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Area of Study Blog

Review: Women in Clothes

img_1852Summer vacation reading.

Last year in Barbara’s Fibre 300 Selvedge/Salvage course she assigned a couple readings from Women in Clothes by Shelia Heti, Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton and many many others. I loved what little we read and purchased the book very soon after. It was the book that I toted with me everywhere this summer and shared with anyone who would listen to me.

The book began as a survey with 50 questions aimed to challenge women to think about their personal style. Artists, activists, writers, and more answered the questions in their own way and style. Each page is a surprising gem of stories about women, why they wear what they wear, how it makes them think, feel and present themselves. Photos of personal collections such as striped shirts, glasses, gray sweatshirts, unworn necklaces or bobby pins. Photos of the contributors Mother’s before the daugher’s were born. Photocopies of women’s hands with their ring collections. Conversations about compliments, interviews, story telling, poetry and essays.

My favourite and most inspired discoveries were the sections providing only a word or two on a subject matter. The contributors would then tell a short story, sometimes a line or a paragraph elaborating. Words such as colour, strangers, shopping, protection, or worn to name a few.

My personal favourite, under the topic worn:

“I try not to dress in something that would be more important to me than having a good time. I wouldn’t want to stop doing something for fear that my outfit would get ruined or weird looking in the act of having fun.” -Annemieke Beemster Leverenz.

On reflecting on a cherished garment that was lost by a friend:

“I would have liked to participate in the item’s fate. At the very least I wanted to be the person who lost it.” – Elena Megalos

I savoured every page of this book and felt a severe loss when I closed the final page. It affected the way that I approached my closet and why and how I was adding things to it. Upon completion I felt little emotional attachment to my clothes that weren’t special and I had no problem donating the majority of it to friends, family and charities. Everything that stayed and has been added since must fulfill the identity of “Future Julie.” I consider what items would I pack on vacation, what makes me feel comfortable, happy, or put together (anything black, white, 5 sizes too big and at least double the price than I should be spending). Ultimately I started to think about who I wanted to be when I grew up (28 is still a teen in my eyes), what she wore and what those clothes said about her.

Throughout this book I discovered things that I also felt about specific garments but had not realized. It is by far the most thoughtful collection of writing on style and taste. It made me truly comprehend how clothes are so much more than what we put on our bodies.


Storyboard Sketches

I did a few rough storyboard type sketches heavily influenced by Leningrad’s song and music video, ОЧКИ СОБЧАК (rough translation: Sobchak’s sunglasses) that I’m using as a jumping off point.

some of the lyrics are included in the storyboards as a way for me to remember the timing and pacing I was intending at the time.

sam_0739  sam_0738sam_0743sam_0740

I will be working on more storyboards and practice panels over the break to help me have more content (I’m willing to share) to use in my studios for next semester. I will be doing at least one more post for Sveta’s Jacquard weaving

~Sara Y


COCOON I Redux – Progress

I decided to redo my first cocoon project, as it was destroyed in the process of making COCOON II. And i wanted all three forms to be together.

I also decided to hand felt rather than shoving it in the washer. The surface area is bigger and it’s way more plush too.


Original COCOON I


I found out about halfway through the process that using the giant fibreglass tub for river molds (I assume) worked great for containing the water, instead of working only in the evenings and having the mop and bucket handy. For soap I use olive oil soap, since I use my hands rather than bubble wrap for larger felt pieces, my hands can survive for longer. (I don’t like gloves because I can’t feel things)


Trailer’s helpin’ again


i cut the felt sheets into vague lemon shapes to get close to the shape I wanted


I decided to sew the parts together making the process much faster and utilizing the surface area of the felt much better



I figured out the plastic tubing I had lying around works great for circular structures


So far, I’ve sewed three hoops to the inside of the top, which has greatly improved the shape.

~Sara Y

“Moths” Progress + completion

Progress of my moth continuation of my cocoon series which deals with my struggles with avoidance (apt since I’ve been avoiding these dingle dang blog posts)


Trailer is helping me cut out moths from felt

I started out with wet felted felt (from prefelt) and cut out various moth shapes


I then needle felted bodies starting with the base


then added eyes, antennae, and colour to them



which I sewed onto a vest made from canvas



~Sara Y

Jean Lurçat

This video shows Lurçat working on a Large Cartoon1, as well as showing the weavers working on the piece

While working on my research paper for art history, I came across this video of Jean Lurçat and his workshop.


