art installation

But What Is Your Passion?

I have been a working artist for over 30 years in the hair, make up and fashion styling industry and have just recently retired!!! And I loved my profession – so now what???

Since I moved to Cortes Island six years ago, I’ve had the chance to dabble in many mediums of art which led to the creation of five solo art installations and my participation in many group shows, combining the different techniques I have learned over the years. You can view all my exhibitions and shows on my website. I’ve had so much fun and accomplished many goals during this time in my life – these include a group show in Europe, the making of  a CD and touring with my band The Abbie Hoffman Society, the recording of a sound track to go with one of my art installations and a whole lot of art dolls, and one that even came alive… It’s been a a great ride!!!

So the question is what is my new burning passion now that I am not styling hair anymore? Creating Art… Obviously!!! So where do I go with it? I have been pondering this question for a few months. I love colour theory, knitting, dying fiber, and creating lots of art, which makes the idea of working in Fiber and Textile Art a no-brainer for me and the central focus of where I am putting my energy. Creating Wearable Art!!!

I have started on this path, as many of you know, but I have decided to continue exploring this exciting medium in the new year by creating more wearable art. This means experimenting with fiber and textile art, learning to spin yarn as well as focusing my concepts on making wearable items that follow the colour theory I have used all throughout my career. In my past work, I used the palettes of the seasons: fall, winter, autumn, and  spring. My new collection of work is thus aptly called “four seasons” and includes hand-knitted scarves, chokers/collars, and silk scarves that have been painted with natural dyes and Cida acid dyes. I am creating four items for each of the four seasons – so a one-of-a-kind and limited edition.

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I will have a few items at The Gorge Christmas Bazaar alongside another new item, greeting cards of my art dolls, as well as some of my original art pieces, and my art book “My Stuffies’ Secret Life”. I am excited to share my new and past art in a few different formats, which includes craft fairs, pop-up shops, and a soon to come online store! So come and see me at the Bazaar and may the celebrations begin! xoxo

 

The Elephant Family

Meet the family! Beatrice, Hugo and their son Hugh. Their creation was inspired by our love for the largest land animal to roam our planet and as a sad reminder that they are on the brink of becoming endangered. Elephants are widely respected for forming close-knit matriarchal clans and their loyalty to each other and the humans they love – a point made famous in 2012 when elephants mourned the passing of Lawrence Anthony, known as the Elephant Whisperer, by holding a vigil around his house for two days. Their unique beauty, deep wisdom and kind hearts – along with their fierceness in defending their young and protecting their herds – are all reasons why we chose to portray an elephant family in this art project.

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The Elephant Family

When Nola McPhail and I found out about summer’s annual members art show, at The Old School House Art Gallery on Cortes Island “The Colour of Our Muse”, we could not resist the opportunity of collaborating to contribute a piece. So we dedicated the month of June to creating The Elephant Family. Nola McPhail has been joining me for my Creative Sessions for the last year and we have explored many media and techniques together. When we chose to collaborate for this show, we opted to create a piece using many of the different media we have explored together as a way to push our creative boundaries, learn from each other, as well as have a lot of fun creating art together!

The Elephant Family art project consists of 3 elements:

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Hugh

Hugh, the son, is a collaboratively-created piece crafted from 3 recycled wood panels – each painted separately with acrylic paint and kroma crackle. His tail is made from braided wool sourced from Cortes Islander Joy Shipway. His face is made with polymer clay and finished with acrylic paint, kroma crackle, glass eyes, and false eye lashes; his trunk, tusks and ears are made from hand-sewn canvas.

The other two elements consist of individually-created art dolls – since those have been one of the strong focuses of their Creative Sessions.

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Beatrice by  Nola McPhail

Nola McPhail opted to make the proud mother Beatrice using polymer clay, recycled textiles from an old skirt of hers, and false eyelashes; the piece was then mounted on a piece of yellow cedar.

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Hugo by Laura Balducci

I created Hugo, the hard-working father, out of polymer clay, recycled textiles, wool, and a found hat; he is also mounted on yellow cedar.

We look forward to continuing our Creative Sessions starting in the next month or so and doing more work together.

Entangled Goals!!!

Every year at this time I set new goals for myself. I am not sure why but it always feels like its the start of a new year to me!!! Maybe because of the rapid changes in the weather and Fashion Week being in full groove; maybe because as a farmer, you work from February to October starting from seed, planting, loving, harvesting, preserving for the winter, etc. Who knows? But this year is no different except that I’ve got some Disentangling to do… after a very productive year that saw me co-producing an art festival, attending workshops, taking online classes, curating for our local museum, vending at the farmer’s market, gardening my little butt off, teaching art sessions, exhibiting art installations, paddle boarding, learning and enjoying life… Wow! I just got tired from typing all that out hahahah… I sure am changing it up this year!!!

