Hello and Welcome

Hunting in the deep dark woods and further creative ventures


My Studio

Welcome to my studio space at school. This is my bulletin board. Isn't it interesting? We've got rolls of fabric (they were free, and I took the whole rolls because I knew that they would be useful to me), some dead Baby's Breath, my corset from my first silkscreen project, an apron (with gloves and eye protection), holographic Virgin Mary, fabric samples, a print of a drawing of a wolf spewing rainbow colours, and some finished prints (no longer there. They are about to be cut up to be made into a corset panel). Little bits are constantly being added. Inspiration abound.


Your thoughts about me, and how that will be transformed into a portrait

My most recent drawing project is to do a surrogate portrait. That isn't the exact title, but basically, we have to take a symbol or an image or an object or something that represents us. Not us, but the artist. In this case, me. For me, this means that I am going to do one of my garment portraits (or portrait garments?)... Only of myself. Which is going to be interesting! However, to make things really interesting, I'm going to diverge away from myself. I'm going to concede that people have opinions or thoughts about me, and I can't possibly encapsulate those ideas (which are far more interesting [to me] than my opinions and thoughts about myself) without asking. So here we are! I am shaking, nervous, and extremely apprehensive. I am wondering if this is a good idea, and if it will create something interesting. I am afraid of the end result, but curious... Then again... Curiousity killed the cat, didn't it? Or in this case... the fox?

All of this being said, if you would like to help me with my piece, please give me a word, image, or short phrase, indicating who you think I am. Does that make sense? Preferably, give a word. But if you want to see me embroider something really complicated... Well, we can't be friends, but I'll still do it. Begrudgingly. Feel free to comment as yourself, or anonymously, or what have you. I just think that this will make for a much more interesting portrait. I mean, let's face it. Otherwise I'll just make a garment that likens myself to some kind of historical character... And I'm not sure that I want to do that.


Fascinating Discoveries in the Pages of Books

I collect old books. The majority of my books are from the 1920s, but a few are newer, one or two are from the 1910s, and one from the 1840s. I absolutely adore old books. The paper feels different, the pages carry the scent of ages, and the binding is beautiful. They carry such a history, both personal and universal. Thus, I buy all of the old books that I can find, particularly those that tell tales of medical remedies, fairy tales, and curious things. Last night I was flipping through a couple of my books. One in particular stood out to me on this evening. There was one time when my husband (well, fiancee, at the time) and I were at the MCC Thrift Store. He found a copy of 'The Home Physician and Guide To Health, Volume II' from 1935. The first chapter is about Insanity, so I snapped it up happily.

While flipping through it last night, I actually read the handwriting at the front. I had always glossed over it, because of the names and dates. I kind of assumed that they were the owners of the book, or who the book was given to. Instead...

It is a record of who was infected with what, and in what year. Originally, I assumed that it was a list of what shots were administered, and when. However, a friend of mine commented on the photo (above) and explained that those vaccines wouldn't have been invented or perfected yet, and that it was a record of what they were sick with. Fascinating, really. Especially in the way that you can see which was most infectious (measles, and all four children [I presume] got it in 1953, but not at the same time). It's so interesting! Though, I'm definitely glad that such medical advancements have been made, and these diseases are not as prominent as they once were. Thank goodness...

Old books tell so many tales. Especially if you read the handwritten notes. It similar to old photographs- it's amazing to capture a snapshot of life, and the very personal thoughts that haunt all of our minds.


Rape Culture and You: An Introduction

We are living in an interesting time. It is unfortunate, mind you, but it is an interesting time. We are at a moment where 'rape culture' is a concept, and a 'thing', and it is, in many groups, socially acceptable. Here are a few examples, pulled from Twitter (there are more on an article on feministing.com).

Now, why on earth is this acceptable? Has the internet just become a place for potential rapists and molesters? Is Twitter a place where we can place where dangerous individuals can openly admit that they are a threat, and this is what they will do if they find an attractive woman? (Or man, or child, for that matter. Maybe they're just not stating who their choice victim is) Or, rather than 'attractive woman'... vulnerable woman? 

Well... unfortunately this isn't the case.  That would be a very valuable and honest system, but that's what websites created by the government are for. You know, the websites created by offices like SORNA or NCJRS. Of course, these sites aren't as user friendly as something like Twitter, but they still offer some tools. But then again... The people who are posting these 'Tweets' are probably not sexual offenders. Though... maybe we should ask them. Would it be socially acceptable to respond to those tweets and ask if they're sexual offenders? 

Most people would probably get a bit uptight and offended as soon as you would ask. I mean, if you're not, that's kind of an offensive question. It's like flat-out asking someone if they cheat on their wife, if they've ever beaten their child, or if they've ever done anything of ghastly social disorder. Not generally questions you would ask. But still, when someone is practically admitting to something they would do, or consider to be okay, they are almost asking for such questions. 

