Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Art-Writing Connection: Part 1

I spent this summer immersed in teaching children the process of creating art. I taught them how to observe the things around them and work with different materials and imagination through a series of steps to produce their own unique visual art. The projects has now specific "end" product as the activities were open ended allowing the children to create pieces which were truly theirs, but the process was what took them from beginning to end.

I began drawing around the same time I began writing, around the age of 7, and soon began experimenting with creating things in 3D as well as dabbling in paint. But drawing was always at the centre. In the past few years as I've begun getting back into creative visual pieces (very slowly)I have noticed that the different use of my creativity spills over into my writing and kind of spurs it forward a little. However, it wasn't until I took a workshop with Maria Lousia through the LLAMA Project that I began from her description of process to wonder if artists, like writer's get epiphanies about their work and what that looked like. Click here for the post I wrote about my experience.

This summer, even though I myself created little work as I taught and worked with the children attending my program, Adventures in Art. I began to get a glimpse of this epiphany because I gave leash to myself to explore without bounds what I could do and I'd have to say the most exciting epiphany I got was from a shirt I created for someone else that took on a second and third layer of meaning which related to culture and stories.

This shirt was to be a gift for a baby one of my partner's co-workers had given birth to. He told me he wanted it to be dyed black and orange and to have some kind of print on it - the suggestion was hockey sticks. My response to that was that I would dye the shirt and if I was printing it I wanted a design I was going to use again. So I got out all my dyes, tied it and died it - imagining in my head how the colours may turn out. Then I got out the block cutters and the vinyl printing blocks and draw a design of a young Raven, or it was supposed to be. Then it hit me. Black, orange, Raven, Sun. The shirt, if it turned out would be "How Raven Stole the Sun," which is a very well known aboriginal story told in the Yukon. I was on air. The shirt, like all first attempts needs some work, but the process was a journey I'll never forget.

About the pictures: Top - I began this one almost 3 years ago and am slowly working on it. It hasn't really spoken to me about what it's about yet - I have a few ideas that's all. My mother asked if it was a self portrait and it might be.... Bottom - the experimental shirt. I'm still trying to find a way to make the printing ink adhere better so it's darker and there are many other flaws I'm not happy with, but that's what happens... it's all part of the process :) 


  1. Hi Leonie,
    I enjoyed reading your post about the connection between art and writing. I've gotten back in touch with the artistic side of myself, lately, and I've found it to be rewarding.

  2. Hi Annie,
    It's always nice when that happens, isn't it? What kinds of art do you enjoy playing with?

  3. Hi Leonie,
    I'm afraid I'm just viewing art lately, but it is a renewed interest, and I am tempted to paint again, if I can get set up for it. When I was a teenager, I worked with acrylic and oils, and as a twenty-something, I dabbled with watercolor.