what's kate up to?


November


Multitasker Self-portrait

I've been chipping away at this self-portrait for the past month on the tablet. I wanted to create an image that encapsulated a bunch of things I enjoy doing, and things I care about. It was a fun challenge!

I put the portrait up on the About page on my website, with a list of 16 “ways in which I like to spend my time”. I tried to squeeze most of the elements into the portrait— check it out and see if you can locate all of the different things! (I'll say that Leggy can count for both strolling and dancing... haha).

See all the process sketches and read more about the personal project on the original Patreon post!


October


🧦 Old Socks = New Hat ✨

The other morning I spontaneously decided to turn a few holey old socks into a hat:

I had a very vague idea of how things might fit together. I used 3 differently-coloured socks, cut a slit from back-ankle to bottom-toe so they each made a single piece of fabric to work with, and sewed the sides together into a hat shape with a sewing machine.

The neat thing about this hat is that you can change the look of it just by rotating it a bit—one hat, six different styles!

~🧦~🧦~🧦~

Read more about the process and see my awkward selfie hat-model shots at the original Patreon post!


September


🔥 Pyrography Experiments: Hum Hill & Junco Grove 🌲 🐦

This past month I've been experimenting a bit with woodburning—AKA pyrography—and it's been an interesting learning curve so far. Basically, it's drawing on wood with a heat-pen. I was drawn to it because I was looking for more environmentally friendly ways to make signage.

The ironic thing is that I had to wait to start until the smoke from the wildfires cleared before I could open the windows & doors for air circulation while burning... 🔥💨💨

hum hill sencoten sign The first woodburned sign I made is a SENĆOŦEN translation of Hummingbird Hill, the name Seán's grandfather gave his property (where we now live). He had help translating it to SENĆOŦEN in the early 80s; Seán found the translation and pronunciation guides in his grandfather's notes.

junco grove sign As for the second sign, Seán & I have been playing around with naming the different habitat areas around the property, depending on what action we see most in each spot. One is an area where dark-eyed juncos often hang out to fluff & preen after a bath, or peck around for seeds, or hide & rest. We've been calling this area “Junco Grove” for a while, and so that's how the idea of this sign got started.

Read more about—and see pictures of—my process, things that went awry and lessons learned on the original Patreon post!


August


Inky Sketchbook Tour

Hello! Here we are at the end of August. I'm looking forward to the next seasonal transition 🍁🧦🧣🍂!

I've been doing daily(-ish) doodles this month, fuelled by a little square sketchbook and a fine-tipped Pigma Micron ink pen, both of which were gifted to me by my mum at the end of July. It's been a fun exercise to use only one type of ink pen for a series of drawings. 📒🖋

Here's a 2-minute video-tour of the sketches thus far!

Some are based on photos or memories of things I experienced during the month; others are objects, plants or creatures within easy reach; some are travel-journal sketches from a kite festival; and others are straight outta my weird brain— you'll know the ones! ;P

Read more and see photos of my handmade bird kite on the original Patreon post!


July


Leggy's Ocean Adventure

Hi folks, hope you're stayin' cool~ perhaps this little doodle piece will bring you some refreshing feelings!

Just a little drawing inspired by our friend & expert model, Leggy the Fishbird :)

Read more and see photos of the process on the original Patreon post!.


June


About Birds – Song in the Works

Hi folks!

I hope June has treated you well, and if not, I wish you healing & nourishment to help get you to a more peaceful place.

For me, it's been a busy month of gardening, art projects (commissions & personal) and getting my chops back up to snuff on the ol' squeezebox...

Photo by Barb Sawatsky (That's another performer's guitar)

I made an appearance on an outdoor stage a couple of weeks ago, performing for an attentive audience for the first time in about 3 years. It was a casual gig—a community fundraiser show for Ukraine—an easy 5-song set to ease me gently back into performance-land. It was also only the 2nd time I've performed with the new accordion plugged in, so that was good practice too.