Now, we are fairly aware that the people posting these probably aren't serious. Which, in most ways, makes it worse. It makes it exceedingly difficult to recognize the threats to society. It also masks the actual threats, because the people who are truly dangerous and psychotic are usually intelligent enough to keep their mouths shut. Still, these people on Twitter, in fraternities, and everywhere in our modern world, somehow think that it's acceptable to post such things. 

Personally, I find that it's not far from posting something that says 'I like being compared to serial killers.' But really... who would want to be compared to someone like this:

Not a terrible looking person, right? If we're purely surface based, that would be the case. However, a few of you might recognize this man as the notorious murderer Ted Bundy. 

In a nutshell, Ted Bundy was an American serial killer, rapist, kidnapper and necrophile. Shortly before his execution, he admitted to 30  homicides in seven states between 1974 and 1978. The true number of victims is actually unknown, and could actually be much higher. He would rape, desecrate the corpse through unspeakable means, take severed heads as momentos, and to make matters worse... He was described as charismatic and handsome, he was well-educated, and intelligent.

That last phrase doesn't sound far off from the frat members in universities, does it?

Ted Bundy is one of the most familiar serial killers, with the most victims. However, the list extends further, on an international level. Rodney Alcala, Benjamin Atkins, Lawrence Bittaker & Roy Norris, Terry Blair, Harvey Carignan, Alton Coleman, Dean Corll & Elmer Wayne Henley, Jeffrey Dahmer, Westley Allan Dodd, Ronald Dominique, Joseph E. Duncan III, Paul Durousseau, Mack Ray Edwards, Scott Erskine, Albert Fish, Joseph Paul Franklin, Gerald & Charlene Gallego, Billy Glaze, Paul John Knowles, Gordon Northcott, Carl Panzram, David Park Ray, Michael Bruce Ross, Altemio Sanchez, Edward Spreitzer, Abdul Latif Sharif, Paul Bernardo, Leopold Dion... These are the known serial killers who raped and molested women, men, and children, just from United States and Canada alone.

Now, let's review some interesting concepts. Approximately 76% of the world's serial killers are from the United States. The majority are white male. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the statistics are pretty similar to those of the people who find rape culture to be acceptable. 

Kind of scary.

Now, I'm not saying that every person who posts about rape culture is going to end up as a serial killer. But it's almost guaranteed that the amount of sexual violence will be affected. If it's acceptable among social groups, and it becomes a stud thing to take advantage of a woman, a lot of young men might take it upon themselves to commit an act of sexual violence, thus invoking a rite of passage. I don't know if this would happen, but to be honest, I would be afraid to be a young woman at a university fraternity party. 

Ultimately, I think that a lot of the people, who are posting these frightening and disturbing things on Twitter, are living in a very opaque bubble. A dangerous kind of bubble that desensitizes the reality of rape, sexual violence, sexual offenses, or the repercussions of committing such actions towards other person. If you type the words 'rape victim' into Google images, you do not see anything humourous. You see images of beaten women, covered in dark bruises, laying in hospital beds; women cradling themselves out of fear, disgust and anger; women protesting rape and admitting that they have been sexually abused. Men and women who find rape jokes funny need to look at these images and get out of their opaque bubbles. They need to realize that sexual violence is a reality, but that it doesn't need to be.

People need to be educated. That is the only way to rectify and steer away from this time we're in. Men shouldn't have (or be able) to be compared to notorious rapists and murderers. Women shouldn't have to be afraid or feel unsafe.  In writing this, I want to say that there are men who are honest, who understand that women are not objects to be taken advantage of. Women understand the same about men. Anyone can be a victim of sexual abuse, and it is our duty to educate everyone that this isn't the way the world should be. Talk to your children. Explain that men don't need to be monsters who pose as threats to women. It shouldn't be the women's responsibility to dress is loose fitting and obscuring clothing. Not to mention the fact that men should be insulted at the idea that they can't contain themselves and can't respect women. 

Respect others, and respect yourself. We don't need to live in a world where rape culture is a subject. Those words should not be together, and this is the time to educate individuals and make sure that they know why.


Longbeard Leathers

Today was the Red & White Comic and Toy Expo. It's a great expo to go to- lots of comics and toys, and a few other vendors. It's awesome because you can enjoy the different booths, and it's not as busy or insane as the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo. The CCEE is a lot less about comics now, and it's mostly a pop culture event. It's still cool, but not nearly as much.

One vendor that I met at the Red & White expo was the creator of Longbeard Leathers. She makes different leather pieces, all of which are inspired by nerdy and geeky things, and pop culture. I'm intending to get a custom piece made by her, as I love her bracelets. 

They're nice leather, with beautiful colours. The one that I bought is inspired by Supernatural (one of my absolute favourite television shows). 

