Monday, July 16, 2018

Summer Studio Art News

Hello there! 

(first I must apologize for the lateness of this post- it is the newsletter that I sent out prior to the Black Sheep festival and maybe an incentive for some of you to sign up for my newsletter? Though I promise to try to keep better time with my posts here soon : ) Here is the sign up form, if you would like to get mail a couple times a year from me. )

I hope you are keeping cool and enjoying the sunshine. Yes- somehow all at the same time ; )

This year has brought lots of wonderful things my way and I thought I might send you a note to let you know about some of them and to invite you to a few things coming very soon.

My work has been morphing more and more into the fibre art world with all my hand stitching, quilting and patch-working over the past number of years. This Saturday (July 7th), I will be showing a few new fibre art pieces at the brand new
Black Sheep Festival in Elora. There will be lots to see and do- you can find all the details here. I will be set up inside the Elora Art Centre- please come say hi.

A good selection of my larger format fibre art pieces are being shown at
Langdon Hall right now until the end of September. I am thrilled about this opportunity to have my work in this gorgeous setting and can’t wait to hang out with the work at one of their famous barbeque series events soon. You can find out details about their events here.

Recently I had the opportunity to teach monotype to a delightful group of print enthusiasts through
Print London as part of a month long print series. My workshop was in the middle of the screen print and paper cutting workshops. The whole thing culminated in a paper mural of all the various work, layered and edited to create a coherent installation piece highlighting the various techniques and a mash up of all the various participants’ work.

The teaching work made me nostalgic for spending more time in the studio with others. If you are interested in joining me and some other lovely print people for some open sessions of printing, please let me know. I will keep the sessions at a maximum of 5 people per day so that there is lots of press time. You are to bring your own paper and the rest is included in the $45. fee. The days for open sessions are Thursday, July 19th, Saturday, July 21st, Tuesday, July 24th, Sunday, August 12th and Saturday Aug.18th- all days are 10am-4pm and will depend on the temperature of the studio. It is often fine working in a warm studio but occasionally the heat does get quite high and we would need to postpone. Please get in touch with me to confirm your space through my email link at the bottom of  the page.

 This Summer also finds Chris and I spending some time dreaming about our future studio space and making plans and sketches about how this wonderful new project will take shape. We will take lots of photos and keep you posted on the progress because there will definitely be a celebration when it is complete.

If I don't see you soon, I wish you lots of lazy Summer daydreaming kind of days, hopefully somewhere with a cool breeze.



All images are copyright © *Tammy Ratcliff 2018 All rights reserved

Our mailing address is:
123 Woolwich St. 3rd floor
Guelph ON


Saturday, November 4, 2017

Memento, recent work

Memento, recent print work by Tammy Ratcliff
at Renann Isaacs Contemporary Art November 2 - 25th

Please join us for the opening Thursday November 2nd, 6-9pm
at 5 Gordon Street, Guelph
The pieces in Memento - hand-pulled prints inspired by observation and memory, photographs, plant clippings and traditional decoration - each represent a souvenir of a significant moment in time for the artist, and collectively serve as a type of personal travelogue of the literal and metaphorical journey she has undertaken over the last year and a half.
This journey includes the bittersweet milestone of having one’s child leave home, the exhilaration of a month spent in the Norwegian arctic, and the painful and frustrating experience of confronting personal illness. This body of work represents the arrival at a point of resolution, where the impressions of place and time - some joyful, some painful - have been digested, distilled and given a fresh new airing, aided by the clarity of hindsight and context.
Objectively, the works stand as sensitive and thoughtful interpretations of nature, employing varied print techniques to render the expansive sensations and rugged beauty of a landscape, or the more intimate investigation of a botanical study. More subjectively, each is coloured with subtle emotional undercurrents that touch alternately on fear and melancholy, admiration and wonder, and hint at the artist’s desire, and the universal impulse, to make sense of one’s place within these intertwined narratives.
Copyright © *2017, Tammy Ratcliff All rights reserved.
the view I, monotype with chine collé

Our mailing address is:
123 Woolwich St. 3rd floor
Guelph N1H 4E8

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Mentorship Project, part II

Here is the second half of my notes on Heather and my sessions in the studio as part of the Guelph Young Artist Mentorship Project through the Guelph Arts Council, the School of Fine Art and Music at the University of Guelph and Ontario 150. The young artists will be having a show the end of August at the Boarding House Gallery- I will post some notes on that as well.
Mentorship Project- (Part II)