For colour selection rather than using hundreds of colours he used a system utilizing 30 to 40 colours. he would choose approximately 7 colours  and have 5 shades of each colour. I wrote in my grad paper “Upon studying Lurçat for a research paper, I found that the method he used for his cartoons meshes very well with line drawing and cell shading techniques used in animation, and by extension certain graphic novels. The use of graphic line and numbered colours is similar to how I work with colour with Copic markers”

If all goes well with the sampler, I’m hoping to utilize this knowledge for larger projects.

~Sara Y


1 – the prepratory drawing for a tapestry or fresco

Works Cited:
Lodds, Jean et al., director. “Aubusson Tapestries.” Radim Films Inc, 1948,

Lurçat, Jean. Designing Tapestry, Etc. (Translated by Barbara Crocker.). London: Rockliff, 1950. Print.

Clasped Weft Weaving

In my latest piece I was using the clasped weft technique as a way to interconnect two different types of threads in the same open shed.  In my case, I was using cotton and wool roving yarn as a way to explore the different ways these two materials shrink and behave after washing.  20161126_132037

However, the most common use for this technique is to have two different colors or textures of yarn in a single row of weaving.  This really is a simple technique with limitless design potential.

If you are interested in learning this technique has an informative blog entry by Kaz Madigan called,  “Clasped Weft Weaving: Easy, High Impact Designs to Try“. Included are step by step pictures to help you get on your way.  If you prefer videos Kelly Casanova has a very thorough video for weaving this technique on a rigid heddle loom.  Below is a picture of the finished piece she works on in her video.

Kelly Casanova. Clasp weft table runner. Cotton. 2016.

Kelly Casanova. Clasp weft table runner. Cotton. 2016. <>




Fever Ray

Fever Ray, is the solo project of Karin Dreijer Andersson from The Knife, (a music duo involving her and her brother Olof Dreijer)

She uses costumes and face paint in her music videos serve to obscure her in an effort to make her craft more about the music and visuals rather than herself. If her face is unobscured, she often employs other individuals to lip-sync in music videos with Karin serving as a background character. She utilizes voice changers and uses her voice more like a synthesized instrument rather than focusing on pure, un-altered singing

If I had a Heart is one of my absolute favourite songs,

The droning repetition creates a dark atmosphere juxtaposed with visuals of a mansion littered with bodies.  The video combined with the song has a vey folklore like feeling, or the aftermath of something supernatural, much like urban legend theories of the Dyatlov Pass incident. there are a few entries in the SPC foundation that fit the atmosphere I’m wanting to compare better

Her music, for me, creates an apprehensive, uncanny valley like atmosphere I enjoy.

Collaboration with Röyksopp under her Fever Ray monicker (not obvious on the video title, but she’s credited on the album) She appears in the video but the lipsync is done by Marianne Schröder

~Sara Y

Made with Tears

Never have I cried so much during the making of a piece.

I have cried out of complete frustration but never from sadness and loss. I miss my auntie and making this piece about her was hard. Throughout the process, I was flooded with memories of her, her beautiful smile and how she stayed a bright light until the bitter end. In the moments when I felt like I was going to get emotional I just walked away and took a break. However, the process (and emotion) caught up with me last week. I had just thought gleefully to myself, “The end is near!” and, as if on cue, warp threads started to snap. 1-2-3-4…and finally 5.  I lost it.  Emotion gushed silently out of my eyes.

I now find myself in a position of unknowing.  This piece is raw and ugly.  I don’t think I like it but it is over. I am relieved.

Here are a few preview pics…


Off the loom. Before washing or the secondary addition of raw wool.


Detail after first washing.

Detail after first washing.



Interview with Alex Link

 Dr. Alex Link is an instructor at ACAD and the Chair of Critical and Creative Studies. His main focus are on both the analysis, and history of comics and the graphic novel.  His list of selected works are listed on the ACAD website and his Academia page.
I had the pleasure of being in a couple of his classes, most recently being ENGL 333.

