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Sylvia Olsen's Blog — Carstairs

One more blog post about Custom Woolen Mills (and photos, photos, photos)

Posted by Sylvia Olsen on

Just one more...for now. Saying goodbye...Sylvia, Maddy, Megan, Loralee, Fenn...in front of the bell I lived for a month in a hundred year old bunkhouse—an old wagon that housed the men who ran a threshing mill that moved from farm to farm to complete the harvest in a previous life few of us remember. It was at least 200 yards from the bathroom (I had a little commode). I ate meals and showered in the family home, which is a displaced 19th century train station. If I wasn’t in the house when it was time to eat someone rang a...

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Musings about making art

Posted by Sylvia Olsen on

I am not a photographer...especially selfies I’m over the tension surrounding what to make. I’m half way through my art residency and am fully on my way to finishing my pieces. If I was at home I would have pulled them out and started again and again and again. One of the interesting things about the one-month time frame of my stay at Custom Woolen Mill is that major rethinking and restarting is not an option. Didn't like the red  Pulled out the centre panel of 30 stitches and five rows and inserted brown Designing something safe is also not...

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Museum Display

Posted by Sylvia Olsen on

During my stay at the Woolen Mill my historical display of Coast Salish sweaters will be displayed in the Carstairs Museum—a beautiful, vibrant and relevant place linking culture and history to current interest. Carstairs Alberta, the closest town to Custom Woolen Mills, has a population of just over 4000. It has one major grocery store, one full time and one part time second hand store, one cemetery, six churches, and one main school. By all accounts a typical little prairie town. The display begins with my small collection of old Cowichan sweater    These are two examples of the many...

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Artist in Residence

Posted by Sylvia Olsen on

In the early spring Maddy, from Custom Woolen Mills in Carstairs Alberta, asked if I would like to be artist in residence at the mill. The train station/house at the mill  She said they had a studio where I could stay and work and they would provide the meals and all the wool I could use. There was only one answer.  “Of course.” A dream come true.             The studio and the bunkhouse When we agreed on September I began setting the time aside. Pretty soon it seemed like everything was happening in September. Important...

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Custom Woolen Mills

Posted by Sylvia Olsen on

We visited Custom Woolen Mills in Carstairs on Tuesday. (It’s a bit of a stretch to think it’s in Carstairs. For a BC woman it felt like the mill was dozens of miles out on the prairie in the middle of nowhere. In truth it’s only 20 km off highway 2.) Thanks to Fen and Maddy for the amazing tour. The mill is an Albertan treasure, a Canadian treasure for that matter. Custom Woolen Mills is a collection of ancient industrial revolution equipment operated by modern, forward thinking, environmentally conscious people who produce unique woollen products.   Thank you thank...

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