New Work In Progress

Inner Theatre_in progress

I’ve been working on some other things in the last few days, sculpture with some electronics. Part of my plan for this residency is to finish up some work I’d just started, and to make more. I’ve finished up a couple of things, and hope to get the documentation photos I took today edited and up soon. This is a work in progress shot, although the work depicted is finished now, and working as it should be! I feel like I accomplished something tangible today! ūüôā

(Did I mention the light in here is amazing? I wish I could always use this space for documentation.)

Documenting / Morning Photographs

Jennifer Akkermans_Personal Journey_2014_web

I’ve been working on a few things, such as making these journal “paintings,” all of which are in varying stages of completion. I have realized that I am a documenter by nature, always keeping journals, photographing things, describing processes. ¬†This residency is no different. ¬†Every morning, when I get up, I grab the camera off of the dresser in the other bedroom, and take a photo of the studio down through the window. ¬†Maybe when I’m finished, I will make a little gif movie. ¬†I did miss a few days in the beginning, before the project occurred to me.









You may notice that the March 7th and March 8th photos are really similar – I went to Red Deer on the 7th for my opening, and then returned on the 8th (and photographed when I returned), so there was not much work happening in between.

Now, back to work.

Gushul 2.0 – Back in the Pass!


So I’m here! ¬†Have been for a few days now, actually. ¬†It’s pretty great. ¬†Nice and quiet, I’ve just been doing my thing. ¬†Such a contrast from Puppet Camp, the polar opposite, actually, but really lovely in another way. ¬†I’m also surprised how much different this is than¬†when I was here with Latifa– it’s a calm energy, as opposed to a slightly nervous dealing-with-another-(lovely)-person-I-just-met vibe. ¬†The fact that it’s winter probably affects that too- so far, it’s been really cold, really snowy, really melty (as in, mini avalanches scaring the crap out of me as they slide off the roof/window), and really nice for about ten minutes.

After calling AMA to get my car started because of the cold on Saturday (what would I do without them?), I drove out to the Pass, unpacked most of the car, and got set up in the studio. ¬†Since then, I’ve just been doing my thing, listening to music and making things. ¬†The only time I’ve really left the studio was to get some basic groceries. ¬†There are lots of things to do here (especially in the summer), and I really love the area, but it’s been cold, and since I’ve been here many times before, I don’t feel compelled to go exploring. ¬†I’m happy just to get to work.

I’ve been getting up quite early – 7:30ish – to work, as I discovered on day one that the light is much different in March than it is in September, when I was here last. ¬†During the day, the studio is absolutely wonderful with all the natural light. ¬†When the sun goes down, however, it seems all the light from other sources gets sucked right out that giant window into the night. ¬†You can probably see the studio from space, but I can’t choose colours after 7:00.

It is, however, setting me on a decent working schedule. ¬†I’m feeling productive.

Gushul Residency 2.0

Anyway. ¬†I am quite enjoying being by myself here, just doing my thing. ¬†I have always been more than comfortable being on my own, and as long as I don’t see any signs of depression showing up (which I doubt I will), all is good. ¬†I do have a couple of trips home planned – well, to Red Deer for commitments to my show at the Harris-Warke Gallery, but as Calgary is on the way, I will stop in to sleep – but I am more than happy to just hang out here. ¬†A good friend of mine is coming to visit for the last weekend of the month, and while I am really looking forward to that, her arrival will mean my time here is coming to a close. ¬†I am open to other visitors – should you happen to be in the area, just knock!

Also, if anyone is interested, my opening at Harris-Warke is this Friday, 6-8 PM.  Address is 4924 Ross Street, Red Deer, and the gallery is on the top floor of the Sunworks store.

Bad Teenage Poetry: Walls

While cleaning out some old boxes, I found some interesting stuff from my childhood.  Maybe I should start a new blog: Bad Teenage Poetry. Ok, maybe just a blog section.

Here’s the first entry, dated February 9, 1998. ¬†I would have been fifteen.

For your entertainment.

Thunder rumbles in the distance
My walls shudder around me
Lightning flashes
Blinding the sky
The walls quiver as I watch
All my life, I’ve built these walls
Made from stone and working hands
My need for protection
The storm presses against the stones
I feel the pressure building
My walls shudder again
In vain I try to keep them up
But these walls took years to build
And seconds to destroy
I try to block out the impending storm
But winds whip around me
Throwing me like a leaf in the fall breeze
My hands cover my terrified face
As I realize I’ve no protection
The storm can have me now
As walls are never sturdy enough-
Pushing walls, they seem solid
But there is always something stronger.
I stand tall; proud
When the walls hold me up
But now I try to hide from the storm.
Lightning misses me, I crumble more
Rain pelts me, tiny stones from a deafening sky
The storm has come back,
Stronger than walls.
These walls fall again
What good are falling walls?

Making stuff.


Making parts of things in the studio, for a few different things…

– tree fort (sideways, glue is drying.), and roof.

– brick box (not a chimney exactly), made of MDF, painted and hand carved brick design embossed on top.