June 28th 

We were not sure if we were going to meet this day or not as Heather would only be able to come if she passed her drivers test the day before. She was successful with her test but did get a bit misdirected when she found herself heading for the highway by habit and had to turn around and get on the country roads. She arrives completely unfazed and dives into printing, completing the next three colours of the print, with an  edition of 12. (I am in awe here as I remember my first drive alone with my new license, it wasn't far and I was frazzled.)
All the while, we are chatting about the many aspects of showing, selling, promoting print work and the application process for shows, residencies and grants. I pass on some valuable knowledge that I received years ago when I found myself discouraged to get my first refusal letter after spending much time on the preparation of an application. I was told that once you prepare a good application, duplicate it and send it out everywhere. If you send out 10 proposals or applications, you might hear back from 3 and might have 1 successful. If you stick to this practice, you won’t find yourself so attached to one call for entry and then completely shattered when it is not accepted. Another good thing to remember when applying for shows (grants, etc.) is that the jury are one group of people who have come together to find agreement in choosing. What one group chooses on one occasion is not the same as a slightly different group on another occasion. So it may not be that your proposal itself is unsuccessful but simply the time and place and within the context of the other applicants, etc. Try, try again. Of course it is important to have let someone whose opinion you appreciate look over your applications first!
Heather is interested in something I show her and call a ‘brag book’. This is a portfolio with clear sleeves that is handy for keeping a copy of your bio, statement, CV, installation photos, awards, show posters, invites, etc. Not only is this a good way to protect these papers and keep everything together but is an easy way for someone to find out quite a bit about you at a glance.

July 9th Sunday 

This is our last formal meeting as part of the mentorship program. Heather arrives and gets to work cutting her printed gampi pieces to prepare for chine collé. Her 4 colour registration went very well, especially because the plate and the paper were semi-transparent. I get the feeling that Heather is a meticulous and precise printmaker who has had to let go of her strict habits for this print, not so much with the new technique but definitely in working with the gampi. This last part of the project proves more difficult but she moves through with a willingness to screw up a few pieces for the sake of learning. In the end, the work is lovely and Heather and I both feel it was a worthwhile accomplishment for her. Of course the teacher always learns a bit on the journey with a new student and I am grateful for the experience to work with such a talented and positive individual.
Today we discuss the mentorship group and their attempts to work together at a distance in preparing their exhibition at the Boarding House Gallery. Luckily the date has been changed to August, which will give them some much needed time to prepare.  We chat about travel and far away residencies and wonderful ways to learn and adventure within the printmaking community. Heather shows me the brag book that she has put together and I am very impressed with how much she has accomplished so far in her short career. I make a few suggestions to make it more visual and suggest the addition of a CV at the front. She announces some very exciting news that she received recently (She is the recipient of Open Studio's Don Phillips Scholarship!!) and we chat about what a great opportunity she has been granted. The next year looks very promising for Heather and her printmaking practice. I feel fortunate to have been able to spend this time with her in my studio and I look forward to following her print adventures at Paper, Sweat, Ink.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Mentorship Project

Hello hello! I have not written for some time, but am ready to spend some time sitting and catching up. Seems there is much to write about. Most recently I took part in a mentorship project through the Guelph Arts Council and the Studio Fine Arts and Music at University of Guelph called the Ontario150 Young Artist Mentorship Project 2017. Below is part I of the diary notes and photos that I took during our time working together.

Mentorship Project- (part 1)
I first met Heather at the Art Council offices where we heard a bit about the program that we had both applied to take part in. The group of mentors are introduced to our Young Artists and I find I have been paired up with a printmaker named Heather Thomson. Heather has lots of questions and ideas, is animated and her excitement is infectious. I am looking forward to our time working together! The office is across the road from my studio, so after the meeting we run to my studio to do a quick tour and exchange contact information.

