8 Amazing Cashmere Scarves

After years of being a professional visual artist, my journey has led me to textile design. I love to paint but I also love fabric. It’s about time I figured out how to do both! And with a touch of computer skills thrown in, it is one winning combination that I can’t wait to share with you all.

Here’s my latest collection of designer scarves. The scarves are printed through Vida which is a website that brings artists and the fashion world together into the retail market. Check out my Vida shop! Periodically, I will be posting coupon codes and exciting sales plus lots of new designs.

If you like my designs, please share on Facebook & add my pins to your Pinterest boards. And I would love to hear which one is your favourite, so leave a comment below.

 

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TEARDROP PETALS

cashmere modal scarf

$75US

 

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AQUA DREAMS

cashmere silk scarf

$85US

 

#3scarfpin_medium

WATERCOLOUR & LACE

modal scarf

$40US

 

#4scarfpin_medium

BLUE FLOW

cashmere modal scarf

$75US

 

#5scarfpin_medium

TURQUOIS TRIO

cashmere silk scarf

$85US

 

#6scarfpin_medium

PURPLE WASH

modal scarf

$40US

 

#7scarfpin_medium

TOUCHES OF BLUE

modal scarf

$40US

 

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MAKE ME BLUSH

modal scarf

$40US

8 Amazing Cashmere Scarves

Mural Project PART 9 – The Aftermath

After the artwork has been created, do you consider the project complete? Actually, the answer is “no, not even close”. There is a lot that still needs to be done in order to call this project complete.

Here’s a list of things still on this project’s to do list…

  • transport the mural panels to storage for the winter – check
  • get a professional photo taken of the completed mural
  • confirm the installation location and costs
  • in the spring, have the mural installed, touched up, trimmed and varnished
  • plan a dedication ceremony inviting the city council and the public to see the completed mural in its permanent home
  • I am sure this list will grow over the winter as new problems arise looking for solutions. But for now, I am going to take a bit of a break to catch my breath.

I am sure this list will grow over the winter as new problems arise looking for solutions. But for now, I am going to take a bit of a break to catch my breath.

Someone suggested to me to write down my experience with this project as a way to document the things I had accomplished. As I sit here reflecting about the process and what still needs to be done, it is also a good record of what I would do different should I take on another similar project.

Sitting beside me is the front-page picture of my mural in the Westside Weekly and the article about my project in the Capital News. To visit the Global TV story on Westside Culture Days including my mural visit… http://globalnews.ca/video/2245761/global-okanagan-at-530-sep-27-top-stories-2 , go to the 5 minute mark.

Of course, I am proud of what I have accomplished and look forward to the day when I pass by my mural. I have learned a thing or two about the process and about the people I can trust.

But honestly, I don’t feel any different. I would not consider myself to be overly organized or overly ballsy or even overly creative. I am just an artist who wants to see more art in my local environment. Instead of sitting back and waiting for this to materialize on its own and being frustrated when it wasn’t happening, I decided to create my own opportunity. Just think of how amazing this place would be, if each artist across Canada decided to create his or her own opportunity.

What I would consider to be my biggest accomplishment with this mural project is that I have left my mark. Now what about you? What amazing opportunity would you create? Let me know in the comments below.

Mural Project PART 9 – The Aftermath

Mural Project PART 8 – Mural Painting during Westside Culture Days

After running around gathering together the last of the painting supplies such as containers, rollers, paint brushes, etc… from the donated money from the Greater Westside Board of Trade, I was all set for my big painting weekend and just hoped the rain would go away.

The morning of the 26th, the sunshine was out in all its glory. I arrived at the museum and found one of my devoted painting volunteers waiting and eager to get started. We taped up plastic to the cinder block wall and began lining up the numbered mural panels. Soon more volunteers arrived and the area was busy with activity. At one point before noon, I had 6 volunteers painting and the mural began to quickly take shape.

I explained to the volunteer painters that we would work linear instead of vertical. This way each persons painting style would not be contained on one piece of plywood. I had a volunteer tackle the gradient in the sky, while others worked on the mountain range and others the foliage in the foreground. I was able to use volunteers of any artistic experience, as the task I gave them was suited to their artistic ability and comfort level.

All the volunteers had a great time painting and we had some onlookers who had come to see what we were creating. There was a buzz in the air as the landscape began to take shape.

