Last summer I was injured in an accident at work and found myself with a considerable amount of time on my hands… this was seen as a bad thing at the time but it there was some good that came of it. While sitting around trying to recover, I started trying to find projects that would fill my time but wouldn’t aggravate my injury. I formed an addiction while I was recovering – I became addicted to making things. I started with a few smaller things and one day saw a picture online of a shield… a Celtic shield that was carried by a man names Major James Stewart. (My grandmother’s maiden name was Stewart and my mind was blown by the idea that an ancestor of mine had possibly carried this shield at one point.) I was fascinated with this shield and decided that I needed to have it – like most projects I begin, I just started finding out how they were made and jumped right in to making it. I went out and purchased some oak plank, had it chopped it into 20″ sections and laminated two layers of oak planks with dowels, making a 20″ square two boards thick. Over a number of days I carved away at the square to make a perfect circle 20″ in diameter. The shield that I had seen was covered in leather that had Celtic designs tooled into it and brass details hammered out and tacked on so I went out and got some raw veg leather too. The leather was dampened and stretched over the shield and tacked on around the back to hold it in place. Then section-by-section I got the leather wet, tooled on designs that had been laid out using a template and stained the leather. I got some brass sheet metal and hammered out the details and tacked them on with brass nails and tacks. The back of the shield is lined with goat fur and it’s very comfortable to hold. Another project that I started on was a book-binding project… I decided that it would be neat to make my own sketchbook and started off with a few “how to” videos on YouTube. I plan on including a lot of what I do in that sketchbook in this blog. So far in my sketchbook I have been working mainly with faces… drawing with ballpoint pen to improve accuracy and speed. I’ve also begun a self-directed study on anatomy… relearning all the stuff I covered in anatomy class at the Emily Carr University. I feel like a huge amount of time has been wasted since my graduation at Emily Carr and that I should have been focused more on my art since then but I am realizing now that it’s pointless to regret any of that… The time wasn’t wasted, it was spent on getting a career that provides me with stability and the luxury of being able to do what I love without feeling like I have to please others with my creations. I have my eye on an art school in Italy and as time passes I am becoming more convinced that I should do whatever it takes to spend time there to soak in more of that culture. I believe that being in that environment will help me become the artist I want to be. Until I have the time and money to do that though, I have been looking at work that comes out of that school – learning and directing my own studies to hone my skills that have gotten a bit rusty over time.