SY: How did you get into studying the Graphic Novel as an Academic subject?
AL: “I never really had much of an interest in them until I started teaching at ACAD. Before that, I was a teaching assistant for a single course in comics, but otherwise had read very little in the field.  When I came to work at the College, it made sense to me that students at an art and design school might have an interest in them. It’s sometimes a challenge to get students to see the way in which the contents of an English course can inform their studio practice, and comics seemed like a reasonable medium by which we could meet in the middle.”
SY: What would be the best Graphic Novel for an emerging artist/writer to have in their library?
AL: “I think the best way to answer this question is to say they should have as many and as much of a variety as possible. Exposure to as wide a range as you can access can only help you expand your visual, formal, and narrative vocabulary.”
SY: Do you have a particular favourite Graphic Novel? If so which one? If not, why?
AL: “I have lots of favourites. It’s difficult to choose just one, though lately I’d have to say I’m especially interested in Duncan the Wonder Dog by Adam Hines. It’s thoughtful, emotionally affecting, and visually rich.  It thinks very carefully about the status of animals in the world, and does so in a manner that draws very heavily on print and collage to make a perpetually surprising story.  It’s ambitious, too: the author’s been creating strips around this story-world since he was six year old, which is why it’s title is so curious and also why he works on simple letter-six paper, since that’s what they had in his house; furthermore, he pretty much plans to work on the narrative for the rest of his life, since he has another 13 volumes of it (probably around 4-5000 pages worth) he wants to write.  The author has recently decided to make it available for free here: I have favourite comic strips too, particularly George Herriman’s Krazy Kat and just about anything by Ben Katchor, including his graphic novel The Cardboard Valise. It’s a really long list of favourites, in the end. I’m a glutton”

Thank you Alex for taking the time to answer, and thank you for the link to Duncan the Wonder Dog. I will be reading further
~Sara Y

Jacquard Images – Daniel Lévesque

Dick pics 2: electric boogaloo

sam_0736  sam_0734




dan-10-2016 dan-graphite

Much Neglected Posts

Here’s some progress images from thumbnail, to close to being weavable file and a bonus Vsevolod (Svetlana’s younger but not youngest brother)

Since I’m still having trouble getting the words out to explain my characters, I will give you all name explanations
Daniel Lévesque – It’s an inside joke to myself. Literally named after my grade 7 teacher who would pronounce “Daniel” as it is in French and said Daniel kid would have a hissy fit every time because “it’s a girl’s name”. His name is supposed to be the French pronunciation, which I frequently get wrong.

Both him and Svetlana are couple, which is why I planned on two Jacquard panels.

I’ll be posting a few storyboard test things, but I hope to do more storyboards in the future to explain my characters better than I can by talking about them.


~Sara Y

Jacquard Images – Svetlana Igorevna Druzhnikova





sveta-lines1 sveta1

progress of Sveta

I might use a modified version of Daniel’s background for her . She will be approximately the same dimensions of 20″ x 66″ and will be woven with the same wool, that being the Aubusson house tapestry wool.

I’ll see If I can get her weaving finished in the time I have left

(Her first name is based from an artist, Svetlana Valueva, who’s work I loved in high school, and her patronymic is based from Igor Stravinsky, one of my favourite composers)

~Sara Y

Review of Leah Decter’s Here…is the place where you are, Trespass/es piece

Leah Decter discusses in her body of work Here… is the place where you are, the conceptual thinking behind four of her works. Decter explores the human relationship to place, using personal memories, lineage, and iconography she focuses heavily on social and political topics. Decter combines the mediums of video and textiles to educate the viewer through narrative. Her making of the quilt reflects her thought process and the editing of the video projection gives insight into her technique.

Her piece Trespass/es provokes a question relevant to my personal practice; How can one communicate a textile concept using video in a practical display?

Decters piece, Trespass/es, implicated both video and textile installment. Her focus on community also tied into her ideas of place being defined as a result of human history. She describes the projected video and quilt as a ‘dialog of centuries’, making connections to run off threads as a form of lineage. The constituent pieces of this installation are interdependent, in that one cannot exist without the other to be successful.

