I have a new blog. You can find it at builderburner.tumbler.com. So come on over!

rresearching galleries, i stumbled across this.

Bridget and I are working on gallery proposals for a show. It’s interesting communicating through blog posts and cell phone conversations. I guess that’s what normal people do everyday. Anyway, here’s a look at what we’ve got so far. We’ll be looking for third parties to read it and do some editing and constructive criticism soon, so if you’re willing, let me know.

The Proposal

Notes of what a proposal should explain….

1. what is the project?  2. why this project? 3. why this exhibition? How? 4. What it means to others?

Alana’s edit of Bridget’s editing of Alana’s Edit of Bridget’s most recent posting.

Shit. I forgot to copy and paste so the last one that you did is now lost. No biggie? Big Biggie? 

 It’s looking pretty damn good.  Did a bit more tweaking. Now have we filled all the criteria above? Kind of, but not explicitly. I say we do one more edit and have other people give it a read. So this sucker can be whatever length we like now.

Working together in a communal space is both challenging and inspiring but what happens when you collaborate yet are each in isolation? Alana Wilson and Bridget Fairbank met whilst whittling away at plaster in the cold studios of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design ceramics department in winter of 2009. Since then they have corroborated (i’m not sure this is the right word, but … what else? A shared experience…?) as fire tower observers in Alberta, a seasonal job which holds them in solitude and isolates them in the wild.

Solitude- a state or situation of being alone.
Isolate- to be or remain apart from others.
Solitude and isolation both occur either physically or cognitively. In both cases it is our sentiments and psyche that are effected. Solitude tends to amplify our thoughts and can foster great growth. In this time of narrowing frontiers and ever expanding modes of transport and communication, physical isolation is rare but an isolation constructed by society is becoming more and more common. With the past exodus from farm to city, anonymity is more prevalent than ever in history. Often, we isolate ourselves by way of routine or cultural faux-pas. Bridget and Alana tell a story of a physical isolation akin to that of the pioneers before us and the emotional isolation felt by most in modernity. Their isolation has resulted in the contemplation of self, of society, of what solitude means, of how it functions and of how it effects us all. By being physically isolated, the two grapple with cultural solitude through individual artistic explorations. The Isolation Project exhibits each artist’s manifestation of solitude and in turn invites the viewer to acknowledge their personal story of isolation and solitude.

Alana Wilson’s inspiration for this work began with the work of artists such as Margaret Kilgallen and Barry McGee, the availability of materials in a remote situation, and the idea of attempting to capture her scattered thoughts in an esthetically pleasing way. For her, the fire tower season is always a time of deep personal contemplation and questioning. Her contribution to The Isolation Project is a look at some of the ideas and pressures she ruminates on and feels as an isolated female in her early thirties. Even in this post-feminist era where establishing a career for herself is important, she still feels a societal and parental pressure to settle down and have babies, and often questions her desire to do, or not do, so. This has become a seemingly more common place perspective  in a time when more women are remaining independent for a longer period of time, and attempting to find strength and fulfillment in themselves.

A constant struggle has presented itself in her choices and dualities such as Career vs. Family and  Love vs. Ambition are manifested in words and phrases like IndependenceFollow your heartFreedom; and Selfish. These examples and many others are then  embroidered and presented in frames, clustered together on the wall in no particular order, a visual representation of the way thoughts and ideas can come and go during time spent thinking alone in the forest or walking the streets of a city. Embroidery was chosen due to its portable nature and lightweight materials. The fact that embroidery was traditionally done  by school age girls and unmarried women has also been something that Alana could identify with. The act of embroidering in itself provides time for reflection and contemplation on the story she is creating. She often feels that though solitude is necessary for growth and should be taken seriously and even cherished, perhaps the most human desire is to have someone bear witness to our lives and tell our story. The Isolation Project is an illustration of this concept.

Bridget Fairbank’s inspiration came as she traveled across Canada collecting plates and contemplating time. She regarded the extensive highway lines thinking of the solitary summer regimented by routine that lay ahead as a fire tower observer. What would happen if the rhythm in which the day occurred was represented by space and line?

