof balls do whilst working on my face. I can hear, smell, but not speak or see. I have asked them to document the process- and document they did. With lots of “selfies” – Oh how I love my friends.
Finishing touches on my nostrils.
Strips of plaster had to be cut and specially fitted for the bridge, nostril, and delicate parts of my nose, eyelids and other parts of my face that proved finicky.
Step Five: Soon- I am fully plastered, and ready to sit still , try not to move to much, and allow the plaster to dry. I am completely blind, but can make some squeaky noises through the air pocket between my lips and the plaster. I sound a bit like a dolphin with a paper bag on it’s head.
Remember- I am completely unaware of what is up. All I can do is squeak and grasp blindly into the air to try to catch one of there bodies to somehow ask what is going on. I hear laughter- I can’t help but dolphin muffle and laugh as well.
Step Six: Soon it is time to peel off the mask. Bronwyn and Justice walk me over to the work desks, where I can sit on a stool, and start to scrunch and move my face beneath the mask, creating air pockets. What a weird sensation- From wet warm plaster strips, to cooling and hardening, to becoming itchy, to the peeling, pulling, and finally popping off of the mask!
The bright light of the classroom is blinding, and I feel super icky. The Vaseline saved my eyebrows, eyelashes, and hairline from being ripped out, and also just for general comfort of the skin on my face.
And here it is! My face cast! I am happy to say that it looks like me! This is step one in my prosthetic project, more strange things to come.
Thanks again Bronwyn and Justice for helping me out!
Yes, that means boobs.
As an artist- sometimes you need help, and if you have a wicked idea that involves body parts, well, you kind of need to go on a search for willing appendage donors (is a breast an appendage? never mind – you know what I mean)
So Friday after school I was an appendage donor and had my breasts plaster casted, for my friend Dana’s homework assignment on prosthetics. I am really excited to see the final project, as there will be roughly 25 sets of breasts casted for this project. You should be excited too- as I think her assignment will blow the gallery show out of the water.
So to spread the good karma, and to satisfy my curiosity- we set up shop in the wheelchair washroom and got to work. And because I am way to curious for my own good- I requested another student (Props go to Lucy) to film and help me create a stop-motion film documenting the process. Because hey, it’s not everyday you get to create art with your rack, am I right ?
I found the whole experience relatable to a tea party with friends, it was very casual, and had lots of laughter, the only thing missing was the tea. Weirdly enough, this was something that I truly needed since my mental health has decided to play dangerously with my well being these days. It was also a nice pick me up- it’s nice to be part of someone’s art project. Even if it is just your breasts. I like to help out where I can, what can I say?
I think the practice of being a nude model for KIAC drawing nights helped with some of my body confidence/acceptance issues- and to be honest- this whole getting naked for art thing is quite liberating! To be able to find the beauty in someone else’s, as well as your own body, is such a wonderful thing.
I look forward to creating this stop-motion film. I feel like the title should be something along the lines of “They’re Just Boobs”
Here are some quick iPhone photos of the “tea party in the washroom”
Here are the “Facebook Proof Photos”
And then here is a shot of my plaster casted upper ventral region.
Oh- The things we do for art.
Thanks for the opportunity Dana.
Currently- I am reading Essex County by Jeff Lemire for my English Class at Yukon School of Visual Arts. As you can tell by my forced formality- This is a homework post. So far- I have read book one: Tales from the Farm, and started into book two: Ghost Stories. And so far- I have just not been reeled into the story. No biscuit. No cheese. Nada. I absolutely LOVE the illustrations, truly, illustration ENVY. I was also intrigued by the cover art and choice of colours. Feeling like I was missing the boat on something, since it seemed like everyone else was enjoying the graphic novel ~ I did a little research via CBC. And here is what CBC had to say:
“Jeff Lemire’s Essex County is composed of three interconnected graphic novels — Tales from the Farm, Ghost Stories and The Country Nurse. Winner of several major awards in the world of comics, including a Joe Shuster Award, it was hailed by reviewers as “the comics medium at its best” (Booklist) and “a quiet, somber, haunting masterpiece” (The Oregonian). The minimalistic though intensely emotional trilogy gives form to the author’s inspired vision of what it means to live, work, dream and even die in a Southwestern Ontario rural community.
The population of Lemire’s fictional landscape is represented from childhood to old age through the characters of Lester, Lou and Anne. Their external world is rendered in stark black-and-white lines. The vividness of their interior lives, however, is what gives the graphic novel its colour and vitality.
