07 December 2012

'Tis the Season for Personal Projects!

While Small Pond slows down over the winter months, Milé and I take advantage of the time to work on our  personal projects.

I just returned from Ghana with my project Puppets Without Borders (follow the adventures on  the blog). 

Meanwhile, Milé is in the midst of a painting marathon - painting 100 portraits in 100 hours! Check out his amazing work at Burning the Midnight Oil.

He even painted a portrait of me!

29 November 2012

Open House

Krista and Milé would like to invite you to their holiday Open House at Small Pond Arts, Sunday 16 December from 11am to 5pm.

Drop in for a bite, a bevvie, and a chin-wag! View the 100 portraits that Milé painted in 100 hours during Burning the Midnight Oil and warm up by the blazing wood stove and let Krista regale you with tales of her recent trip toGhana. Plus, there will be a massive sale happening in the gallery, with all paintings being between 25-50% off...and a selection of finger puppets that make great stocking stuffers.

All are welcome! Stay for as little or as long as you'd like. Hope to see you then!

24 October 2012

Shadow Puppet Music Video

Here's a shadow puppet music video we made a while back at Small Pond. You can read about the making of the video below. Enjoy!

Home - Nine Mile [Shadow Puppet Music Video] from josh lyon on Vimeo.

Music: Home by Nine Mile
Puppets: Shadow of a Doubt Collective
Shot at: Small Pond Arts
Written & Directed by: Krista Dalby & Craig Morrison
Puppeteers: Nicole Armour, Krista Dalby, Cecila Jost, Susanne Larner, Josh Lyon, Craig Morrison, Laura Todd
Shot & Edited by: Josh Lyon

Each August, the puppeteers of Shadow of a Doubt Collective descend on Small Pond Arts to work some magic and create a live shadow puppetry show. We had intended to do so again this year, but due to some personal issues we were unable to go ahead.

Craig Morrison and I still wanted to make something, so he suggested that he and I do a music video. It had to be done quickly; the last days of the summer were upon us and we both had other fish to fry. Craig wanted to use Small Pond as the setting of the video, and I started thinking about music. It didn't take too long to find the perfect song, Home, by local band Nine Mile. The refrain about "never want(ing) to go home” resonated with me, because that's what so many of our resident artists say when it's time for them to leave! I asked the bands’ front man, D’Ari Pouyat, if he’d be okay with us making a video, and having no idea what he was agreeing to, he said yes!

Puppets in progress
Craig and I jammed on some ideas; I came up with a script and he started cutting puppets. When he arrived at the farm pretty much all of the character puppets were finished. As so often occurs with Craig's designs, the characters all looked very familiar... not only were the members of the band represented, but there was a puppet of me at the oven, Milé on stilts, and Craig and his wife Elizabeth - as Sasquatches! Craig and I spent two long days in the barn, cutting and ‘sticking’ puppets. Our friends Lindsay and little Sebastien came out to help.
Lindsay Reid and junior puppeteer Bassie at work in the Art Barn
As there were some scenes with a lot going on, I knew we needed many hands on deck, so I put out a call for puppeteers, and four awesome local women – and first-time puppeteers - responded. Kingston puppeteer/filmmaker/musician Josh Lyon came to mind as a potential collaborator, so I contacted him, too, and he responded with enthusiasm. Such is the beauty of working in a puppet "collective" - new members come and go on a very fluid, informal basis.

A peek backstage!
From front to back: Nicole Armour, Susanne Larner, Krista Dalby, Laura Todd , Josh Lyon.
It was the day of the shoot, and Josh and Susanne arrived in the afternoon. Then Craig broke his thumb and went to the hospital for a few hours. Josh took some time out to play accordion in the silo.

Everyone else showed up around dusk, and without a moment to spare, we launched into shooting. The whole thing was shot in three wild and woolly hours with Josh behind the camera and Craig and I tag-team directing. Josh took the footage away and worked his editing magic, and ta-da! A music video is born.

Look at that focus! L to R: Nicole Armour, Cecilia Jost, Craig Morrison
In case you’re wondering Why Sasquatches? Why lightning bolts?  you can read about that HERE.

Thanks to everyone who helped out - it was so fun working with all of you!

15 October 2012

The Scarecrows Strike Again

Our annual Scarecrow Festival took place last Saturday and Sunday over the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, and once again, it was a great success.

How can the success of such an event be measured? It could be measured in smiles…

Or laughter…

Or by the number of people who showed up…

Or by the number of scarecrows that were made…

Or by the artistic merit of the creations…

Or by the number of kids who dressed themselves up as scarecrows…

Or by the sheer awesomeness of our weekend visitors…

Or by the money that was raised for Puppets Without Borders… which was nothing to sneeze at!

Although the weather was a little on the windy and chilly side, so many enthusiastic folks and families came out, it was pretty hard for us to resist grinning all weekend long.

Thanks to our generous sponsors for making this year's Scarecrow Festival the glorious event that it was: Picton Home Hardware, George Emlaw, Picton Metro, City Revival, Andrew & Emily’s No Frills and all the folks who made goodies for our bake sale.

We’ll be doing it all again for Thanksgiving 2013 – so see you then!

01 October 2012

Lighting Fall Fires

This fall Small Pond has been positively abuzz with activity. I've been working like mad on my project Puppets Without Borders… and then there was Stickfest… but oh no, that is not all! A few weeks ago we hosted the Experimental Lantern Laboratory, which was the first creative step in what will become the inaugural Firelight Lantern Festival in the works for April 2013. We brought together artists and community members in a free-form workshop, where they could play around with the materials and make anything they wanted.

