I want to be consumed by nature; I want to be held by our creator.
I started drawing this illustration as a way to represent the love I’ve recently found love and self-compassion for myself– and how I think that directly correlated to the love that I’ve found for other people. But that was two days ago, before I’ve almost been crippled by anxiety about COVID-19. Updates on the virus aside, we all seem to be in a precarious place in terms of knowledge.
I didn’t get out of bed until 1PM today. I stayed up as late as I could in order to get ahold of my brother who is currently in the UK with his wife. I don’t know what I expected to hear– he is relatively young, healthy and incredibly logical. His voice assured me that I was overreacting. But I couldn’t help it. I still can’t.
However, throughout this whole thing, I am reminded of all of the things I’ve survived. How no matter what, I am able to keep myself happy out of sure will and strength. And how earlier today, despite a crippling worry, I managed to dance to this song:
No matter what the news people say, you’re the only one responsible for how you feel. So you might as well feel okay.
strong is not the new beautiful— Lindsey Tyne Johnson
thin is not the new beautiful
thick is not the new beautiful
hairy is not the new beautiful
those things have always been beautiful
just the way you’ve always been beautiful
despite and because of your strength
despite and because of being thin
despite and because you are thick
despite and because you have lots of hair
you are beautiful because you are you
I feel like Emily de Jardin is one of those people I secretly want to be. She has a knack of radiating a calmness that is reassuring to be around. As a fellow introverted artist I can relate to Emily’s easy going temperament and find it refreshing.
I found a lot of value in discovering Emily’s art focused Instagram account. I know Emily through working at a book store together when I first moved to Kamloops. She also became a familiar face to me as she also worked at the Kamloops Art Gallery.
I have little doubt that this incredible local artist will achieve great things in her life. And I hope you follow her journey along the way.
I started making art in second grade, and have always loved the creative and artistic side of life. I took art classes throughout school and found new ways to express myself. When I was 18 I started working at the Kamloops Art Gallery which started my interest in exhibition style artwork.
2. How long have you lived in Kamloops?
Born and raised!! 22 years.
3. What did you attend post-secondary for and did it help you on your artistic journey?
I’m currently in university to get my English major, but Im making sure to take fine arts classes as well, so I am learning new skills which will definitely further my journey as an artist.
4. What are your artistic goals for the next 5 years?
I hope to sell my resin artwork, expand the mediums that I work with, and curate my own exhibition.
5. What are your favourite mediums and what medium do you want to try?
I’m still getting the hang of working with resin, and I love working with sharpie, pencil, and charcoal for paper-based works. I would love to try out printmaking, and learn more about analog photography.
6. Besides making art, what are your passions?
I am passionate about writing and reading (mainly poetry) and spending time with good company.
7. What is the best and most difficult part of the Kamloops art scene?
I love how accessible art is becoming in Kamloops; from exhibition spaces to art classes. For me personally, the most difficult part is connecting with other artists because I’m extremely introverted.
8. What do you want people to know about you or your art?
I am in a pretty dark place mentally right now and I have been for a long time, so most of my art will stem from that and I’m still finding new ways to express it.
Witchcraft, Wicca, and other Pagan-related spiritualities get a bad rap for being spooky, demonic, and frightening.
But, with it’s sudden resurgence into popular culture, why aren’t people running for their lives? Surely witchcraft is just as dark, gory and spooky as the modern remakes of classics like Sabrina.
The truth is, for a lot of witches, spirituality can be as simple as washing your floor.
Which is why I’m here writing this blog. To express the fact that spirituality is sometimes just wanting your floors to smell like a garden full of lavender. Because that’s nice.
A floor wash can really be anything you’d like it to be:
Some basic botanicals and their meanings:
Anise Star – Protection
Bay leaves – Protection, healing, purification
Lavender – Peace, tranquility
Rosemary – Protection, healing, exorcism
Pine Needles – Protection
Cedar – Healing, protection
Clove – Protection, dispels unhappy energy
Juniper – Protection, healing
Basil – Prosperity
2. Choose your water/oils
So, as a small town girl I don’t necessarily have immediate access to holy water (a commonly used ingredient in floor washes). But essential oils are a little easier to come by.