June 15th, evening
We arrange to meet at my studio on the evening of the15th. The focus of Heather’s interest is divided between professional development and printmaking technical.  We figure that we can manage both in our sessions if we are well prepared. She is excited to do some printmaking that will not be graded and is keen to just get on a press again for the first time since graduating from the fine arts program at Guelph. Heather has prepared quite a long list of questions for me and we decide to have question/answer time in the middle of our visit, between preparing some experimental pronto plates and printing the pronto plates on my etching press. Heather’s printmaking interests and experience is mostly CMYK in lithography and screen printing. My experience is in intaglio and relief but I am familiar with a lesser known lithography technique, called Pronto plate that I can print on my etching press. This plate comes prepared for you to draw on with Bic pens, Sharpie markers, litho crayons, tusche wash or anything greasy. Heather is particularly interested in this techniques as her drawing tool of choice is a ball point pen. I am excited to introduce her to this simple litho technique that she may be able to do on her own, away from the University studio.
Heather gets to work on her sample plates, trying all the different drawing tools that I present to her. We chat all the while and move through various questions covering exhibition strategies, getting yourself out there and applying for shows. We are busy with this until we realize the time and decide to continue with the questions next visit. We will have to quickly print the test plates to see how they turn out. The results are good with the second inking and printing and I think that Heather is happy with how well the ball point pen works with this type of plate. We clean up and I send her home with some pronto plates to work on so that we will be able to jump into printing at our next visit.
We both agree that the time seems very limited for the type of project we want to accomplish. We are going to try to arrange more time so that we both feel content with the outcome.

June 20th Sunday afternoon
We meet when Heather is able to arrange a ride from Oakville where she lives and is currently without a drivers license. Heather arrives with plates prepared for a 4 colour separation drawing of a cactus in bloom (I am not sure of the name of this one but it looks slightly festive : ) Printing and questions go well and Heather is able to get familiar with the process, printing her first colour on very fine gampi silk paper. She is diving into this process with the hopes that she will be challenged and learn. Working with very fine tissue papers is an exercise in patience, but I feel the pay off will make the struggle worthwhile.

So far, so good. Above the second colour printed on the gampi silk.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Working with my husband

Hello hello! It has been some time since I posted here and lots has kept me busy in different ways, but now is the time to sit and tell you a bit about it.
You might remember I have been working at Wyndham Art Supplies with my husband
for a period of time to help the store through some big changes. My session of full time
store management lasted into almost 2 years now and we can't believe how far we have
come in that time. It is pretty scary dealing with so many major changes all at the same 
time but almost immediately their was a huge payoff. Things are better than they have
been in many years. We have an amazing team of talented people who we are so happy to work with. Our new website is working well, growing every day, and we are getting close to our 25th anniversary! Working together again has been good for both of us, once we figured out some rules about how much home time can be spent on the store. So much is about balance!

It is easier for me now to shift into my previous behind the scenes work with some new 'off the floor' fun jobs to keep me involved. This allows me to balance more studio time with my work at the store. I am also working on scheduling that encourages Chris to spend more time with his art practice- this has been very exciting.

Please come check out some of our recent work at the RedBrick Café in downtown Guelph. They have coffee, tea, beer, wine, snacks and often live music and other fun stuff. It is just a really nice place to hang out and take in some art in a leisurely fashion. It was also really fun hanging a show together... maybe more of these in the future...

Here are a few photo teasers of work in the show. My in situ phone pics are mostly too fuzzy to post but I will share the best of the lot.

These are just to give you and idea of the show and how our work hangs together. (We think, pretty well : ) Please let us know what you think.

This is Chris's 'four o'clock shadow' acrylic on terra skin on panel. I love this one, it completely puts me in a state of mind of being on holiday somewhere. Wandering around in a new city in the afternoon, taking my time and looking up at the foreign architecture. 

This is my 'love rays' mixed print and washi piece with hand stitching. There are five works like this in the show. I am really enjoying pushing my print work on fine washi in more of a textile direction. Actually I am not sure what direction it is yet but I really like sewing all the printed pieces of washi together better than pasting right now. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Lovely Fibre Works

So many beautiful works at the World of Threads Festival. Here are a few snap shots of work that I was able to see. I was at the opening for a few hours but still did not manage to see everything there. Such a diverse large group of fibre art works from all over the world. (I believe there are over 300 works from 134 artists!) You should definitely go. It will be up until the 27th of November and you can find all the details you need here.

Lindy Fyfe, Toronto 'Tectonic 30' recycled knit fabric from clothing. sewn and stretched over canvas

Sung Ja Kim Chisholm, Toronto (detail) fabric and plaster

Sung Ja Kim Chisholm, Toronto 'Pages from Life's Journey, Series 3' white fabric and plaster. fabric sculpted with plaster

Neha Pari Dhir, Vadodera India, 'Motley Poncho' patchwork, stitch-resist, discharge-dyeing, overdyeing, Sashiko over-dyeing

Neha Pari Dhir, Vadodera India. 'Ripplet', 'Intersect' and 'Fragment' tussar silk, hand woven

Lou Roy, Bretagne France. 'Chevreuil III' cotton and iron wire made with bobbin lacing

Cathy Jacobs, Ann Arbor, Michigan USA 'Extruded Plaid' handwoven linen, aluminum rods, stainless steel hangers. woven on a jack floor loom

Catherine Heard, Toronto, 'Indigo' antique fabric, glass eyes

Miriam Medrez, Monterey, Mexico. 'Serie Conectores' metallic mesh, thread, cotton textile and metallic structure.

