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Berlin exhibit coming in August!

So I’ve officially failed at updating my sketch blog regularly. Perhaps it’s because I’m in full-time German  language school AND trying to have a life AND trying to make tons of new art, all at the same time? Probably. Wahrscheinlich. Oh yeah, throwing in the Deutsch. Did you see that?

Anyway for those of you who are curious, here’s what art-related things I’ve been up to lately:

I’ve been designing some logos, graphics, a beer label for a wedding and participated in a couple art markets. My art was featured in an exhibit in L.A. AND most exciting, I’m preparing for my first art exhibit in Berlin!

There is a background story to this. I’ve been attending “Speakeasy Sprachzeug” language school for the past 4 months ago (It’s a fantastic, smaller school in Friedrichshain, former East Berlin). Every 3 months they feature artists from a different country. The current show is an artist from Belgium and the last show were two artists from South Africa. There’s been some amazing work come through this place!

A couple months ago, I was in conversation with the school’s director, as they had found my art website. They’ve never had a student from the school do an exhibit, or a Canadian artist, so this seemed like a unique opportunity. I also thought it was a great idea, and so, voila!

It’s sooo great to be making new work. After the move to Berlin, I went through a couple months of transition and couldn’t make anything. I finally feel like my creativity is alive again. Here are some photos:

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My goal for the show is to have about 10-12 new pieces. The “common thread” (haha, get it?) in my work is that all of the pieces are a mixture of drawing with embroidery on paper and are based off of quotes from famous Canadian poets, songwriters and artists. To name a few: Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Emily Carr, Alice Munroe, Yann Martel and Justin Bieber.

Just kidding. There’s going to be NO Justin Bieber in this show!

Not all of the drawings are finished, but they’re getting there. The school will ultimately decide which pieces to display so for now, I’m just making, making, making! (And praying it will all be finished in time!).

Thanks for reading!

-Joelle

 

 

 

 

 

Recent Blog Posts

In Front of the Camera

Usually, I hate having my picture taken. I would rather be the one behind the camera than in front of it. But, for a while now I have needed some decent photos of my artistic process and a good headshot for my website and art submissions/interviews.  So, this week I finally had some photos taken, and I’ve posted some of them below. (You may find these photos in the pages of a book  in the near future, but I’m not going to tell you about this yet…)

When I’m working I like to be surrounded by other artists’ work that I find interesting or inspiring and a few of my own favourite works. I also need to have good books, good coffee, window light, thread, fabric, buttons, pencils, paper and ink! We included these elements into the photos, and of course had to put “Mr.Buttonman” in at least one of the shots.

Thanks to Zach Bulick (again) for taking the photos and also to Kulturshöpfer  and Aunt Benny’s coffee shop for letting us use your space! (If you’re ever planning to move/work in Berlin, you should come check out Kulturshöpfer. It’s a great co-working space in Friedrichsain, that hosts many cultural and artistic events throughout the year. You will definitely be hearing more about them on this blog in the future!)

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Maker’s Market Photos

So, I’ve been a bit absent from this “sketchblog” for the past month and a half. I’m blaming it on my recent trans-atlantic move to Germany. This has been a huge adjustment, and very exciting to be settling into a new city, culture and language. The only downside is it has cost me some online presence, which we all know is very important in this fast-paced internet world. But now, I am back and have some photos for you!

This past weekend I participated in my first international Artist and Designers Market in Berlin. It’s called the Maker’s Market and happens on the first Sunday of every month from 12-6 pm. It’s located only 10 minutes away from the famous, Mauerpark Flohmarkt. If you’re ever travelling in Berlin, I would recommend you come visit. See some highlights below, and stay tuned because I’ve got a lot of exciting art-news coming up in the next few months!

P.S Big thanks to my fellow Canadian Creative Zach Bulick for help with set-up and taking photos!

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Recent Blog Posts

New Project: Joelle Labels Berlin

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GermanWordExamplesSo, this project is called “Joelle Labels Berlin”, as you can see from the photo. It’s a new social media project, involving Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr that will (hopefully) help me and others to learn the difficult language of German.

If you have been following any of my social media tracks, you should know that my husband and I have recently moved to Berlin, Germany. My husband is originally from Germany, so the goal of this year is to learn the language and experience a his home culture. I’m hoping it will also be a year of meeting new artists, attending exhibitions and making A LOT of art.