A free PDF file can be found here: Decter, Leah. “Here… is the place where you are.” Digital Commons at University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Google Scholar. N.p., 2006. Web. 01 Dec. 2016



3 question interview with Architecture student Fearghus Heatley

Fearghus Heatley matriculated at the University of Ulster, Belfast, Northern Ireland in 2005, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture in 2008. During his studies he explored various building concepts, designs and construction techniques.

KR: During your study at the University of Ulster did your tutors encourage the idea of sustainable living, such as the burgeoning ‘Solar Survival’ movement in Taos New Mexico?

FH: In short, no. The emphasis was very much on using conventional methods of building, in both the commercial and residential sectors. The topic of sustainable living was encouraged as an idea when it was brought up, but it was definitely not the focal point it ought to have been. I remember that we had to be aware of sustainability as though it were some abstract concept that we needed to read about and memorise for an exam, when in fact it should have been the driving force behind every idea we critiqued. I read about Michael Reynolds and his efforts to radically change the world of architecture with his Earthship model for the future, but my tutors redirected my attention back to the plugged-in, monotone contemporary designs of standard housing. Sustainability was a word we knew the definition of, but we were not encouraged to explore what it really means.

KR: Can you please describe one of your assignments that would be relevant from an art perspective?

FH: Shown is a concept for an AISC (All Ireland Shared Campus) in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The brief was to create a multi-purpose facility for Irish emigrants in Amsterdam. It was to be an educational campus and incorporate art exhibition spaces, scholars apartments as well as a large auditorium for artistic performances. The site was on a dock, so the challenge was to integrate this large building without it being too out of context. I proposed a free-floating platform that would act as a café/art gallery and could be driven around the dock like a ferry, picking up and dropping off patrons along the way.

Conceptually it was interesting to analyse a site that was in a different country. Not only the language barrier, but also different regulations applied, so the site analysis and contextual research alone took weeks before I put pencil to paper. The concept still had a long way to go, even at the time of presentation, but I learned a lot during the process.

Images provided courtesy of artist: Heatley, Fearghus. AISC (All Ireland Shared Campus). 2008. JPG

KR: How does the standard of building regulations differ in the past 10 years since you completed your degree? Have you noticed any changes in the system that are adapting to the changing economy?

FH: The simple answer here is; I don’t know. However the reason for my not knowing might shed some light on the second part of your question. I don’t know how the building regulations have changed in the last decade because I have not been in practice. I have never worked in an architect’s office, nor do I ever intend to. I learned much more about architecture post-graduation than I ever did during my studies. I realised that architecture, as it is now, has nothing whatsoever to do with humans. It is completely divorced from the Earth, which is why we need an electrical grid to have basic requirements such as water or heat. This is ridiculous, and is going to change within this decade.

When I graduated in 2008, the building industry in Ireland hit rock bottom, and so I travelled abroad rather than seeking employment in any convenient store. I quickly forgot about my adolescent aspirations of being an architect because I had no confidence in the current system, and so I have not kept up with changes to building regulations since that time. My degree is a relic of an education system that does not work because it is directed at making people dependant consumers, not free human beings. Education leads to employment, not enlightenment.

KR: If that is your perspective of the current system, then what are your intentions for the future? Can you use anything from your education, maybe in a personal ambition?

FH: I think the only rational thing to do is to go off-grid, in order to avoid becoming dependant on others to survive. So, yes, I have many transferable skills gained from university that I can apply to making that happen. Possessing skills in scaled drawings, being able to critically analyse design concepts, having basic knowledge of construction techniques and materials – these will all stand me in good stead when building my own home successfully.


Thank you Fearghus for your time in answering these questions and publication of your work.