Usually, since I don’t have access to any fancy water, I’ll leave tap water in a pitcher out on my counter to evaporate any chlorine.
Here are my favourite oils:
3. Combine + use your ingredients.
After boiling your chosen water, add a few drops of your favourite oil, a sprinkle of your chose botanical– and voila! Let the wash sit for about an hour and then pour your mixture into a container to store in a dry and cool place.
After seven days, you can apply the wash to a clean floor. You can even add some of the mixture to you favourite, everyday cleaning products to give your home a little spiritual cleanse every time you clean!
There are things that happen to us that we can’t talk about. Secrets we hold so close to us they become a crutch that we use to push people away. We have hurt that is caused by other people that is so painful we ask why we were born. We feel angry– and if we let it, this anger becomes so powerful it turns into hatred.
Should we forgive those who hurt us? Who are not sorry for hurting us? Where do you draw the limit?
Earlier this month I reached out to an old friend. This particular friend was one I considered at one point to be my closest companion. She was a person who I relied on so heavily and so deeply that we inevitably broke apart. When our friendship was strained we spent almost two years without the other for comfort. When I had reached out to her after almost two years the forgiveness I felt washed over me like a warm ocean wave.
Our falling out never destroyed our humanity. If anything, during our period of time not speaking, we grew. I learned to love harder and forgive more often. When our hearts were ready, we forgave each other and we’re stronger and more independent for it.
In most cases I would say yes, forgiveness is a healing experience. Especially when experiences between two people who want and need it.
Sometimes the people who hurt us are not sorry. Sometimes people hurt us for no other reason than to gain pleasure from our pain. When this happens, forgiveness feels impossible. Do we forgive those who are not sorry? Do we forgive those who take pleasure from our pain? These questions are difficult to answer.
Forgiveness makes us vulnerable. It lets down our walls and allows another to see us for who we really are– human. But this is not an excuse to allow others to continue to use your humanity against you.
During a recent Vipassana I sat in complete silence for 10 straight days trying to forgive someone who has hurt me beyond words. I came out of the experience with 3 questions:
Here are the answers I’ve come up with:
I am always curious to hear about what people think of forgiveness. What makes a person more forgiving than another? I would like to hear your stories! So please send me a message or comment on this article, it would be most helpful 😀
As a local to Kamloops, with a deep knowledge and interest in her family history, Beth Johnson is a source of stories. Upon meeting her, it’s soon clear that Beth has lived a rich, interesting and sometimes maybe even bizarre life.
As a frequenter and member of the Kamloops Makerspace, Beth is often surrounded with a vibrant social life full of like-minded creators. Her art is not like most of the many patrons of the Makerspace as she finds herself in the realm of quilting and textile art.
As much as I mention that Beth seems to be from another time, she doesn’t knock modern technology helping her art. As an adult in the modern age Beth mixes both traditional and modern techniques. When it comes to her style though, this girl is nothing but authentic vintage patterns and styles. She is hands-down one of the best dressed people in all of Kamloops.
I grew up with a mother who is an avid quilter. She says that I used to watch her like a hawk when she was working on a project, so she decided that she would teach me. By age 5 I was making little quilts and outfits for my barbies. At age 9 I made my first quilt (with, of course, ample help from Mom). That got me started. From there I have dabbled in related mediums- embroidery, crochet, applique, etc. In 2014 I took a class on how to use a long arm quilting machine and fell madly in love. I work part time at Heather’s Fabric Shelf where I finish other people’s quilts on her long arm. Ultimately my dream is to buy my own machine and to become very good at custom quilting. I dabble now, but it’s hard to really put the time in without my own long arm.