This is my newest project, that was birthed out a conversation with a fellow English-speaking friend yesterday (thanks Shannon!). We were talking about how difficult it is to learn German. Then, she shared with me that one of her friends labelled everything in her apartment to help learn the German words with their proper articles. I thought, “What a brilliant idea!”

You see, in German every noun has an article (die, das, or der). Some words are masculine, feminine, and neutral. For example, das Fenster (window), der Spiegel (the mirror) and der Wand (the wall) There is no reasoning behind this system, from what I can tell so far. The only way to learn these articles is to memorize them. So, what better way to memorize then to label everything with sticky notes?  But, why stop with household items? I mean, there are only so many things in your apartment. But I need to know everything. So, everything must be labelled!

WHY DO THIS, YOU ASK? Because German is really difficult, and I’m a visual learner so I need pictures to remember things. Also, I wanted to do something for the greater good. I’m sure there are other English speakers out there, struggling with me to learn this language.

AND HOW WILL IT WORK? I will label random things with sticky notes and take a photo with my phone. Then I will post the photo to Instagram, Twitter and my Tumblr feed using this formula in the caption:

TheGermanWord (e.g. #derspiegel) +  ”German+EnglishWord” (#germanmirror) + Project Name (#joellelabelsberlin).

As I build up this photographic dictionary, anyone can find these words through searching for hashtags.

THIS SOUNDS GREAT JOELLE, HOW CAN I FOLLOW YOUR LEARNING EXPERIENCE?

Great question! You can follow me on Instagram @joellegebhardt, Twitter @joellegebhardt or my Tumblr feed (the link is on my website). The Tumblr feed will be exclusively for this project, but I will still be posting other things on Instagram and Twitter.

I THINK THIS IS A RIDICULOUS IDEA, YOU ARE CRAZY.

Thanks! It might be a stupid idea, but I’ve gotta learn German somehow!

 

 

 

 

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Long Distance Memories

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One of the joys of moving homes is that it forces you to go through all your stuff. (I say “joy” slightly sarcastically because going through old stuff is also incredibly annoying!) Today, I pulled out this old drawing that I mailed to my now, husband, then boyfriend, from Canada to Germany. At the time, we had been in a long-distance relationship for 8 months, not knowing when we would see each other again. I was missing him like crazy and kept seeing all these couples walking around googly-eyed, holding hands and simply being together.  But rather than sending another letter venting how much I missed him, I decided to lighten the mood with a drawing.

There are certainly benefits to long-distance relationships. You learn to communicate really well; you have an excuse to send old-fashioned, hand-written letters back and forth; and when you get in an argument, you have some space to cool off. But, that feeling of lacking or “missing”, never went away for me. I remember it well, and am glad we don’t have to suffer that anymore!

It’s coming up on Valentine’s Day this week, and it’s also the two year anniversary of our engagement. So it seems appropriate to look back and be thankful that the lone giraffe eating popcorn in the movie theatre is no longer me!

For those of you who can relate to this poor giraffe: Move back a row and cuddle up next to the aliens. They are a friendlier than you think!

Happy Valentine’s Day :)

 

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On Leaving

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I wanted to make something “creative” this afternoon, but I couldn’t stop thinking about leaving Vancouver in a few weeks. I made this #hashtag card above to filter my emotions. Good ol’ hashtags! I’ve been learning some German with this free app called Duolingo, and incorporated some of my new vocabulary into it too.

It’s becoming more and more real that we are relocating to Berlin. Almost every day I am asked, “So, are you getting excited?”.  I’m never certain how to answer this question because, to be honest, I’m feeling mostly sad about it. It’s hard to leave behind all your loved ones to travel to an unknown place for an unknown amount of time. I know, it’s Europe, and everyone wants to go to Europe because it’s cool. But, the coolness factor is not helping with that ache in my heart when I think of all the people I’m leaving behind.

I have unintentionally put some roots down in this city, even with it’s transient nature. It is home now. And there are days when the idea of leaving is more than I can handle, so I have to pretend that it’s not happening. This is a horrible strategy for packing! Do not ask me for advice when it comes to moving.

If you’ve ever had to move to another city, I’m sure you can relate to these feelings. It’s something we are all faced with at some point. And I always think that it will be easier the next time, but good-byes always seem to suck.

On the flip side, I know that Berlin is going to be amazing and I am excited to go. I have my appointment with the German Consulate tomorrow to apply for my work visa, and plan on making lots of art while I’m there. And as an artist, this is an ideal place to be going.