Time never passes at an uniform pace. Each interval of action is different. When a collection of lines is made the thickness, the uniformity and the space between each line all speak to us visually as a concept of speed and pace. By making lines in overglaze pigments fired onto those found side plates from her journey, a plate for each day of isolation at tower, the juice and anxiety, the calm and serenity, the business and revelry of daily time is thus visually communicated. Why make lines on plates? The varied forms and surfaces of pre-owned dishes as an ensemble create a complex narrative. Through the recording of Bridget’s daily routines the existing imagery is slashed and distorted, eluding to the forgotten story of the day, the week, the decade and the place in which the plates were once relevant cared for dishes. The collection represents the blatantly varied nature of Canadian culture. By altering each dish Bridget’s personal tale of daily isolation by way of routine is imposed upon each plate: a metaphor for the individual’s daily chaotic and isolated contribution in our multifaceted culture. Her project is a celebration of everyday solitary experience in a Canadian context. When presented on the wall in calendar format the rhetoric of four months alone in the forest with one’s thoughts is indicated by space and line, evoking emotion and sparking contemplation of one’s individual life in relation to daily routine, time and culture.

The Isolation Project is a recording of two lives spent in the seclusion of  the Canadian wilderness and the urban environment. Whether experienced physically or emotionally, isolation is felt by everyone at one time or another during this busy modern existence. The Isolation Project exemplifies that though solitude and seclusion can be a reprieve from ordinary life, it is seldom a reprieve from oneself.


tomorrow is my 31st birthday, and i am almost finished here at moberly tower. i guess those are 2 things to celebrate. the season has just flown by. a good thing, mostly, except that i feel like there’s still so much work i wanted to finish. what about all those knitting projects and books to be read? not to mention the amount of work i have left to do for the project bridget and i are working on. but, i am looking forward to moving. getting moving, moving on. new adventures with my new friend. where will they take us? only time will tell, but the yukon and an island or 2 off of b.c.’s coast have been proposed. many exciting things to celebrate. i feel that this will be the last post for the one per day project, so that i can dedicate the time i have left to more pressing matters. so… i’m sure there will be a travelling post or 2 before i’m australia bound.

July 16th – burnt incense squiggle

July 17th – sad bouquet

July 18th – Pomquette Beach walk reminder

July 19th – very important. do it do it do it.

July 20th – beautiful rainbow

 July 21st – two days in a row!

July 22nd – sand dollar in a care package. the best.

July 23rd – me, self conscious, by patrick

July 24th – pretty remainders

July 25th – spider vs. ant. who’s eating who?

July 26th – some beautiful wildflowers

July 27th – my all time favorites. anyone know what these are called?

July 28th – then he gave me a rock. isn’t it a beaut?

July 31st – sunset…another beauty.


work in progress

May 28, 2011

with all of these fogged in days, i’ve had lots of time to get work done. getting back to some embroidery, which i haven’t done at all since putting my portfolio together for nscad. i have big plans for these little pieces. here’s what i’ve been working on.

May 27, 2011

May 22 – Just a little late night hail storm.

May 23 – My summer home.

May 24 – Not for pooping. Squirrel lives here. (I’ve heard he can be quite mean.)

May 25 – Hey banana! Nice lines!

May 26 – What it’s actually looked like here for the past 4 days – since the hail storm.

May 27 – I’m not really sure what this sign says, but I think that’s how high Moberly is.

does this make it any more official? feels good and scary. I hope once i get to Australia, I’ll still be able to function after 21 or so hours on an airplane.

back to the tower

May 16, 2011

Well, I left New Glasgow and headed to “the farm” for some spiritual uplifting. Then on to Halifax for a whirlwind tour of friends and lovers. Though I can’t say I was sad to leave  these places, I could have easily stayed in any of them. Bright and early yesterday morning, after a great final nite in the city and almost zero sleep, I boarded a plane for Edmonton and caught a bus to Edson, where I will meet up with supervisors and sign papers before heading out to Moberly Tower tomorrow. Another tower season is upon me, and though I always have mixed feelings about my long months of total isolation, I feel calmer and more prepared than usual this time around. Plans for knitting and embroidery are in the works. I’m armed with an i-pod, a sound recorder and more than a few books. I’m hoping for a visit from a friend, but not holding my breath. A new, busier tower and the fires are already causing evacuations in the province. It should be a good, interesting season. I’m ready for it.


April 20, 2011

A few pics from the show, in appreciation of bees. Ask me about Colony Collapse Disorder. Better yet, look it up if you don’t already know about it. A world without bees would be a bleak one.

On a brighter note, my young male friends came for another studio visit today. Before they left, they told me I should keep making art, even when I leave here. Kids are so great. I thought that was such a nice thing to say. I told them I planned to, that that’s what I do. They were very interested in learning how I made my work. Sometimes, I wish I were here longer.