Tag Archives: sculpture

2014 – My Year of Gentle ‘Making’

"Decision" ©2013 Janice Tanton. Ceramic red clay, fired, glazed.

“Decision” ©2013 Janice Tanton. Ceramic red clay, fired, glazed.

The past few days have been very reflective. I’m so grateful to be cancer-free right now, (even if I’m not pain-free yet! Argh.)  On December 6th, just two days after signing on with Canada House Gallery, I had a second mastectomy and all pathology reports came back clear.

Compared to this time last year, I feel much less panic and despair. It’s kind of sad to look back at what we all went through and yet there is a certain sense of triumph in this reflection today. I have met new friends, seen old ones fall by the wayside, created new works, cried, laughed, thrown away lots of uglies, found beautiful new things in life, learned how to throw on a wheel, and I’ve learned how to receive and trust, to wait and to balance. All of those are in many ways, just a string of decisions.

While I know it’s a stretch to talk about illness as a gift when it exists also as a trauma to family and self, looking at the good things in our lives is what has brought us through.

I’m so grateful to my adopted Blackfoot family and community, the Elders, the traditional medicines, prayers are paramount in my wellness. The Big Smoke at The Banff Centre was beyond words for all of our family. I feel more a part of this community, learning new things every day, than I ever have before and I cannot ever thank you all enough for your ongoing welcoming of our family. Grandpa Tom has been with us from the first day of diagnosis, and Auntie Charlene CraneBear and Leah Bear Chief’s inspirational, positive postings each and every day on Facebook were things that lifted me when I was alone and quiet.

I’m thankful for the beautiful family I have – my brothers and sisters-in-law, Kim, Ulla, David and Douglas. I’m so proud of the work they do in this world and that every week, I get a call from Doug, no matter where he is in the world and what he’s doing to help others on this planet. Without my brother David’s help in the last residency at The Banff Centre, I wouldn’t have been able to express myself in paint in such magnitude…and that kept my spirits lifted in a year without painting.

My mom and dad just happened to fly into town on the day that I had the mammogram that diagnosed the disaster for our year ahead. It was a sorrowful, difficult Christmas last year, but they have been there to support us from day one, even when my Dad had a heart attack in the spring. We simply could not make it without you.

I’m proud of my children and my husband who have nursed me through everything. It’s not been an easy year, and they have seen the ugliest side of it all, without complaining – they just kept helping and assuring me that I would get well, even when I didn’t believe it. Thank you Benjamin, Kevin, Jacob and Grace.

Kevin especially – you’ve held us all together like a rock this past year. You’re exhausted, I know it… I hope this year if full of rest, rejuvenation and sleep after this wicked marathon.

2014, I hope will be my “Year of Gentle Making”. I have a few things planned, but not set in stone to reflect artfully upon my experience. With a few more prayers, rest and recovery I hope soon to be back in the studio in a meaningful way. My wish is for everyone to take some time for themselves, to be in good health, keeping your mind and heart open and to have as much time with your family and friends as you possibly can. Everything else can wait.


Related Posts:

Warrior Boobs ON!! I Have Cancer

The Show Must Go On :: When Health and a Busy Art Career Collide

Post Surgical Sketches

Getting Your Hands Dirty – Stay Forever Young, Artist!

Grace works her flower petals.

Grace works her flower petals.

Today has been a fun time, and I have my awesome daughter to thank for that. I was already to try and do a little painting again today, but to tell you the truth, the arm has taken a kicking this week and it’s a struggle just to hold onto the brush. Grace thought it would be fun to do something with clay. Internally, I groaned, thinking…oh dear ….what a mess this is going to be to clean up. Then I thought, well why the heck not? So, we cleared off the kitchen table, put the plastic down and got dirty!

It was a ton of fun, and therapeutic in so many ways. I got to play….and feel the spirit of a young, enthusiastic, loving gal :: just what every artist needs! Getting your hands on a different medium than what you are used to is GREAT for the soul. I had no expectations, and I admit the first thought I had was, “I’ll make a little pot with the coil method.” DUH…heck no. I let that go and just started playing around with the clay, watching how excited Grace was and how SURE she was about making a flower, a lily pad and a frog. Here they are:

Grace's frog, lily pad and flower.

Grace’s frog, lily pad and flower. Oh my.

I am so amazed at the creativity of an eight year old. My messy bust pales in comparison! Grace, you’re my idol.

Clay busts

Our messy fun today.

Slowly, this fellah emerged. I haven’t finished it, but it’s been awfully fun messing around, and much easier on my arm today. Yippee….thanks for making me get dirty Grace. I have so much to learn from you….wait…I’m coming…teach me so more!!!!


FOREVER YOUNG  – The Lyrical Poetry of Life and Living

My favourite version of “Forever Young” by Bob Dylan is sung by Audra Mae & The Forest Rangers, as part of the “Sons of Anarchy” TV series. So beautifully sung, I dedicate this to my daughter and every working artist in the world, wishing her (and you) everything in this lyrical, beautiful song:


Forever Young…

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.


ART :: What is it?

Temporary Installation: "CAMP - Land Claim" over "The Big Head" in Canmore, AB.

Temporary Installation: “CAMP – Land Claim” over “The Big Head” in Canmore, AB.

The beauty of art to me, is it’s many faces.


















Temporary Installation: "CAMP - Land Claim" over "The Big Head" in Canmore, AB.

Temporary Installation: “CAMP – Land Claim” over “The Big Head” in Canmore, AB.



How To Make Small Wire Armatures for Sculpture Projects

Here, I’m going to teach you how to make small wire sculpture armatures that you can use for sculpture, stop motion animation, school projects or just to create fun, posable figures.

Possessing a  number of different tools and skills in your bag as an artist allows you to find different forms of expression for your ideas. One of the things I love doing is to create sculptural works.

In order to have a strong and expressive sculpture, the “bones” of a good armature are necessary. Here are the instructions and material requirements to how make small (approx 8-9″) armatures for the human form.


1/16″ gauge aluminum sculpture wire – 1 piece – 44″ long and 1 piece 5″ long.

Enjoy! Let me know what you make. I’d be thrilled to share photos of your work here on the blog, so please send them to me.