I was born and raised here. I have had long gaps away- 6 years in Victoria as a student, 3 separate years abroad, and a few longer backpacking road trips- but I keep returning to Kamloops as my home base.
I finished my BA at the University of Victoria, where I majored in Hispanic studies. One of my other great loves is language, so I wanted to become reasonably fluent in something other than English. It put me in good stead for my stints in Mexico and Colombia, and my travels around Latin America. Those areas of the world also happen to have a very vibrant and active textile culture. I have a lot of embroidered textiles that I’ve bought there. I also find myself increasingly influenced by their motifs and colors. In particular, I am influenced by Mexican imagery- Day of the Dead, La Loteria, hand-painted tiles, Frida Kahlo, etc.
My longer term mission is to become a skilled free-motion quilter, and to produce art quilts that are worthy of entry into national and international quilt shows. I think I will be on my way to that in 5 years, but it is a mission that will probably take a few decades to fully achieve.
Above all, I am a quilter. I tend to favour fussy, hand-stitching techniques like English paper piecing, applique and embroidery. They are great for getting into a meditative groove. I do a lot of basic sewing too. Frequently I buy funky fabrics at thrift stores that I make into skirts and dresses. I would love to master more advanced embroidery and hand quilting techniques, and try out things like trapunto. My other medium is jewellery. I make earrings out of old bottle caps, sometimes using old photos or stamps as the image inside. I also embroider designs on to circles of fabric, and make them into button earrings. I am a member of the Kamloops Makerspace. Every Wednesday evening we have an open house for the general public. Sometimes I give tours, but more often I sit in the lounge and work on my hand stitching. It’s a great way to engage strangers as it gives us a starting point for conversation. They want to know what crazy, fussy project I’m working on. I frequently use our laser cutter to cut out my templates. I love how I am able to use a very modern piece of technology to do something so traditional.
I am a passionate (very) amateur photographer. I especially love to take photos while I’m travelling. In the last few years I have been making photo books of my travel photography just for myself. I am in the process of adapting some of my photos for embroidery and applique so that I can use them in my quilts.
One of the pitfalls of quilting is that it is frequently not seen as an art form. I suspect that has to do with unintentional ageism and sexism. Traditionally, quilting has been an almost exclusively female medium, practiced quietly at home for utilitarian purposes. A lot of people today only know it as a grey-haired women’s craft. I would love for the wider public to see quilting as a legitimate medium. I would love for the skill (including of traditional quilting) to be recognized, and for people (including guys!) of all ages to be more comfortable with the fiber arts. A lot of people also aren’t aware of Modern Quilting as a distinct thing. It involves a lot of experimenting with different techniques, materials and themes, as well as a strong streak of reinterpreting the traditional. I love it because you can depict whatever you want, however you want. The positive side is that the quilting community here is very active. I am a member of the Kamloops Modern Quilt Guild, where I get to meet other like-minded stitchers. We talk a lot about tools and techniques, and we always have a show and tell of our latest projects. I always learn something new!
I love quilting because -however artistically, precisely or elaborately made- a quilt is still a very tactile, approachable object. Quilting unites art and utility. I love paintings, but I also find them very distant and separate. With a quilt, I feel I can pick it up and run my fingers over the textures and colors. Giving a quilt to a friend is like giving them a hug that they can wrap themselves in anytime.
*Important side note though, don’t touch someone else’s fiber art project without permission! Exhibits usually have very prominent ‘Do Not Touch’ signs. The standard practice at quilt shows is that quilts can only be touched with cotton gloves, and with permission. Vintage textiles also have to be handled with greater care.
I’ve decided to try and do a monthlyish post about art I’ve been making. These are mostly just ideas, brainstorms and sketches. Feedback is much appreciate– The end.
Rachel Tonn is one of those one in one-hundred thousand people you meet and instantly connect with. Her ability to make you feel comfortable is borderline magical. Her journey as an artist is only just beginning but it’s something well worth following.