At noon, many of my volunteers had to get going. This left me with only 1 volunteer until we packed up for the day at 3:30. However, this allowed me to get a few brushes wet myself and I painted instead of just ordering the activity. I tweaked the landscape until it looked like the designer’s vision.

The painting continued the following day, when we started in on the details of the animals. Four volunteers, including the mural designer, had showed up and I delegated an animal to each artist. That morning, I interviewed with 2 newspapers and a TV crew as my volunteers painted in the background.

Whenever an onlooker stopped by to watch the creativity, I asked them if they wanted to paint. Some did and I gave them a task. Others were just happy to watch the creativity in action. I made sure to get the names of all those who had painted on the mural so that I can incorporate them on a dedication plaque. After a total of 57 combined man-hours of painting, the afternoon was spent tweaking and perfecting the painted lines and the mural was completed by 4:30.

So you may wonder what happens next after the creation part is finished. I will let you know in my next blog post.

Mural Project PART 8 – Mural Painting during Westside Culture Days

Mural Project PART 7 – Cleaning up the Shrapnel

With Westside Culture Days a few short weeks away, it was the time to start pulling all the pieces together to this massive mural project puzzle.

A new call for painting volunteers went out and I started gathering names of artists who wanted to participate in this creative event.

I had arranged for the mural creation to take place at the Westbank Museum, which would make a nice tie between the history of West Kelowna and its bright future. They were super helpful & extremely accommodating. They allowed us to store our painting supplies temporarily at their location until the Culture Days weekend.

Just when I felt things were under control a bombshell exploded in my lap. The volunteer who had arranged for all the donated supplies had asked for the wrong number of pieces of plywood. Instead of the intended 6 pieces, as was stated in the numerous presentations, meetings, emails and diagrams, 4 pieces of plywood were delivered 3 days before I had scheduled a group of volunteers to prime the wood. I spent 5 hours sorting out this new mess of shrapnel even though I did not have the 5 hours to spare. Two extra pieces of plywood were eventually ordered for delivery on priming day.

After again feeling under things were under control, unfortunately, I soon realized this volunteer informed me of the wrong thickness of plywood.

The morning of priming, the 2 new pieces of plywood were delivered but the store made a mistake and brought ½” which had to be returned for the 5/8” I had ordered. And then, when we started priming these new pieces of plywood we realized the original 4 pieces that were donated were not 5/8” but were actually ¾”. “Seriously, could this get any more messed up?” I thought.

Why was I fussing with the thickness of the plywood, you may wonder. The reason is that you need a uniform and solid surface as your foundation for painting. Otherwise, you will not get the quality you are wanting to achieve as your end result.

As the leader of this project, it is my ultimate responsibility for this mistake. Next time, I will check and double check the order before proceeding. But know that, whatever can go wrong will go wrong. This is something every leader needs to expect and you must be flexible to find a solution to the problems that arise.

I decided to go ahead with the priming and will need to deal with the 1/8” ridge during installation. I am hoping the thinner pieces will be shimmed but that will be something that I will need to solve at a later date.

On the positive side, the paint supplier, Cloverdale Paint, was wonderful and donated more paint than we had originally ordered. At the end of the day, they gave us 4 gallons of primer, 4 gallons of colour, 2 quartz of colour plus some latex gloves and plastic to cover the used brushes to keep them from drying out. This was more than we had needed for the 8’x24’ mural (192 square foot) but I didn’t want to run out during the weekend.

Just when I needed some positive news, this paint supply store overwhelmed me with their generosity. I also had 3 great volunteers who came out to prime and we managed to finish 3 coats of primer on all 6 boards plus all the colour blocking. We were cleaned up and ready to go by 3:00.

In my next blog post, I will tell you all about our Westside Culture Days weekend.

Mural Project PART 7 – Cleaning up the Shrapnel

Mural Project PART 6 – Sitting in the Safety Net

As you recall from my previous blog posts, there seems to be one glaring detail missing. This was with regards to the location of the mural installation.

When you take on a large project, you cannot possibly resolve all the details at once, but that should not be a factor from moving forward with your idea. Projects like this tend to take on a life of their own especially when you are dealing with multiple personalities and involvement levels. There are a lot of things that can be worked out as you go but you have to remember that things change and you need to remain flexible or your project will break.

From my 1st presentation, I had a commitment from the city council for them to help me with the mural installation. If I was to create this mural, they committed to hanging the artwork. I started the planning process with one location in mind. The RCMP building was a natural fit because of its visibility and central location in West Kelowna. The city owns this building but the RCMP is it’s sole tenant. I needed permission from the RCMP to hang this artwork on their walls.