I'm slowly feeling out the performing thing again, and doing a lot of thinking on how I want to present myself as I've changed a lot in the last several years and want to find a balance of putting on a good show while staying true to my more introverted nature and upholding newfound boundaries to keep things manageable and healthy.

Three cowbirds on a nice lichen-rich snag ♪~♪~♪ Here's a song I wrote last fall... another one about birds, go figure! I've been tweaking it and doing recordings of different versions recently, but after listening back to a phone-recording I did of it back in January, I think it captures things alright, so that's the demo I'm presenting to you today. I changed a couple of the melodies but it's pretty similar to this still.

Hear the song, read the lyrics & learn more about it on the original Patreon post!


May


8 Backyard Bird Poems = Song (Practice Recording)👂♪🐛🐦

I've got a bit of an ear-worm here for you this time— you've been warned! Hopefully a robin will notice the worm and pull it out of your ear before it's too late...👂 ♪ 🐛 🐦

This whole thing started as a little improvised poem I spoke out loud while watching a dark-eyed junco sitting in the bath all fluffed up:

juncoboatJunco soaking in the bath/what a sight to make us laugh/feathers fluffed into a sphere/how we love to see you here!

Later I was playing freight train by Elizabeth Cotten on the guitar, and realized the poem fit perfectly with the melody of the song. So I wrote up a bunch more bird verses with the tune in mind. However, while I was editing the verses later on, I happened to be listening to animal songs by the wonderful Canadian folksinger Alan Mills, and when his song The Bird's Ball started playing, I realized the poems also fit the melody of this song... plus this one had a joyful “tra-la-lalala” bit in it that got me thinking about some extra bird-call-inspired lyrics... so...

Hear the recording and read more on the original Patreon post!


April


🌿 Ecological Signs 🐛

Hello friends! 🌱

I hope you've been enjoying whatever seasonal changes are happening in your neighbourhood. Over here, the bumblebees are out enjoying early spring blooms, violet-green swallows are swooping above catching insects, and the feisty, tiny orange rufous hummingbirds have arrived to refuel after their long migration.
🌸 – – – 🐝 restoration sign

I've been busy with more sign-making! I'm currently updating and designing more menu boards for my friend's bakery; but since I already shared some bakery signs, I'll instead show you five other recent signs: three that I made for Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary, and two for some friends to use at a climate action demonstration.

See all of the signs and read about my process on the original Patreon post!


March


Grease Pencil Doodle Dump!

It's time to March our way towards spring! Hope you're enjoying the various sproutlings that are poking up 🌱 , or if you're still covered in snow, keeping an ear tuned to any birdsong that tells of warmer days to come 🎶 🌤.

Native Plant Webinar Doodles

So, I have an ever-accumulating pile of sketches. Most of them are made at the dining table while having planning meetings, listening to webinars/podcasts, or while having lengthy conversations with my partner about life, death, dreams, art, plants, birds, animism, the multiverse, magic, or any other things that happen to be of interest in the moment.

Mask Plant Man These are all drawn with one of my very favourite utensils: the lusciously smooth china marker, AKA grease pencil or wax pencil.

Read my musings about the therapeutic nature of doodling with grease pencils & see a whole bunch more of my doodles on the original Patreon post!


February


New Bird Song in the Works! 🐣

Hello friends! 🐥

Indeed, a song! After a long hiatus from sharing original songs, I've finally got some demo-recordings in the works that I thought to share with you.

This song started as a little poem that came to me while walking at a nearby lagoon last September. I was feeling grumpy and existential that day, and as I walked with the negative thoughts stubbornly swirling in my head, I was suddenly jolted awake by a bird that swooped in front of me while letting out a big “squeak!”. It stopped me in my tracks; I felt a big smile spread across my face, and heard myself let out a laugh. Pure joy— pure sudden awareness of the wonders of nature and the bigger picture. The best medicine.

Read about my writing process, lyrics and more on the original Patreon post!

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