Navigating the Research Ethics Board Pt. 2

Haven’t read Pt. 1 yet? Click Here

On November 10th the REB reviewed my proposal and subsequently denied it, emailing me a list of 22 points that needed revision in my proposal before acceptance could be considered. After getting over my initial outrage, Mackenzie and I went over the points and realized that there really wasn’t much to change, the REB just wanted certain points to be explicitly clear. At this point I am about to request more information on a few points, upon clarification I will hopefully proceed with tweaking my application so that I can actually embark on this project next semester. If you are considering a project that may require REB approval below is my list of recommendations to help you have the smoothest possible process:

  • Complete the REB Self Assessment Form
  • If you will need to do a full-blown REB proposal, go ahead and do CORE because you’ll have to do it anyway and it’s nice to get it out of the way early
  • At this point, since ACAD doesn’t have our own, take a look through Dalhousie University’s Researcher Checklist (linked above) as it is super helpful. Some of the things you will be asked to do seem mind-numbingly redundant, but it is important to be thorough and your future self with thank you, trust me.
  • When you write your submission be as thorough as possible in all areas, but especially around mitigating risks to participants, the REB will want to see this information all over the place in your submission (did I mention things getting redundant?)
  • If you need to create some sort of informed consent waiver or a waiver of any sort the readability should be between a Grade 8 and Grade 9 reading level. This one is particularly difficult given that you are used to writing at a University level. Since your participants may not have that reading level however, any forms and documents shared with participants need to be readable by a majority
  • Your informed consent document will also need to be abundantly clear on absolutely every point. You must leave nothing up for questioning, and yes it will be repetitive.
  • Be prepared to be disappointed. No seriously, prepare for your proposal to be rejected the first time. The REB exists to make sure your proposal is airtight and that any risks are mitigated, so the first time around you will probably be rejected and asked to submit more information. Speaking as someone who wasn’t really prepared for a refusal, it is a good thing to prepare for.
  • Don’t compromise your or the project’s integrity for the sake of getting approved. This sounds like a strange thing to advise people, but I mean it. The REB has asked that I include my personal phone number on certain documents and while I can understand why, this is not okay with me for a variety of reasons. Just like the REB has dealbreakers for approval, so should you. If the REB rejects your proposal and advises you to do things that you aren’t okay with doing, I would strongly recommend trying to find some middle ground and expressing to them what your dealbreakers are. As disappointing as it would be to not embark on a proposal, it is better in my estimation to not compromise yourself or your project because the REB wants you to do something that you are not comfortable with doing.

If you have any questions about this process or my proposal, let me know!


Navigating the Research Ethics Board Pt. 1

As some of you know, this semester I have been navigating ACAD’s fairly new Research Ethics Board and the process for submitting a project to them. The basis of my proposed work is to interview survivors of sexual violence and print their stories in small, hand-bound books. When I first embarked on this wild ride I had no idea how much work it would be. Let me tell you, it’s a lot. Here is a link to the REB Self Assessment Form, which is the first step in a submission to the REB. This is where you, your instructor and the head of the REB basically decide whether or not you need to do a full-on proposal to the board or not. Basically is your proposed project directly involves people or animals, you will likely have to do a full blown proposal to the whole board.

Something else I did was the Government of Canada’s Course on Research Ethics (CORE), which is an online ten-module course that gives an overview on how to conduct ethical and responsible research. The course is about 3 hours long, and definitely worth the time if you have any to spare (though if anyone goes on to do graduate degrees you will likely be required to go through it anyway). Overall this beginning process was helpful for me identifying problem areas with my proposed research and rectifying them. For example, confidentiality of participants and their information is absolutely paramount, especially around this subject matter. Mackenzie mentioned to me that were anyone, familiar with my work, to see me interviewing a participant they may guess as to what we are talking about, thus outting the interviewee as a survivor of sexual violence. Of course, this makes complete sense but I had not completely considered all the ways in which I will need to protect participants in my project. Having an individual go over absolutely every little detail of a proposed project is exactly the point of the REB, a fact which I am grateful for.

After this point things became a bit complex. Unlike many other post-secondary institutions, ACAD has not had a Research Ethics Board for decades, rather only a couple of years (chicken incident anyone?). Because our REB is relatively new and our population very small (the REB is not receiving hundreds of submissions thus forcing a streamlined process), there was a lot of waiting and a lot of re-doing the same information in a variety of different ways (so many emails). At this point ACAD does not have our own checklist of requirements for REB submissions, so I was given the Researcher Checklist from Dalhousie University and told to address from points 2.1 onward, which I then did.

Continued in Navigating the Research Ethics Board Pt. 2



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