Be sure to check out her shop. There's lots of great stuff, and a great way to show off your nerdy tendencies. Not to mention the fact that they're leather, and who can say no to that? You can find a link to her Etsy shop right here.


Terrible Movie Experiences

This evening was the first time that I have ever, ever, walked out of a theatre. We got refunds for our tickets, and an understanding nod towards the fact that our movie going experience was ruined for us. 

It's Friday the 13th, and the opening night for Insidious: Chapter 2. We were pretty excited, and prepared ourselves by watching the first chapter of Insidious. It's a great film by itself, but having a second part with a continuing ending just makes it better. We went to the 8 PM showing, ready to watch. 

The theatre was quite full, which is not uncommon. We've gone to quite a few horror movies on opening night (Sinister, Mama, Evil Dead), and all of the experiences have been good, and quite enjoyable. The theaters are packed, with lots of people ready to be scared silly. However, this was different. This film was rated 14A. Meaning that it was practically a theatre full of preschoolers. Not literally preschoolers, of course (though that almost happened to us, thanks to the invention of 'Stars and Strollers'. Which means taking your infants to see a movie that's otherwise for adults). But, really, the maturity levels are appalling. 

I consider myself a seasoned horror movie watcher. I tend to avoid going to horror movies in theaters because I enjoy watching scary movies alone or with a few friends, getting scared and sitting in the dark. However, my husband enjoys seeing them in the theatre, so I've learned to go with him. Still, I am ultimately the same horror movie watcher, sitting in the proverbial basement at midnight, watching old horror movies by myself. I watched my first horror movie when I was seven (scarred me for life), and started religiously watching movies at age ten. I watched scary movies at sleep overs with friends, itching to be scared by jumps and shouts, grossed out by breaking bone and spurting blood. I ate it up. I still do. I still remember the first movie when I realized that the films didn't scare me anymore, but I just enjoyed the tension and the disgusting parts. I enjoyed bad acting and bad writing. I loved the blood and gore, the calm killer, the panicking victims. Horror movies became my favourite thing to watch. Slowly, I became immune. Then, miraculously, the odd horror movie would truly disturb me, make me squeamish and give me nightmares, and still give me the sense of horror that the first few did. How great is that! Naturally, I kept watching horror movies, and re-watching horror movies, dissecting and adoring all different aspects of different films, determining my favourites and the most lovable 'bad' movies. 

As I said, I consider myself a seasoned horror movie watcher. Because of this, I can go to a horror movie and enjoy myself, and enjoying it even more when I jump or get scared. However... I don't scream. Or point out the obvious. Or make fun of a horror movie while in a theater.

As I mentioned, a lot of the viewers were quite young. They were obviously not horror movie lovers, and haven't watched a huge number of horror films. They were so loud, and so obnoxious, and wouldn't stop talking. Here is my list of do's and don't's when in theaters (particularly when watching a horror movie).

1. Don't laugh. It is not a comedy. There is a distinct difference between laughing out of horror and hysteria, and laughing because it's funny. Ultimately, nothing in movies is so terrifying that you'd laugh out of hysterics. So... don't laugh. It's an insult to the people who spent months and months working to make the movie enjoyable and frightening.
2. Fart jokes are not acceptable. They are not acceptable (or funny) in day to day life, and they are certainly not acceptable in theaters.
3. Pointing out the obvious isn't clever. It's obvious. You're just angering the people around you.
4. There's a great thing called whispering. It's a useful vocal tool when in public places, such as theater.
5. Don't be rude or crass. People have paid a lot of money to come to the theater to enjoy themselves. They do not want to listen to you. If they did, they'd pay you the $13. Movies aren't cheap, and it's supposed to be an enjoyable evening of entertainment to escape reality. 
6. If you're a minor, educate yourself with horror movies first. Then pay to go and watch them on opening night in theater.

It truly ruined our evening. Fortunately, the young woman at the till was very understanding and gave us passes to see the movie at a later time. She seemed to be very understanding that our movie viewing experience was not in the least enjoyable. At least we'll be able to go to the film at a time when young children shouldn't be there.

I'm really not sure what it is with teenagers and going to opening night of horror movies. They're extremely immature and rude, and the unfortunate thing is, they think that they're being clever, simply because their friends and others are amused. Sadly, it ruins the experience for people who actually care. It ruins the enjoyment of deriving inspiration from a favourite director. It removes the possibility of noticing fine details. It just spoils the film. I don't understand why horror movies are the things that people make fun of. Especially when you have to spend so much to go and watch it. I mean, it's thirteen plus dollars, and you're throwing it away to laugh at it. Have these teenagers not heard of streaming or movie rental? 

To make matters worse, the majority of the people had not seen the first Insidious movie. And thus, they had no idea what was going on.

This is a sad day in film viewing history. Most unfortunate, and leaves a bad taste in one's mouth.