blue christmas

Weathered Grace

Weathered Grace

Sunday afternoon, just home from church, I’m scraping 60 years of crud from a couple dozen old boards. I like to imagine I am redeeming them. Turning ugly into beautiful. Giving these boards a new home as the backdrop to my creative studio. I hope they appreciate how close they were to the dump.

I’ve always loved the look of weathered wood. Rich yellows fade into walnut greys. Knots and grains pop with the accumulated darkening of decades and dirt. These wrinkles and age spots may be my favourite patina.

Later on, at Blue Christmas, we are speaking of grief. Loss. Pain. I think of my boards. 


Blog for Bleeding Heart!

You have something to say–why not say it here? Email your blog post idea to and let's chat.

Peace Anyways

Peace Anyways

Where there should be peace, there is a well-curated chaos inside me. Tis' the season.

But it is not that season. Not examined deeply. Not through the ages. It is Advent. A season of longing. Waiting. This Sunday, specifically, we are waiting for peace.

Peace through the dark anniversaries of lost love ones. Peace as a friend processes a cancer diagnosis. Peace as the walls come down and debris gets loaded into the truck and you realize you lost the keys to said truck. Peace as 14 people get shot in an American social care agency. Peace as dozens more are killed in bombings almost daily. Peace through the bad news playlist of radioland.


Blog for Bleeding Heart!

You have something to say–why not say it here? Email your blog post idea to and let's chat.

Art Show on the Radio: The CBC Interview

It's late last week when I see the CBC logo in my email inbox. The message is from CBC's Isabelle Gallant. She produces the afternoon show, Radio Active. I'm not expecting this email, but it is just what I've been hoping for. Someone in the media has caught wind of Blue Christmas, and thinks it will make a unique Christmas story. 

I agree, but I'm more than a little biased.

We exchange emails and set a time to meet. Tuesday afternoon I light the fireplace, start the music and tidy up for company. I open the door for the first radio interview in our new space. I give Isabelle a quick tour and then we sit down for a chat. As is the custom for this show, we've both removed our shoes.

Isabelle asks me to describe the space for those who will be listening. I'm reminded that this is radio and there are no visuals to accompany the story. Giving a description takes more effort—and time—than planned. But as I'll find out later, there is a great deal of magic in the editing room.

A couple of days later, Isabelle interviews Chynna Howard, the first participant in our Blue Christmas show. Chynna Howard with the snowman story. Chynna will share her story as part of Yule Ave tonight at 7 at the Alberta Avenue Community League. 

I don't hear Chynna's part of the piece until you do—live on air. The kids and I are making our way home. We've just bought a little bookshelf for the space. I've just dropped the key off for our volunteer gallery attendants. I get in the car as the segment begins. I listen and choke back some tears. I'm moved by Chynna Howard's story. I'm also incredibly proud.

Proud of this segment. Proud of Blue Christmas and the team that has brought it to life. Proud of the Bleeding Heart Art Space. Proud that we are here, already, doing what we hoped we'd do. Making connections. Having conversations. Spreading art, faith, hope and love. 

Art speaks, and for 6 and a half minutes on Thursday afternoon, Edmontonians stopped to listen.

Here is what we heard. 

Blog for Bleeding Heart!

You have something to say–why not say it here? Email your blog post idea to and let's chat.

A Video and Photos From our Blue Christmas Opening

Saturday, December 6 was a historic Bleeding Heart day. We opened our new space at 9132 118th ave. Our first show, Blue Christmas, welcomed guests to take in blown glass by Keith Walker, landscapes by Dawn Saunders Dahl and participation by ... you.

This video lays out exactly what Blue Christmas is all about, and why you should most definitely pay us a visit this month.

And here are 13 photos from the opening.

Were you there? Do you plan on attending? Please share any feedback or questions below.

Blog for Bleeding Heart!

You have something to say–why not say it here? Email your blog post idea to and let's chat.

13 Seconds Making a Glass Teardrop (VIDEO)

"Oh no!" mutters Keith Walker. Or maybe he exclaims something a bit more colourful.

The molten glass is dripping too fast. The weight of the teardrop pulls downward, stretching the droplet too long too soon. It could stop, frozen solid, any second. But it doesn't. It falls into its cradle and breaks. The piece is ruined. 

We've been blowing glass teardrops all day for the upcoming installation, Blue Christmas. Despite the repetition of forging 60-some nearly indistinguishable teardrops, every piece is a challenge. Unpredictable. Uncontrollable. 

If art is a struggle, glass is a medium that fights back.

Less than ten minutes later we are back at that critical moment. Another chance to get it right. The heavy bottom of the teardrop sinks fast. I'm tense. I blow on the bottom of the drop with a 'sofietta' to cool it down. Keith torches the stem to melt it faster. He knows when to blow the torch and when to lay back. His mastery shows. We dance with the molten glass until it harden back to its solid state. This teardrop is perfect. Or as close to perfect as we can hope to get. 

Tension. Timing. Knowing when to push forward and when to pull back. When to give and when to demand more. This process is packed with metaphors. 

Blue Christmas, our first show in our new home, opens December 6. The installation will create a space for grief in a time declared joyful. Grieving needs space and time. Sorrow bears weight. Like a forming teardop, it can be heavy. In its intensity–its immediate heat–that heaviness can pull us down too hard and fast. It can break us.

But we can learn to dance with sorrow. To give it space and time. To know when to close the book and move forward. We can even draw beauty from it. 

In grief we all become fragile. For a time brittle. Once passed through fire, stronger. Like this glass teardrop we have made. 

I'm still processing much of what I learned in Keith Walker's glass studio yesterday.

For now, let me show you how a glass teardrop is made, through the magic of editing, in just 13 compressed seconds.

Blog for Bleeding Heart!

You have something to say–why not say it here? Email your blog post idea to and let's chat.