Everything is going to be ok. (I actually hate it when people say this, however, in this particular case, it’s true). Everything will be ok. The ocean isn’t THAT big, right? There are planes and boats and skype and letters. Wonderful inventions that make the distance smaller between me and you.

And on that note, I’m going to go organize my closet now. Thanks for listening :)

-Joelle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recent Blog Posts

An Inside Look

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For the last year and a bit, I’ve been working on this book with my mom, Karolyn Burch. And finally, we have printed our first run of 50 books!

The book contains 30 revised blog entries from my mom’s blog “Notes from my Red Canoe”. You can find the link to it here. The format is a 30 day devotional of “meditations for the soul”. It is reflective of my mom’s personal faith journey and intended to encourage Christians in their faith.

It was really special to help my mom with this book. I’m really proud of her for finishing it, as I know how scary it is to let the world see your heart. She’s been dreaming of this for a long time.

My contribution to this project was editing and doing the book layout, design and illustrations. It took longer than both of us imagined, but we were able to get it printed in time for Christmas 2013.

For now, this is a non-profit project and you can purchase the book on my mom’s blog. Here is the link to her blog:

www.notesfrommyredcanoe.wordpress.com

 

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“Time” – Illustration Friday

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This is my quick illustration I made today for the Illustration Friday blog. The theme for this week is “Time”. My inspiration for this drawing is a quote by Dr. Seuss, “How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon”.

This quote resonated with me today as I worked from home and couldn’t get over how dark it was; at 3 pm it felt like 6 pm. On days like this I truly do wish I had a sunshine window covering to help me forget that time is passing.

I also tried a new effect of cutting and pasting a drawing over a drawing and embroidery. I haven’t decided if I like it, but hey, sometimes it’s good to experiment a little.

 

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This was December

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As with most things in December, this collage is late. I’ve been doing these reflection artworks at the start of each month, but it wasn’t possible this time. So consider this piece a backwards reflection on December.

While making this, I was thinking about the events of the past weeks. Also, the strangeness of this season. Everywhere I went I saw a juxtaposition of Santa, elves and reindeer with Jesus in the manger. I heard stories of families being reunited while others were separated and trying to forget it’s Christmas. For some their dreams were fulfilled and others had to swallow their disappointment. December was wonderful and December was hard. It was FULL. So this collage is very busy. Everything has a story behind it and all the images are my own quick creations.

It was a great month, even if I was eating soup for half of it. In the midst of the craziness there were  moments to rest, read and enjoy good company. So, I’m not complaining.

What was your December like? I’d love to hear about it. And if I haven’t had a chance to say it in person:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 

 

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Nelson Mandela Drawing

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Nelson Mandela's Letter from Rhode Island

I pulled these drawings out from under my bed today when I heard about the death of Nelson Mandela. I made them 2 years ago for school in a project I called “Prison Letters”. This drawing is based on a letter from Nelson Mandela. It was smuggled out of the confines of Robben Island, South Africa and took 2 years to reach the ANC (African National Congress). At this point Nelson Mandela had been in prison for 17 years as a political prisoner for resisting the apartheid and white minority rule. The letter calls on South Africans to continue their resistance and fight. It is also a response to the Soweto uprising of 1976 when policemen opened fire on children who were marching in protest.

The specific quote that I drew imagery from is,  “between the anvil of mass united action and the hammer of armed struggle we shall crush apartheid and white minority rule”. This was written on June 10 1980. The drawing is on vellum, attached to a board shaped like Robben Island. The markings show the number of days the letter took to reach the ANC, and the drawings in the anvil are collaged from newspaper photographs around the events relating to the letter.

To be honest, this was an important drawing for me. The research I did on Mandela was impacting, sobering and inspiring.  But during my critique in school it was pointed out that it was not very “relevant” to the Canadian contemporary art scene. Why prison letters? Why Mandela? Ouch. So the drawings went under my bed.

Yes, we don’t have an apartheid here. And yes, Nelson Mandela lived in South Africa. But everything he stood for and accomplished is relevant to Canada. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission  launched HERE in October is named after Nelson Mandela’s Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa. Did you know that? And today there was a memorial held for him at the Vancouver Art Gallery, which I find very ironic considering the critique I received two years ago.

I end this day, thinking of an old verse I’ve heard many times over the years. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful” from 2 Timothy 4:7.  Few of us could say that with full confidence, but there’s no question in my mind that Nelson Mandela fought the good fight.