Learning In the Utah Desert


Art school and art making have been keeping me pretty busy for the last year or so, and it has been wonderful. This spring I was one of five students from Emily Carr and Capilano Universities chosen by the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel to participate in “Project Beehive” to decorate the beehives for their rooftop garden, and last sumer I attended a two week bootmaking workshop in northeast Utah with Randy Merrell (founder of the Merrell footware company).

Having these experiences expanded my vision a lot; I have to say that I didn’t believe that I could paint, but have found that I can, and I also have to say that even though I know how to make shoes, I need a lot more practice. That said, the red boots that I made draw attention whenever I wear them.

Just to let you know, southern Utah is breath-takingly gorgeous; in its blue sky – red rock way probably the most beautiful place I have ever seen. This photo is not retouched – it really looks like that there.

There’s great excitement at The Jackson Institute – I am furiously making art and preparing my studio for the Eastside Culture Crawling public. It’ll be my first participation in this event other than as an Eastside Culture Crawler, and I’m really looking forward to it – it’s going to be fun.


The work that I’ll be presenting during the Crawl is from a new body of work called “A Fan of Trees”. Each individual piece consists of a handmade traditional closed fan encased in a classic plain frame, the total effect bringing to mind artifacts on display in a museum.

So far, people seem to appreciate this work – I’ve donated two for separate fund-raising auctions (time honoured art market research) and they sold. Here is a preview of “Ruby”, twelfth in the series.

Title: Ruby

Materials: Self printed crepe de chine, bamboo, waxed manilla paper, india ink



Size: 16×20

I have really enjoyed the process of making this work: “A Fan of Trees”, the series, brings together two fascinations: Chinese orthography and the idea of fans. I am not able to read Chinese, so the script holds great mystique for me: text becomes image, bold black strokes against background, graphically breath-taking, much like trees against the sky.

The idea of fans has held great mystique for me since I found an old folding fan at the home of my grandparents. It was black, made of bamboo and paper that was printed in silver gilt with Chinese characters. Along one of the ribs of the old fan, someone had written in small letters the words “Ruby Yet”.

These mysterious words have held as much fascination for me as the idea of fans – I assumed that Ruby Yet was the name of the person who owned the fan, but I had never heard of anybody with that name. Ruby Yet, what an ambiguous and inspiring combination of words…These fans are named for inspirations and fascinations. In the spirit of these ambiguous words, this one is titled Ruby.

~ by thiscassandra on Thursday 18 November 2010.

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