Monday, 27 August 2018

"Beetle Kill" Blanket #2

Further to my last blog about the "Coming Home" blanket in this year's Artwalk, here is a second blanket I have on display at Raymond James in Williams Lake.  Artwalk is going really well again this year, and the different displays are very good.  Enjoy it if you are here!

OK, here's my second Beetle Kill blanket and its story:


Lodgepole pine forests in the Cariboo were hard hit by the mountain pine beetle over a decade ago. Bark beetles burrow beneath the tree’s bark and mine through the underlying phloem layer while also introducing a fungus that additionally kills the tree and stains the outer sapwood blue.  Vast areas of the Chilcotin now have many dead pine trees that have decayed and fallen over.  This is all part of the natural cycle.

From the bottom of this blanket, the design depicts the lush greens of the lodgepole pine forest with some scattered darker spruce.  One pine is attacked by the mountain pine beetle and shows red needles, then more trees turn red, and within a year the entire stand is a bright reddish shade. The needles fall to the ground and the forest looks grey.

The trees become standing skeletons that rot and fall over, but the forest responds with the increased light to the forest floor.  New plants pop up and thrive in their brighter environment: lush green shoots of pinegrass, bright golden flowers of heart-leaved arnica and goatsbeard, mauve showy aster with its golden centres, and splashes of bright purple vetch.  As the dead lodgepole pine fall over and their cones release seeds that germinate, the entire stand is renewed to a healthy forest, as shown at the blanket’s opposite end.  

SH244 | Beetle Kill Blanket | 100% wool | 178 cm x 126 cm (70" x 49.5") 

Detail of beetle attack in lodgepole pine

Detail of attacked stand showing new growth of pinegrass and wildflowers

This blanket sold at the UNBC Artisans of the North craft fair in October - thanks!

Friday, 10 August 2018

"Coming Home" Blanket

I set up my Artwalk display this morning and joined the start of the tour to view some of the artists' work in their venues. Artwalk is a month-long exhibit of mostly local artists in various businesses and offices in Williams Lake. My location is Raymond James again this year on 3rd Ave. between the Cariboo Regional District and the Bean Counter (open Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm).  Thank you for having me back!

I have three blankets in this year's Artwalk and I'll present them in three blogs.  The first is my "Coming Home" blanket:

SH242 | "Coming Home" | 100% wool | 178 cm x 126 cm (70" x 49.5") | $350

Here's the story that goes with this blanket:

I grew up in Ontario and my family is still there.  So, in my almost four decades living in Williams Lake, I’ve made many trips east and back west, all by plane.  And once I’m on the plane in Toronto to fly west, I can’t get home fast enough.

I’ve always liked maps, and I can get a bit transfixed with the plane’s route over western Canada.  Prairies and grasslands in Alberta transform to the front ranges of the Rocky Mountains past Calgary.  Mountain ranges are crossed in BC before landing in Vancouver on the edge of the Pacific Ocean.  

This blanket was designed to represent that sequence through western Canada: the soft shades of the prairies and grasslands, over snow-capped mountain ranges separated by wide river valleys, and west to the deep blue Pacific.

No matter how special the family visit was, this scene while in my plane seat comforts me that I’m returning home, home to western Canada and the Cariboo.


If you get a chance to see this year's Artwalk, I highly recommend it. Take your time and enjoy all the great work.