Day 15: Melissa McMichael’s ‘mindful’ approach to textile art.

 

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Artist Melissa McMichael was the Beaverbrook Art Gallery’s Pink Lunch Box Series presenter today. McMichael is a textile artist and this afternoon she did an amazing job of leading those of us gathered, on an amazing mixture of artist talk/mindfulness visualization exercise. She did this make vivid for us, her emotional connections to both knitting as a memory (of her maternal grandmother) and, knitting as a positive cognitive behavioural therapy.  She concluded by sharing with us the ideology behind her use of natural (often food based) dyes in her knitting and weaving, as well as a little giggle about one of her newest pieces, a ‘Venus is in Retrograde’ knitted backpack!

Personally, it was as unique an experience as I’ve ever had listening to an artist talk. McMichael also goes  by the name Mermaid Boyfriend, be sure to check more of  her great work out on line!

Thanks so much Mel!

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(Photos from Melissa’s artist talk are all courtesy of the photographer Christina Thompson.)

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Ouija, by Melissa McMichael. Yarn, wood, twine. (Photo by the artist)

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Professor Mary Blatherwick from the University of New Brunswick’s Education department was in to visit me this afternoon with a group of students.  I was able to offer them a tour of the exhibition WATCH OUT and then we moved on to the artist-in-residence studio were I had the privilege of sharing with them the story of ‘The Little Hummingbird’ Haida Manga by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas.  It’s a powerful short story that I first encountered a number of years ago when I purchased the book for my children. In it Yahgulanaas tells about how the smallest animal – the hummingbird – did ‘what it could ‘ to help in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds (in the case of this story, that is a wild forest fire).

We talked about the importance of visual literacy, and also about recognizing the value of (seemingly) ‘low value’ materials when it comes to the power and the potential visual communication.

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And here’s me,  thinking about where to put our ‘WATCH OUT’ sign for the day…

 

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(…I found this wonderful spot between two of Anna Torma’s works!)

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