Many worked in pairs; everything is more fun with a friend.

In the month prior to the festival, these creative souls will be our workshop leaders, going out into the community, hosting 20 workshops around Prince Edward County. They’ll be working with people of all ages to create lanterns which everyone will bring to the festival and carry in the procession. Other lanterns will be made to hang in shop windows on Main Street Picton.

We call ourselves The Department of Illumination. Our goal is to bring our community together and light up the night with creativity. If this initial workshop is anything to go by, I think that we’re in for an amazingly fun time.

Back row, L to R: Norman Markland, Nella Casson, Krista Dalby, Shelby Larner, Susanne Larner, Liz Zylstra.

Front row, L to R: Mile Murtanovski, Chrissy Poitras, Kyle Topping
This past weekend we hosted a writer’s retreat let by Chris Kay Fraser of Firefly Creative Writing, called “Spark Your Creative Fires for Fall.” With eight participants, including myself, it was a weekend filled with not just words on the page, but also with great kindness – both to each other, and to our creative selves.

Chris led us through a series of writing exercises and prompts designed to get our engines running.

There were two periods of completely silent writing time, where we were encouraged to not even make eye contact with one another, and were free to work on whatever we liked.

I love having a house full of writers. People moving about in silence, respecting the tranquility of others and finding space for their own thoughts. The constant flow of caffeinated beverages, keeping those big, beautiful ideas silently blooming in every corner of the house, the yard, the grounds. What I will remember most was on the second night, when the silence was broken, and people shared the stories and poems they'd written. It was very moving to listen to all of these incredible, vivid, inner worlds bursting out into the world for the first time. We discussed how we could tell when a piece of writing was “good,” and one of the writers said, “I know a piece of writing is good when it makes me want to cry.” I sense that I wasn't the only one who had a lump in their throat that night.

On our last morning together, and as our last act as a group, we each wrote on a rock a few words that were meaningful to us.

We walked out to the woods, relishing these last moments as our time together drew to a close. We placed our rocks in the forest, amongst the other art on the artists’ trail.

Then Chris gave us one last gift, reading us a poem, stoking the fires within us with one last breath of wisdom and beauty.

Chris reads us one last poem
Although autumn is often thought of as a time of endings, this year the fall seems rich with new beginnings; small, precious fires that will keep us warm all winter long.

24 September 2012

Stickfest 2012

Once again Stickfest was upon us, once again we had glorious weather, and once again the price of admission was one stick.
I changed up the design of the poster this year, opting for something a little thinner to better fit among the multitudes of other posters on bulletin boards around the County.

As always, the main feature of our festival is our Museum of the Stick which looks better and better (and is more impressive) each year as new exhibits get added and old exhibits get replaced or refreshed.

Most of the exhibits tend to be on the walls, freeing up space on the floor for the activity stations like the ever popular Paint-A-Stick. This year we added yarn to the mix for even more decorative possibilities.

Silhouettes: stick painter & sticky playlist on the stereo.

This year Krista read from "Stanley's Stick" by John Hegley and Neal Layton, while I had the privilege of reciting The Glory of the Stick by Stickfest's official Poet Laureate Colin Frizzell.

The audience is impressed.

Last year I set an unofficial world record for The Most Hickory Sticks in the Mouth. That record was 93 Hickory Sticks and you can tell by the photos that I was getting quite uncomfortable by the end because of the light I decided to stand under. Plus the whole gag reflex thing. It was cooler this year so standing under the hot light wasn't a problem and, with the assembled crowd counting each stick, I managed to break my record and insert 101 Hickory Sticks in my mouth before giving in.

Here's Bay Woodyard from Honey Pie Hives and Herbals with her yarn bombing project. While technically not stick-related, Bay demonstrated a technique others did implement with their various sticks.

This year we had our first canine visitor for the event, Flicker, courtesy of the Wiens family. In fact, I'm pretty sure he appeared in Carl's awesome poster he created for our first Stickfest in 2010.

Of course, Flicker had to demonstrate the age-old relationship between dog and stick by fetching a few. Good boy.

About a month or so ago, we got a call from a woman who wanted to celebrate her birthday with her friends in a unique way. Her favourite movie being The Wizard of Oz, she wanted to know if she could come by with a group of her friends and create some scarecrows. Since we were already prepping for this year's Scarecrow Festival (read about last year's event here), we had no problem accommodating her birthday plans.

Proceeds from this year's Scarecrow Festival will go to Puppets Without Borders, with the event taking place October 6 & 7 2012, from 11 AM to 5 PM.

The partyers - costumed like characters from The Wizard of Oz - began their creations enthusiastically and without hesitation.

Dressing a scarecrow can sometimes be as challenging as dressing an unwilling child (or a drunken adult), but it's always worth the effort and concentration.

Fun with the straw.
Big thanks again to George Emlaw for donating the straw!

This one seemed to be missing something...

...so she got some augmentation.

Can you pick out your scarecrow from this lineup?

The finished scarecrows and their proud creators.
A good time was had by all!

Thanks to everyone who came out to Stickfest this year and made it so much fun. The Stick Museum will be open until Halloween if you want to come by and check it out. We welcome your contributions to the Stick Museum and ideas for future Stickfests, and we're happy to provide a venue for your creative events.