The SWAC Chair met with the BC head of the RCMP to garner support and we spoke with the heads of the West Kelowna RCMP. In the meantime, the city was looking into the costs for installing this large artwork on the buildings façade.

The RCMP were fully supported of the artist merit of this project but were hesitant on it being relevant to the building’s use. And then city staff discovered that the siding of the building was made of unconventional material and would be a little more difficult to drill into as it would void the siding’s warranty and disrupt the vapor barrier.

As things were starting to feel a bit unstable with this particular location site, I decided to come up with a Plan B location as a safety net so that all my efforts would not be wasted. This was no easy task as I quickly learned that the City of West Kelowna owns very little property. And, this meant I had to let go of part of the original concept.

The week before I returned to city council to present the 4 fantastic mural designs, the city staff gave us a firm “no” on the RCMP building. I found myself sitting in my safety net but I was unclear of how stable this safety net was. So, I decided to focus on the positive of the mural designs for my 2nd presentation instead of putting a spotlight on this new development. You can view my 2nd presentation here… http://westkelownabc.swagit.com/play/08252015-1470 , go to Item 7.

After a unanimous vote, very unusual for this city council, I had tied down my safety net, as it would be very difficult for the city to back out now given the council’s enthusiasm for the project.

Now, I just needed to get this mural painted. Despite the bomb that blew up in my lap, I will tell you how I did it in the next blog post.

Mural Project PART 6 – Sitting in the Safety Net

Mural Project PART 5 – Making Lemonade

I am trying to be very transparent here so that anyone trying to create their own opportunity understands both the positive and negative aspects of a project so that fear doesn’t stop you in your tracks. Some may call it a failure. I call it a mere problem just waiting for a creative solution.

No, the risk of putting out a call during the summertime did not pay off as I had hoped.

I upload the call to my blog, to the SWAC website, to my personal Facebook account, to the SWAC Facebook account, to the Westside Artist Group Facebook account. The call went out to the SWAC email list and was mentioned in the Westside Weekly. A week out from the deadline, I returned to Facebook with reminders. All of this sound like it would be enough to spread the word but truth is that it wasn’t. I needed to increase my communication efforts beyond all of this that was done.

Or maybe there were simply very limited number of artists interested in creating a mural design. Instead of getting the 5-10 submissions I was hoping for, only 3 submissions came in. But does the low submission numbers make it a failure? Absolutely not! I still had 3 submissions to work with. If I had received 0 submissions, I still would not have called it a failure as then it would have cleared the playing field for my own personal mural design. If your fruit is a little more sour than expected, add a little sweetener and you get lemonade.

The beauty of creating your own opportunity is that you have complete creative control of what happens next. So instead of throwing in the towel out of frustration, I gathered together a Design Team of experienced artist who helped me amalgamate some of the designs and who came up with their original take on the mural theme. I also drew part of the designs myself. At the end of this process, I had gathered 4 fantastic designs that I was proud to bring back to council.

In the meantime, there were other areas of my planning process that felt like they were falling apart. In my next blog post, I will explain what was going on behind the scenes with the installation situation.

Mural Project PART 5 – Making Lemonade

Mural Project PART 4 – What Happened Next

So let’s see, what happened next? After I slayed the dragon, or for those just tuning in, I had just given a public speech proposing my mural project to the West Kelowna City Council. Sure, I celebrated the victory but then the real work began.

In my presentation, I told the city council that I was going to send out a call for mural design proposals in July. I knew that following through on my promise was what was going to make or break this project. So before I hopped on a plane for out vacation to Toronto, I pulled the details of my call together.

Working from my list of givens, I knew I wanted community participation so the mural design needed to be simple enough to execute with volunteers who might not have a lot of painting experience. The vision of this project was community, pulling people together to work on a common goal. I had supplies donated by the local businesses. I had the “ok” from the city council to help with installation. Next I needed to engage the local artists to come up with a design.

The theme for the mural, as was this entire project, was quite strategic. As decided upon in our coffee shop discussions, the purpose of this mural was to celebrate the new city status of West Kelowna. I could have chosen many different excuses to paint a mural but I knew that the municipality was proud of this growth and milestone. Since our new arts council wanted to engage our city office, I wanted to tap into this pride of place.