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After a two-month hiatus from blogging, I realized how much I missed it, so one of the plans I am making for the coming year is to spend more time on my website (revamping and updating it, and creating an online store), over the last year, I have been learning more techniques and experimented with textile art – something I plan on continuing to explore starting with getting a spinning wheel, as well as working toward a new art installation (stay tuned to watch the progress!)

I was also gifted a text book this summer as an indefinite loan, which I am thrilled about reading and plan to study too: H.W. Janson’s second edition of History of Art (a topic I am really interested in but never studied).unnamed

So there you have it! This is me taking a step back, keeping it chill and disentangling a few goals. You see, about a week ago, I had no choice but to let go of some of my goals due to a flare-up in my wrists, neck and spine that has put me back in casts for the next few months. This has meant going at a slower pace, as well as regrouping to see what my new options are.. and of course, creating art! The future is looking up and the light is shining through. I dedicate the coming year to growth, expansion, and being the healthiest me possible. And I am excited! xoxo Laura

 

Every Friday is Gallery Nite

Summer is here and that means a lot of art to see and experience on Cortes Island, since we happen to live surrounded by an abundance of talent. I am so grateful to live here and have the opportunity to engage with all the amazing local artists and feast my eyes all season long – whether it be at the weekly  markets, one of our many events, or at our wonderful little gallery (where everyone can become a member and all our visitors/guests of the community are more than welcome to visit). The Old School House Gallery, which is run by volunteers and donations, puts on a minimum of 8 shows every summer. Hours are Fridays from 6pm to 9pm, and Saturdays & Sundays from 2pm to 6pm.

We started the season off on Friday June 30th with a beautiful show featuring 2 weavers and one textile artist… and trust me when I say that it is stunning. Here are a few of my favourite pieces! For more info please check out the link www.cortesisland.com

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P.S. There is a saying here on Cortes Island, “Every Friday is Gallery Night” – all season long @ The Old School House Gallery, there is either a vernissage or an artist talk – come join us!!!

The Cortes Island Museum

As many of you know by now, I was involved in The Curators’ Workshop for which the museum received a grant to support locals to get involved and learn about or further their knowledge of curating for museums, art shows in its myriad aspects: researching, hanging, grant writing and so much more. The workshop, led by well-known BC artist, author and historian Judith Williams, has been a wonderful experience from beginning to end! I learned so much, made some great new friends and I know the skills I learned will prove useful to me in the future. I would like to take a moment here to extend my gratitude to  the Cortes Island Museum for this opportunity.

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I would also like to invite local and visiting folks to check out the show Refugee Cove  – Moving with the Tides. I am really proud of the work we did as the team of intern curators; a lot of time and effort went into the show by everyone involved and I am very happy about how it turned out.

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A Staycation!!!

What does that word mean to you? Have you ever taken one of those? And if so, what did you do? Or what would you do if you took one?

So I just had a staycation right here on Cortes Island… and I think it’s a really interesting thing to do and would suggest everyone to give it a try – whether it means taking five days, two weeks, or a month off your regular routine. Mine ended up lasting two weeks and instead of jetting off somewhere you have been before or on to an new adventure, try Staying Where You Live!!!

So I obviously stayed on Cortes Island, in  beautiful BC, Canada. I did this for many reasons: 1st – I love where I live as there are many activities to do here that I enjoy but don’t always give myself the time to enjoy… I am often too busy to – shall I say – smell the flowers and chillax. 2nd – I had a desire to slightly change my routine. For one thing, we went through a very long, cold winter which saw us spend much time inside, and then I co-produced an art event (Expose Yourself) that had me working from September to March and kept me at my computer more than I usually want or desire. I also created an art installation that grew beyond its original scope to something much bigger than planned, which meant a lot of work inside my studio (which I love!), and with the sunlight rising earlier and setting later, I started to feel antsy for the outdoors. And 3rd – I needed to not be distracted from who I really am, take some well needed time in my own brain to figure out what my next move/chapter/mission really is and figure out what do I love, what am I really into, what and who did I really want to vote for (politically as we just had an election in our province), what do I really stand for?

So of course, my staycation meant staying in my own environment – my home, my studio, and my brain! And with my family and away from social media (there were a few moments, I do admit, when I did go on social media but only for very specific reasons). It was refreshing in so many ways. Yes, I missed seeing what my friends were up to, chatting on my network because I do live in a very rural area and can be quite isolated. Taking a break from the computer however, helped me realize how much distraction there is on social media; it can take up so much space in your mind and leave little space to see how to get to the next step, or makes you lose focus and forget what your goals are in the first place.