– merry-go-round – will use the lazy susan mechanism there, hopefully I can get it to work as I want to… (why am I always trying to make things so much more complicated than they need to be?)

– a rough start on a “pape and taper” puppet head – that’s the masking tape ball with the dowel through it – (it might turn into Pinnochio with an adjustable nose for a post-puppetcamp collaboration, if I don’t change my mind.)

Р2 sets of puppet hands, one for Pinnochio, one for Nose Man.  These are just wire and tape, still need fleshing out and paper mache.  You can see my little jig for the wire.

January 14th – Part 2


– A group shot from the first run though yesterday, ¬†too bad you can’t see Caleb’s face. –


– Listening to feedback. –


– Rowan and Pete playing music at the party.¬†(I don’t have a Sparkle Pants photo, or I might have posted that instead. ) –

Today was our day off.  I did laundry, went into town to go to the thrift store, had a lovely little nap, and went off to the studio to work on the raven choir, even though it was our day off.  There were actually quite a few people there, building crazy things.

Here’s some progress shots of the ravens:


– Paper Mache raven heads –


– A bad photo of a paper mache raven head with body. –


– Ravens painted black –


– Raven head –

And then today, added some black and white and silver, and some texture with feathers, and a great little fabric scarf I got from the thrift shop.


¬† – Excuse the awkward studio shot- I had just painted the puppets handle, and so couldn’t hold it up for a good photo. ¬†–

Flying Pigs

Flying Pig (Jennifer Akkermans)

Here’s something I did just the other day (see the video). I wish I could manage to be this productive every day. ¬†Or, more days than currently. ¬†It’s been an uphill battle lately. ¬†(I’m at 15 rejections, and my recent health problems have set me back a bit.) Maybe that’s why it’s a flying pig- everything I want to do seems so incredibly daunting right now. ¬†That’s natural, I guess. ¬†Fly, little pig! ¬†Onward and upward!

Anyway, it’s not the most perfect thing I’ve ever made, and if I were to do it again, I’d definitely make some changes, but it did the trick of helping me learn about constructing these kinds of things. ¬†It was a good idea to start simple and build on it, although my ideas are way more complicated than I think I’ll ever have the skill to make. ¬†I’ve been doing a lot of sketching and drawing, trying to capture all the crazy ideas, some of which I hope come to fruition. ¬†This is the time to be thinking ideas, before I know what my technical skill can and probably can’t make- before I design projects to fit my mechanics. ¬†(I’m thinking large, and eventually my little skill saw just might not cut it… pun intended! ¬†Best $35 I’ve ever spent!)

Filmed in my messy studio… of course.

Anyway, building things….. making a mess…. playing again!

More Informational Panels

Recently, I’ve been developing more informational panels. ¬†I now have quite a few- enough for any arrangement I might want for an exhibition, although I do want to develop more. ¬†Next up? Informational panels as games. (But that involves a little more electronics.)

Bacterio Circuit

This is a short video of how the bacterio circuit works, after I finally managed to solder it and keep it working! (The bacterio that many have you have seen was a circuit taped up to a breadboard- yes, I admit it!)

The silver thing right in the middle is a vibration motor, which is also what is making the noise.

Phases of Practice

I seem to be going into an experimentation phase.

Like a lot of artists, I go through phases with my work. ¬† Productive phases (grooves), where everything seems to roll along smoothly, almost pulling me with it, unproductive phases (ruts, like the one I’m finally seeming to get out of), where I’m stalling, and everything in between. ¬†Experimentation phases, where I’m trying a lot of things, but not actually making any finished work, and research phases, where all I seem to do is read and write about ideas and what’s going on in my head.

As you may know, I’ve been having a lot of trouble getting out of a rut in the last few months. ¬†Now, it feels like I’m at least doing stuff, trying things out, ordering a couple different kinds of supplies to play with (such as Arduinos), and at least moving. ¬†I haven’t been able to make any more “finished work” in a while, but that’s natural, I guess. ¬†Now that I’m playing with things again, that will come.

So what have I been doing? ¬†Lots of experiments with the Arduino Uno I bought. Making things blink, playing with servo motors, and making slow progress. ¬†I am no where near being able to do what I want to do with it, but you’ve gotta start with the basics, and then work from there. ¬†I’ve shared a lot of my research in the last few weeks, but not much of the progress I’m making.

Here’s a video of something I’ve been playing with….

You can see the servo in the box in the middle there, and and the blue thing (plugged in with the USB) is my Arduino. It draws it’s power from the computer for now (I need to get it set up with battery power), but the signals that control the servo are coming from the Arduino. You can also see my notes on the blue mock-up, as to how I’ve threaded each of the four legs, varying the movement. I want to try this again, exploring some more options, as the threading has a direct impact on the type of movement in each leg.

In this example, I have the Arduino controlling the servo by time intervals. I have also been playing with sensors to influence the movement, but that will come later.

Anyway, I’m sure there’s some exciting things to come, when I get some of this figured out. ¬†The thing about electronics, is that it’s not like other media- it either works, or it doesn’t, there’s not really any inbetween. It can be really difficult to get things to do what you want, but when you do, it’s SO great!