After the death of his mother, 10-year-old Lester, the central character of Tales from the Farm, is sent to live with his Uncle Ken, a rural bachelor and a man of few words. For the sensitive boy, comic books and superheroes are a welcome distraction from the painful circumstances of his life.
Lou LeBeuf, protagonist of Ghost Stories, is an aged hockey player living out his last days alone at his farm. Isolated and full of regret, he replays the turning points of his life once again.
Anne Quenneville is the focus of The Country Nurse. A travelling nurse in Essex County, she has seen her share of suffering. Perhaps that’s what makes her such a force for good. Through Anne, the trilogy finds resolution and its heartbreaking characters find much-needed connection.”
I caught myself thinking something was wrong with me to not be enjoying this book. But then again- what I am reviewing is how I am engaging with the image and text, rather than the creator’s work. And to be frank- where I am at with my depression and anxiety, I feel like I just cannot and will not allow myself to absorb any more suffering if I can help it. Enough already- the thoughts in my mind do not need inspiration for regret and suffering. Even if it isn’t relevant to life events that I have gone through- depressing stuff just adds to the ever-growing laundry pile of anxiety triggers and a feeling of being uncomfortable. Sort of like sitting in a bath too long. Not my idea of enjoyment. I would not have read this if I had a choice, at least at this particular time in my life. I am sure that there is possibility to enjoy it, but not in the situation that I have found myself in right now. It was the same with the other books assigned in class- full of heart wrenching psychological ponderings, uncomfortable periods of self loathing, and a sense of negativity but also a cryptic secret commentary on politics, society, you name it. And I just could not focus, I tried, but there is nothing worse than trying to write an educated blog post on a graphic novel that you feel not so sparkly about, let alone an essay on a final exam. But I am not the kind of human to give up, so I will keep reading, and try to step into the world of Jeff Lemire. Where are the positive books? Okay Okay, I don’t expect cotton candy and happily ever afters. Hell- Where is David Sedaris? Now there’s an author I admire. (Don’t get me wrong, I like reading books that have an edge of darkness to them, but it depends on how the author communicates it to the reader. And so far with Essex County, no cheese. I like a Humorist’s approach to dark matters) Where are the authors who delve into less dark matters? [Would that be considered Grey matter?] This is an improvement from Beautiful Losers, but I still find myself knitting my eyebrows together when asked to “make a comment”. So I conclude: I liked the illustrations. And like any other homework assignment which makes pulling fingernails off with pliers look like spa treatment- I will carry on. Maybe my opinion will change once I finish this book- who knows.
Photo of David Sedaris
Yes. You read that right.
So today I went for a morning walk to pick up more Bio-K plus and soy/almond/hippie yogurt- while I was wistfully making moony eyes at the Joe Fresh skinny jeans that come in all the colours of the rainbow… I stumbled upon the stationary department. What do people do when they want to lose weight? Oh that’s right ! Food diary!
Today I kept tracked of all my meals and snacks and made sure to write down the calories when I could. I don’t really know the whole shtick about calorie counting- so I guess that shall be my next step.
I didn’t even go into the market to get my favourite cookies- almond macaroons… I spent my afternoon at Emily Carr Library instead doing art homework. And really what appetite I did have was soon demolished and replaced buy a big question mark when the girl ahead of me asked me a question about the photocopier. ( I was standing in line to use it after her) –
So here I am waiting and pick up quickly that she is puzzled. I offer my help and she asks about some contrast question. I asked what she was copying – no answer. I just assumed she didn’t hear me, so I stepped back and waited my turn, but while doing so- she lifted the photo copy lid and I can’t help but glance at the piece of paper.
Like a tea party, or a country picnic- these medium sized penises (testicles included) pranced all about the page. I could feel my right eyebrow lift as my mind tried ever so hard to process what I had just seen.
Had it been in Highschool and it was a guy- I would of blamed it on immaturity and curiosity- but this was at Emily Carr university of art and design, in the library, and this was a young woman.
Sure- women can be curious too- but curious enough to be making photocopies of your penis doodles?
Was this a homework assignment ?
What spurred her mind to bring her to spend time and ten cents a sheet at the photocopier to do… Well a study of male anatomy?
She seemed oblivious to my presence – lifting her drawing up to the light- to examine her noodle doodles- focusing in on the head of the specimens and commenting about lack of contrast.