My staycation turned out to be very interesting in ways I did not expect: For one thing, I saw things on Cortes Island I had never noticed before and will certainly share on some of those things in future posts. And the list of what I did accomplished during that time is quite extensive: I finished my online classes and started a new introductory class at the School for Aromatic Studies, which I also finished (this was very inspiring and brought me back to my roots in so many ways, but that’s for another blog post). I got all caught up with my spring work in my gardens. I  started installing the show that was created during the Curators Workshop for the upcoming season at The Cortes Island Museum on Refugee Cove. I brought out my hula-hoop again. I went boating on the Salish Sea. I went out for brunch with friends and had a beautiful dinner with my sweetheart at our local restaurant at the Gorge Marina, and spent countless hours walking up and down all the different white sandy beaches with my family. Yes, the one down side of a staycation is that you still have to do your chores, run your usual errands but at the same time, you know you will be sleeping in a clean and comfy bed and enjoy the food! So all in all, it was great and I am now ready to move on to an enjoyable rest of spring and a fruitful summer ahead, and keep working towards the next chapter of what “creating art” means to me. I hope everyone gets an opportunity to try a staycation someday because it was a thoroughly refreshing experience that taught me a lot about myself and my goals.

And here are a few photos of my staycation!!!

xoxo Laura Balducci

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Meet Indigo

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Indigo

Indigo is one of the art dolls from my new multidisciplinary art installation “Senses That Sin”. I drew my inspiration for this exotic/erotic experience from flowers and their lush surroundings that can tickle our senses when we allow ourselves to fully enjoy their offering. She is the art doll that is brought to life by my live doll, Namchi Bazar, who performs in the video below with musician Del Riviera. The body of the doll is made with polymer clay, her hair is black merino wool, and I recycled some material to craft her skirt and then added lace accents and Ostrich feathers. I also  recycled a lamp shade to create the skirt hoop and her sidekick mini Roxy the Rabbit is made with textile, fabric paint, wool, and polymer clay for her eyes.

I had a lot of fun creating this art installation and learned a lot in the process. To experience the full art installation coming to life for yourself, please watch the live performance video featuring Namchi Bazar and Del Riviera!!!

 

Meet Ms. Boutika

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Ms. Boutika

Ms. Boutika is one of the art dolls from my new multidisciplinary art installation “Senses That Sin.” I drew my inspiration for this exotic/erotic experience from flowers and their lush surroundings that can tickle our senses when we allow ourselves to fully enjoy their offering.  Ms. Boutika was created and inspired by the idea of a flower shop. I recycled an old vintage lampshade to craft the skirt, first by gilding it with gold leaf to imbue it with the luxury of being surrounded by flowers; I then used dried flowers from my garden that I pressed myself, placed them on the lamp shade in the hope of creating a beautiful shadow when the light shined through it… and I am glad to say that it worked!

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Her body and her brown boots are made out of polymer clay. Ms. Boutika’s hair was naturally dyed with Queen Anne’s lace from my garden and I made her dreadlocks made from local Cortes Island wool by Joy Shipway. Back in the early 90s I had the opportunity to follow The Grateful Dead for seven shows and during that journey I made a necklace by sewing little red roses together with rose quartz beads; I had kept it all these years and decided that it was very suitable to adorn Ms. Boutika’s hair.

For your own experience of seeing the full art installation come to life, please watch the live performance video featuring Namchi Bazar and Del Riviera!!!

 

 

Meet Lilac Rose

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Lilac Rose

Lilac Rose is one of the art dolls from my new multidisciplinary art installation “Senses That Sin”. I drew my inspiration for this exotic/erotic experience from flowers and their lush surroundings that can tickle our senses when we allow ourselves to fully enjoy their offering. Lilac Rose was created from recycled finds: a vintage candy dish and a drawing model doll, which were both found at the free store on Cortes Island. I started by covering her body with gold leaf (because one person’s trash is another’s treasure), I then used some of the cotton batting I use to stuff my art dolls to create a bubble bath and added dried pressed flowers to give the idea of a lush bubble bath. The ensemble is meant to wake up the senses that make every life worth living, or in this case, every item that deserves to be refurbished into a luxury thought brought to life.

To experience the full art installation come alive please watch the live performance video featuring Namchi Bazar and Del Rivera!!!

Senses That Sin

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Senses That Sin is a multidisciplinary art installation which includes three art dolls, two rabbits, one live doll, one accordion player, and a live performance!

In the live performance, you will experience Indigo coming alive for the first time, as she grows more and more enchanted by her senses as they are each awakened one by one by Del Rivera. Will her fellow art dolls Lilac Rose and Ms. Boutika watch in amazement as they hope that their time shall also come when they will be woken up!?! To watch the live performance please click on the video, and on the link to the page on my website to learn more about the performers Namchi Bazar and Del Riviera.

I took my inspiration for this exotic/erotic experience from flowers and their lush surroundings and their ability to tickle our senses when we allow ourselves to fully enjoy their offerings.

In the next few blog posts, I will be introducing you to each doll in the installation and share my process in their creation, but for now enjoy the performance!!! xoxo

For my page on Senses That Sin, click here!