Chris Motley, San Francisco California. 'Brown is the New Green' hand-knit wool on artist made armature

Marilyn Clarke, Guelph 'Autumn Hill, Bath UK' mixed threads, cotton, silk, synthetic. textile collage, free motion machine stitching

Jeannine De Raeymaecker, Mechelen Belgium 'Criss- Cross' handmade paper from old books, coloured fabric, cotton thread. knotted in artist's own technique

Glenys Mann, Callignee Victoria Australia. 'WAITING #1 Remembrance Woman's Loss'
found wool blanket, red yarn. French knots

And a couple pics of me with my work. Here with 'wind in blue branches' 12 plate etching on Japanese tissue paper, woven and hand stitched

this is 'blanket (for dreams of hanging gardens)' 12 plate etching on Japanese tissue, woven and hand stitched

and one of the best things about these big group shows, is meeting the other artists and exchanging ideas and techniques. Here I am with Sung Ja Kim Chisholm

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Lots of exciting

Hello! I am safely home and happy doing all the usual art things and helping out at the store. Feels as though I hit the ground running when I returned from Norway. Our son had just started University and moved to Toronto, we had an Australian art student move in to our spare room, lots of art details to take care of and numerous 'catching up' events filling the rest of the time. I feel like we are finally living in a more settled space and slower pace again, though we still miss Odin lots. On the plus side, having our son in the big city means more frequent visits!
Chris has just returned home from a two week artist residency at Spark Box Studios in Prince Edward County. He is refreshed and relaxed, but also excited about all the work he was able to do and now eager to continue. The two of us will be showing our residency-inspired works together in a show at the RedBrick in Feb. 20- April 2, 2017. It would be great if we were able to incorporate an artists' talk about residencies. More details about this to follow in the new year. 
There are plenty of things going on right now... I have two works included in the World of Threads Festival! I am so honoured to have my work included in this International show. The opening is this Saturday, October, 29th 2-4pm at in the Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre. Please join me- it looks like an amazing show. You can get more details here:

Below are just a couple of the groupings of artwork that are on display...there is lots more!

In November I have a number of my large print works on washi showing in PI Fine Arts 40th Anniversary exhibition. Below are a few photos of the work in the space. This space is pretty amazing and I am so thrilled to have my work hanging here in the same space as Jim Dine! And so much room to take it all in. I think the white frames are so wonderful. More details about the show, November 4th - 27th, here on their website,

Later in November, I will be showing some of my smaller washi works with a great group of talented washi artists at the Japanese Paper Place's  Washi Artists’ Sale 
Sat. Nov 19 11-5pm 
at their lovely new location:
103 The East Mall unit #1
Etobicoke 416-538-9669

Friday, September 2, 2016

Getting to work

It is very near the end of my stay here in Tromsø. Sorry to my family for being so slow with the posts and photos lately. I will put one more together before the end of the weekend and then I will see you soon! 
I have been enjoying this place and spending much time working as well. Finding a balance between the two is tricky when Norwegians encourage you to take a sunny day off to be outside. This is important to them and since it has been pretty good with the weather since we have been here, there is much time outdoors. I walk everywhere and the island is not too big, so I can get most places within an hour or so. I have figured out where all the grocery stores are and vintage shops. The botanical garden is not too far away and I spent a lovely afternoon there. Here are some sketches and a pronto plate.

There are some interesting man hole covers here- actually lots of them. We are going to print some of them. Their highways are underground, which was a bit freaky the first time I went through. Traffic lights and round abouts, multi-lane and fast. There is also extensive underground parking that is part of this system. It is better for the ice in Winter and of course easier and more direct driving than up and down the mountains. 

This is not a road hole cover but a bathroom grill that I thought looked like a snowflake.

Another sculpture on the grounds of the culture centre.

Many delicious fish meals, thanks to Vidar and his father for catching them and Silvia for passing them on to us grateful artists.

Silvia and Vidar's lovely home and guest house in Hakøya.

Their view.

This is me enjoying hygge in Silvia and Vidar's guest house alone one day. Hygge translates awkwardly to something like coziness or well-being and is very important here.