I think what draws people to Rachel is probably her ability to make you laugh. A day spent with Rachel is a day spent laughing. On a recent visit we discussed the idea of clowns– how certain people naturally fit into the category of ‘clown’. I started to think of being a clown as being a kind of artist. It’s not something you necessarily strive for, it’s just something you are. Perhaps being a clown is kind of like having a celiac disease– but instead of gluten– you’re allergic to not being hilarious… If that was the definition of clown, Rachel is definitely allergic to not being hilarious.
The positive things to be said about Miss Tonn is pretty long. Her big-hearted nature has also lead her into the field of social work and has made her a large circle of unique and interesting friends. Dancing is a big part of Rachel’s life, through Ecstatic Dance she explores an art in itself but is also as a community practice. Meeting the people Rachel surrounds herself with is pretty cool– probably the most unique people in this town can be found Rachel’s social circle.
Her body of work is growing and I encourage everyone to keep an eye out for it.
I started making art at a young age – I recall a photo of me taken when I was in kindergarten, where I’m holding a paint brush with a big grin on my face, standing proudly beside a picture of a garden I just painted. I was always known as the artist of the family. My exploration into art continued over the years, branching out into photography, sewing, crocheting, and various other mediums. I’ve always loved experimenting. How will my roll of film look if I drop it in chicken noodle soup first? What pigments will I get from these plants if I mash them up and use them as paint? So many fun discoveries to be made!
I’ve lived in Kamloops for 3 years – I grew up in Winfield, BC.
I completed my social work degree last year. This actually put quite a significant pause on my artistic journey – I stopped actively making art for about 3 or 4 years. I think at that point of my life, I was comparing myself to a lot of artists and felt too intimated to actually make art. I also had very little time to give to my art. However, I took a drawing class in my last semester of university a couple years ago which helped me let go of some of those artistic insecurities. I was reminded of how cathartic and beautiful the process is, and it gave me the confidence to simply trust in my artistic intuition.
Oh boy, this is a big question. Recently, I’ve been thinking about going to school to become an art therapist. Art and dance have been such a huge part of my personal growth and I’ve been feeling inspired to share that with others.
I have ideas for art installations, dance performances, and community projects which I’d love to see come into fruition in the coming years, but I’ve been really, really enjoying the process of just allowing myself to create.
Recently, I’ve been making my own ink with plants and all things earthly, which has been so fun! I’ve been really enjoying the experimentation that comes a long with it. I generally like to pair my inks with charcoal or India ink.
I would really like to try using more natural fibres in my art – I’m a sucker for textures.
Ecstatic dance is another passion of mine. For those that aren’t familiar, ecstatic dance is a judgement free, safe dance space where people are free to move and express themselves. It encourages people to let go, be, and feel. It has been quite incredible witnessing how dance has changed my life and those around me. And it feels so important to continue to share this piece of wellness with others.
I honestly haven’t engaged too much with the art scene in Kamloops. However, I help organize Ecstatic Dance in Kamloops, which is sort of art related! The best part of this experience has been witnessing the growth of this culture that never existed before in Kamloops. I think the same could be said about the art scene in Kamloops – since there isn’t too much happening here, we have the opportunity to create something new and watch it grow from its infancy. Of course, finding people and venues to support these endeavours is a challenge – Kamloops isn’t the most progressive city. But when those stars do align, the outcome is absolutely beautiful.
I’m just having fun. I’m just trying to put my energy into things I truly enjoy. In the past, I got stuck in feeling that I should only make ‘good’ art, which put a block in my creative energy, because none of my art was good enough. I still run into these thoughts and feelings, but I’m learning that accepting and embracing my art and the process is a radical act of self love. It’s a reflection of myself and the journey that I’m on. And what’s more beautiful than that?
You can find my exploration into natural paints on instagram: @wetroots. It’s a little sad right now, but I promise I’ll start posting more soon!