Trying to look anywhere but at the penis poster I settle my eyes back on the photocopier.
That’s when she pulled out her other drawing- smaller, multiplied penis doodles – my mind immediately tried once again to justify this fascinating woman and her penis doodles. My first thought was – Cool, she must of used photoshop! – then I again refocused my eyes on what the objects really were…
Then I began comparing the objects and the placement with things I see everyday. I thought to myself- ” why they look like raindrops!”
Each time my mind mentally smacked itself – reminding myself that now when ever I see or experience these things that I am comparing this family jewels portrait too – I will have penis on the brain.
Well that’s just- fucked up to hell and back isn’t it? So now I have to write about it!
I have never written a blog on penises before, but I just can’t not write about what I experienced.
It’s just too awesomely strange. It’s a must share adventure.
My mind hopped back and forth trying to find a reason for her illustrations of man’s other brain… It first went to ” that’d make interesting end pages in a book”
I shook my head…. Sally what the hell are you thinking.
I stepped back, and leaned casually against the opposite wall trying to convince my mouth that now is not the time to twist into a “I just saw something ridiculously funny and I don’t know what to think of it smile”
– sex maniac?
Maybe she’s just special.
Everybody is special in there own way I guess. And who am I to judge?
I wouldn’t of minded if she gave me a copy of her noodle doodles- I would put it up on my wall, maybe put it on the fridge, you never know, endless possibilities! because you know what? Life’s too short to be tight assed with no sense of humour. And she has some big balls (or many multiple small sets of them to be correct) to create those doodles.
Maybe once I start attending art school full time my lack of sleep will push my artistic gears in my head into dick-ville…
So thank you random girl with the noodle doodles for giving me a smile today. And I hope you enjoy those drawings and make something super awesome with those uh, lovely realistic renditions of your take on man.
She probably has a very conceptual and creative and maybe even political symbolism to pair with the little dudes- but frankly- I was too shy, or maybe still a bit shocked, to ask.
-ONE THING I LOVE ABOUT MYSELF TODAY IS: my ability to find humour in even the most strangest things.
Oh and my invention of “noodle doodle” 😉
Goodnight lovelies! Xx
So, like any unemployed adult in this world, I had slipped into what you may call “lazy bored muchie eating slug” I needed a job, and I needed it now. So I stepped out into the sunshine one day, plastered on a cute smile and mixed in some bubbly attitude, and started handing out resumes.
I had done this many times before, with no luck. Coming form a small town, you didn’t really need a resume, since your employer probably knew your family, was a witness to you growing up, and didn’t need a piece of paper to tell them your qualities and skills.
But in the big city,
it is a totally different jungle…
At home I was a landscaper, janitor, and goatherd- none of those jobs required a resume.
Here, retail experience and working with people was more important as to whether you know what was chickweed and what was freshly sprouted carrots.
You could say many of the places I handed a resume too, I walked out of there knowing that they would probably chuckle to themselves; picture me frolicking with goats as if I lived in the alps, and toss my resume in the trash.
My confidence deflated quick, until my mom came for a visit.
I believe my mom and I have a very special relationship, even though there is the age difference, the personality difference, and the fact that she is my mom, we have built a beautiful friendship. I trust her advice and when she thinks something might be worth trying- I believe her.
So when she bought some bread at Cob’s Bread, and was pleased by the service and began to chat to the manager about gluten free bread (for me) somehow she got on the topic of employment. Being a bakery, I decided to leave my mom with the breads and goodies to go look at socks.
I suffer from something called Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I wish it had more of a ring to it, but it doesn’t. I can’t even jazz up the thing… but anyways having IBS means that I can’t eat a lot of things.
Dairy, Gluten, Processed meat, Processed anything really, Coffee, Carbonated drinks, the list goes on.
So when mom makes a stop at a bakery, I usually try not to torture myself and go focus on something else.
That day it was socks to be exact.
So when mom came over to me, and said “I think you should drop off your resume at Cob’s” I was puzzled. But once I got thinking about it, the idea became more and more reasonable.
Before being diagnosed, I had always wanted to work in a bakery, the smells, the tastes, the decorating, I thought that would be a fun job.
After the diagnosis, I kept on baking, even though I couldn’t eat the majority of the sweets and the dream to work in a bakery soon faded to the back of my mind. I had a holiday in Kamloops to think it over, and when I got back I handed my resume to the manager. Talking to her myself I picked up on the vibe my mom must have felt. Happy, family oriented, and hard working.