“New beginning” became the theme and artists were asked to design a mural along this line. I gave them some suggestions of a plant sprout or a flying bird to symbolize a new beginning just to get their creative juices flowing. And, I gave them a hard deadline for submission because I had planned to return to the city council in August for input in choosing a design.

I threw the call out into the wind, or uploaded it to the Internet, packed my bags and enjoyed a week on a dock in Ontario.

Now let’s be honest here… getting the word out takes a truckload of effort. No matter how many times you say something, there always will be people who haven’t heard your message. I knew this from working on previous projects. It was a risk to put a call out over the summertime when everyone is at the beach. But as I knew this mural was going to be created during Westside Culture Days at the end of September, my calendar would not give me any more days. I had to work within the timeframe laid out before me.

Next blog post, I will share if the risk paid off or not.

Mural Project PART 4 – What Happened Next

Mural Project PART 3 – Shaking in My Boots

Soon after I started planning my mural project, there was one moment that scared me the most. The obvious detail that needed to be sorted out was the location. There were a few options and directions I could have gone. I could have approached a private business to house the mural. However, my network of property managers was limited and going in cold turkey rarely seems to pan out.

The other option on the table was to approach the municipal government. As our new arts council needed to find a way to get our local government involved and engaged with the arts, this seemed a natural way to go. But that meant I needed to do the one thing I hated most and never saw myself doing in a thousand years… giving a public speech. Seriously, this must be the biggest hurdle for any introvert but again my passion over ruled my fear.

Introverted artists tend to stay in their studios and may not know how the political world works. However, it is important for them to understand that without their squeaky wheels, cultural projects will get overlooked and pushed aside by other organizations that are vying for their piece of the city pie.

In West Kelowna, it is as simple as booking a time in the spotlight to present in a delegation to the city council. The city council meeting dates are listed on the city website. You just have to pick one and fill out the online form with your presentation points. The registration process takes a mere 5 minutes but a truckload of courage. A confirmation email will then be sent and a city staff member will call the week before also to confirm and to tell you how to send in your presentation slides.

I worked for hours and hours tweaking and honing my speech, driven mainly by nerves, but really the presentation came together quickly once I broke it down. Again I started with the “givens”. I knew I had 5 minutes allotted to me. I knew that I needed 10 slides. This meant I had only a short 30 seconds per slide, which is not a lot of time to convey the message I needed to get across.

The key to any presentation is to gain the trust of the listener and I had to make sure my 10 slides did just that. I wanted to give them confidence in my ability so I told them a bit about my set-painting experience and a bit about the creation process. I itemized a timeline to give them a framework of the project. I thought through any questions they may have and I tried to deal with them in the short presentation.

Another key aspect to proposing a creative project is that when you are entertaining a visual discussion you need visuals to convey your message clearly. A non-artistic person may have difficulty “seeing” the end result and will need a concrete picture. So, I physically drove to the location of the proposed installation site, took photographs, returned home and drew a mural on the photograph with my computer drawing program. These visuals were a big part of my presentation to eliminate any guesswork about the end result.

My words had to be right to the point and very clear and succinct. I edited and edited the text. I led with my “why” and concluded with my “ask”. I practiced my words over and over again so that I could look at my audience and not stumble over the words. And, I actually practiced clicking the remote for the presentation slides so that the presentation would be fluid without technological interruptions.

I stewed in my nerves for days but when the time came for my presentation I knew I had done everything I could to secure a “yes” from my audience. I took a deep breath, walked up to the podium and all the practice I had done took over. After I thanked my audience, the city council began their discussions. From that moment on, they had taken control and I moved a bit to the background. They were excited for the proposal and I knew I had succeeded.

If you want to see my 1st presentation to the West Kelowna city council, you can visit this link… http://westkelownabc.swagit.com/play/06232015-1316 , go to Item 7.

The preparation for this presentation took 15 hours but the actual presentation took only 22 minutes. The biggest thing I learned from this harrowing experience was that 22 minutes goes by really fast when you put the work into the preparation. Because this was my 1st presentation, I did not know what to expect and the fear seemed massive. However, the next time I presented to city council, the fear was lessened, as was the amount of prep work needed.

I cannot say that I will jump at the opportunity to do any more public speaking but I at least know that I could handle the situation with confidence should the need arise. The phrase “I have done this before” feels a lot better than shaking in my boots behind the phrase “I have never done this”.

Stay tuned for my next blog post when I will tell you what happened next.

Mural Project PART 3 – Shaking in My Boots