Category: Jamie’s Creative Life

Found Poem #2: The Remnant

The remnant,
The faces,
The griefs,
The terrors,
The ruin

Letters to each and all

The deepest wisdom
Of all the earth

The city throbbed
Day and night
The narrow ways
Were crowded
The wide road
Yet dark

A strange cry rang out
And the point was a rich sword

Found Poem #1: The Raven

To lie in bed,
Gnawing with wrath at weakness,
She ravened up
And wandered in the wilds.

Bold and insolent,
Able to bear shame and anguish no longer
and stubborn

Forced to fly
White with great age
And the calmness of deep learning

While I am tucked away in the studio building The Academy for the fall, I am taking little breaks to nourish and express my creative spirit.  I have a love of poetry and have been delighting in creating little found poems from an old book.

August Flowers

With the seasonal approach of the studio, one of my plans has always been to take time off between seasons. So far I have often found myself right into the next, plotting and planning, designing and creating behind the scenes. This month, however, it looks like there will be time for me to meander the boardwalk, journal in coffee shops and catch up on my sleep. In anticipation, I find myself walking slowly through my neighbourhood, enjoying the beauty this time of year holds.

Morning Glories


Star of Billion

Star Burst


New Additions to the Garden

New Garden Additions

It’s already a bit late in the season to be getting to the garden centre but there was still plenty of beauty!  I always put some annuals out front, usually some dark red geraniums and some purple wave petunias, neither of which were available so I made some new choices. What’s funny is that I didn’t even notice that I had picked the same  colour scheme! I guess I just like it, especially against the green of our house.

Verbena Hybrid

Verbena Hybrid  – Lanai Dark Red Verbena (annual)


Salvia longispicata x farinacea – Mystic Spires, Blue Salvia (perennial)

Euphorbia Stardust

Euphorbia Hybrid – ‘Star Dust Super Flash” Euphorbia (annual)

Delphinium Guardian

Delphinium elatum – “Guardian Lavender” Delphinium (perennial)

Japanese Pieris

Pieris japonica – ‘Brouwer’s Beauty’ Japanese Pieris (shrub)

These give me a sense of serenity and sanctuary just looking at them. Tomorrow I’ll get them in the ground and let them start the process of making our garden home.

What are you planting in your garden this year?

Art School: Paper Cutting and Collage

First Day at Art Class

A couple of years ago, I braved registering for a collage course at the  Toronto School of Art, facing my creative desires and working through my fears and negative experiences with this kind of an environment. I learned a lot about collage, about myself and about the stories I had about art school. This summer I am returning for a second class: paper-cutting and collage. I feel free, inspired and at home. It helps that I’m working with the same teacher. Let me share with you a little of what I’m learning.

Warrior Queen

The first exercise we did was adding collage materials to abandoned paintings. Our focus was the face. It  is admittedly a rather unnerving experience to cut the face down into component parts.  (I talked about this a bit on stART.) It had me thinking about the nature of collage, the messages of deconstruction that are inherent in using this art form.


Then we created another portrait, this time using the offcuts, making use of negative space. It was magical to see characters come to life as we built them up from scraps that might have been left behind, papers that would normally have been be put into recycling.

Next we created geometric collages. I made this one based on the Three-Part Harmony Quilt taught by Anna Maria Horner  on Creativebug. I loved its strategy of creating with a tonal palette of lights, mids and darks. I completed two collages, one with the darks being predominant and this one, where the lights are.

Our next assignment was paper weaving. We chose two images, making slits in one and strips out of the other and then brought them together with weaving. This process takes patience and a bit of dexterity but it is fascinating to discover what emerges when the piece is complete. I experimented with a gradual expanding of both the width of the strips and the the amount of space between them. I wondered if this would create a sense of growing expansion.

Art School Sink

My favourite unofficial activity during class is scanning the room for found art. You won’t believe what this piece is. Take a moment and see if you can guess…. It’s the art school sink after a good cleaning and scrubbing.

Art Boards

Some beautiful boards tucked away for student use.

Found Painting

And my favourite: the well-used tabletop.

Art is everywhere.

The Magic of the Garden

The return of open windows is one of the gifts of spring. As the kittens enjoyed the fresh air, I followed their gaze into the backyard.

While they watched for birds and squirrels, my eyes caught sight of green!

Clearing Wire

I rushed outside to free the sprouting bulbs from their protective winter covering of leaves and chicken wire.

Bright Promise

Oh, the joy of discovery!

Tender Green

I love this tender stage of the garden – the sweet shapes, the fresh colours.

Tender Garden

As if that wasn’t joy enough, the sun came out just as I freed these new shoots.

The World of the Garden

That is the magic of the garden. As  I clear the way and discover new life, I feel close to myself, to the Earth and to my mom.

Look Closely for Beauty

From a distance, it looks like a big mess and a patch of dirt.

 Last Season's Leaves

But when you look closely, there is beauty to be found.

Garden Guardian

Finding Beauty in My Neglected Garden

My Neglected Garden

It’s fall and I’ve been feeling badly about neglecting my garden this year. Maybe it was the heat. Maybe it was the intense work going on in the studio. I hardly got out there at all. Weeds grew to a massive height. Grass pushed the boundaries, establishing dominance over the garden borders. Stray morning glories wound their way tightly around phlox and roses, intertwining their fates for the season. When I saw my peonies covered in powdery mildew, I wanted to go back inside.

Instead. I looked a little closer. Here’s what I saw.







The beauty of life always and always finds a way and that always and always gives me hope.

Jamie photographing Shibumi & Scout