The interview went well, I didn’t feel like I had to pretend to be someone else, and I was happy to talk about my volunteer work in my hometown. By the end of the interview, I was hired.
After a little tour, meeting the staff, I was given a loaf of bread.
And then it hit me.
I am working in a bakery that specializes in breads.
I will be up to my elbows in the very things that make me sick to my stomach if digested and bed ridden for hours at a time.
I had to laugh at myself, of course I would be hired at a bakery… So in celebration of my weirdness I walked to the florist shop ( a place where I would actually know what I’d be doing) and bought myself a big bouquet of sunflowers.
Sitting on the bus I let my mind unravel from the anxiety I had pre-interveiw…
I took a peek at the bread sitting harmlessly in its own little bag,
maybe it is a good thing to be working a bakery,
I won’t be tempted to eat everything, it will be like selling alarm clocks, or socks,
or dog jackets… I will learn about the qualities and what it has to offer and then pitch my sale to the customer.
And I still will be able to fit my uniform by the end of the month.
So even though I am living a life of ironic events,
there always is a bright side to every situation.
even if it means I am surrounded by cinnamon buns with cream cheese icing, cranberry and custard danishes and spinach and feta croissants.
so its 2:56 am and guess where I am?
if you say Ontario, you are half correct. If you say she’s in Ontario, locked outside on the screened in porch of a friends house.. Then you are completely one hundred percent bingo on the dollar correct.
Don’t laugh at me, I didn’t mean to get locked out
maybe I’m not even locked out.I havent checked the doors in desperation. Part of me doesnt want to get excited about the chance of going back inside to a comfy bed and a toilet.. Oh did I mention I have to go pee?
So yes I havnt got up to check the door; it made a satisfying click while the host closed it, tuned off all the lights and went to bed I am pretty sure he dosn’t realise that one of his guests is outside on the screened porch…. so I mean really its like going up to an obviously pregnant lady and asking if she is pregnant.
I will kick myself if I later find out it is unlocked.
anyways I found a laptop outside and thought.
hmm I could make use of this solitary time to actually write about something since I havent blogged in quite a while.
So it is my last night in Ontario,
what is the opposite of homesick?
Is there even a word for that?
because that is what I feel right now,
sadly I am pretty sure most kids are excited to come home see their friends,
your average stereotype of a teenager.
well frankly my dear im not your average teenager,
one: I stand out like a black sheep at a dog show,
two: I’m one of those artist kids, so as you can see I was somewhat doomed from ever being normal ever since I ditched the party in my mother’s womb.
but really why would you want to be ?, normal that is, I would never give up my artistic talents even if it meant that I could have an extra toe.
three: I have successfully locked out myself but I am too lazy to check the door to see if it’s actually locked. Maybe that is a normal teenage thing, not sure. Will have to check that one out.
So it is my last night in Ontario, every time I come back here to visit family and friends I always hate the time when it comes to say goodbye.
it’s a pang of sadness, knowing that it will probably be one or even two years until I see them again. and it’s not like they are annoying or crazy… they are amazing people who are very hospitable.
So as I listen to crickets the thought struck me, why do I feel more at home when I am not at home?
like not the feeling of you know walking around in your underwear and hitting up the fridge at 2 in the morning.. that is different, I mean the feeling of acceptance, the feeling that you can just blend in, that there are people with more similarities then differences, and that you feel happy when your there.
people may think I am lame,depressed, or maybe just some retard you likes being locked outdoors… But it is true.
I am a retard that likes being locked outdoors…
when I went to Kamloops to visit my father’s side of the family I felt at home there. the unconditional love and beautiful energy that surrounded you constantly was a wonderful reminder that these were your people. I do get that feeling from my immediate family and close friends at home but I don’t know,my town puts such a damper on things. Its like having a wet towel to dry off when you hop outta of the shower, it can really piss you off at times.
There is something howling in the forest now, so I might as well make myself comfy on the chaise lounge and enjoy the wilderness. Somehow I find that more awesome then getting dinky soaps that smell like a wet dog at hotels. So thank you Rick for locking me outside, it was a pleasent surprise and an excellent exuse to blog at an insane time. Sometimes retarded artistic abnormal teenagers need to be locked outdoors overnight. It can inspire them to write about stuff, and also confront their fears about being locked outside in the dark, becuase really, it wasn’t that bad.
Macey, myself, and Spencer ( The host’s adorable dogs )