Debra Blades Mixes Fine Art With Fine Music

Debra Blades Mixes Fine Art With Fine Music

Arty took us to Abbotsford, B.C. this time on an arts quest to meet with Debra Blades. Debra calls herself a mixed media collage painter with a splash of inventiveness. She has a passion for texture, colour and twisty things. She incorporates gold, silver and copper leaf as well as different papers and textural components within her paintings. When we showed up on Debra’s door step she opened the door with such fervor that I had a feeling we were in for something good.

arts-quest-debra-blades-portrait

Photo Credit to Kristie Blades

Bio-Luminescence

Bio-Luminescence

Art has been in Debra’s life in one form or another for a long time. She spent 21 years hand-making Victorian lampshades and in that time created and sold over 1000. But with trends coming and going, in this case going, she recognized it was time for a creative change, and that is when she began exploring the world of abstract art. I was surprised to hear that she has only been working at it for 6 years. Her work seems so much more mature than that like it has been a part of her for a long time, walking hand in hand with her spirit.

Yesterday

Yesterday

Click on the thumbnail images below for a larger perspective:

Debra admits that creativity can have its calamities at times but it’s nothing that an enthusiastic and gracious attitude mixed with a little Beatles music can’t cure. When she first contemplated giving titles to her paintings she was stuck and wondered, “How do you name something abstract?” At the time she was working on a piece that was colourful and attention grabbing and contained twisty pieces of paper. The Beatles’ Twist and Shout just happened to be filling her ears at that moment and delivered to her the title of her new painting. One thing lead to another and since then she has created a series of paintings inspired and titled from The Beatles’ songs. According to Wikipedia there are 304 songs that have been recorded by The Beatles so Debra’s series could turn into a long and loving commitment. I have a feeling this won’t be a challenge for her!

Train Case

Train Case

Versatility and adaptability are two words that I would use to describe Debra. She faces challenges and obstacles head on and, along with a positive attitude, looks for a solution. Her abstract painted train cases are an example of this. At one time she found herself lacking in canvases to paint, had some left over train cases from her Victorian era days, and so decided that they would make an excellent three dimensional canvas. She calls them functional art and each one comes with its own title. As well, not in the too far distant past Debra stopped going to art shows and fairs because she dreaded the fuss and muss of packing her work in sheets, bubble wrap and packing tape. In her mind not only was this a time consuming and unpleasant process it was also no way to treat a piece of fine art nor did it present well to the fine art appreciators looking on when she arrived at the show. Her solution was an ingenious invention aptly named Masterpiece To Go Portfolios. I am not one to pitch products but I find this to be a slick and useful piece of equipment that every painter will want to have. It looks professional and your art work can be packed up and ready to go in under 3 minutes. Be sure to watch the demo video below where Debra shows us how it works, and check out her Masterpiece To Go Portfolios website for more information on how to order your own.

Zentangle art titled A Silent Call

Zentangle art titled A Silent Call

Please join us as Debra talks more about her life as an artist in her interview below. We love comments and by all means share and like with social media!

Masterpiece To Go Demo Video

Prairie Fire Alpacas

Prairie Fire Alpacas

They’re littler than a llama, fascinating and fuzzy, soft fleece white as snow, or twenty other colours you should know! Fibre warmer than wool, and stronger to endure, such easy livestock to raise, with communal spots for manure!

I know what you are thinking. “Alpacas on ArtsQuest? I didn’t even know that they could do arts and crafts!” Our interview with Karen Pashovitz at Prairie Fire Alpacas illustrates another avenue that ArtsQuest is looking to promote: Canadian produced supplies for the arts and craft industries which will include textiles and fibres from various animal origins such as the fleece you can see on this fine fluffy flock. There are many artisan creations that can be produced from alpaca fleece such as mitts, socks, toques, shawls, blankets, sweaters and scarves; and if you have never pampered your fingers and footsies in these soft and warm wardrobe accessories, you will involuntarily be bound to say “ooh…aah” when you do!

Karen and her friends

Karen and her friends

Karen and her husband Dennis farm 4000 acres near Arelee, SK but realized that it was a long way to commute from their original home in Saskatoon, so they decided to move closer to their operation. Karen wanted to find some other way to supplement their income and so they looked into raising alpacas for their fibre, and have been at it now for ten years. In conjunction with the economic benefits, striving for alpaca perfection can also lead to champion show animals in the ring, an arena that the Pashovitz’s have entered and won.

On a side note, in addition to the 40 resident alpacas that we were introduced to, Karen and Dennis also accommodate about twenty cats that were ambling around the yard, one of which took an interest to Marli in the van as can be seen below.

Marli's new admirer

Marli’s new admirer

Alpacas are a domesticated species and native to South America; more specifically the high plateaus of the Andes mountain range in Peru, Bolivia and Chile. They have been bred specially for their luxuriously soft fibre that gets shorn once per year and then prepared for it’s uses within the textile industry. Alpaca fleece is warmer than wool, hypoallergenic due to the absence of lanolin, has great moisture wicking properties and is flame resistant (no need to test this last point!). There is more general information about these unique animals on Alpaca Canada’s website.

Rovings

Rovings

Toasty tootsies time!

Toasty tootsies time!

Join us with Karen as she takes us on an alpaca tour: