Kim Stewart

Canadian Métis Artist


Urban Indigenous hide tanning Emily Carr University!

teaching, Traditional IndigenousKim StewartComment

The Aboriginal Gathering Place (APG) at Emily Carr University (ECU) is a real community asset! I enjoyed my week-long residency in this amazing space for students, faculty and staff to connect in community. AGP is a modern studio with high ceilings, roll-up garage door and several zones set up for academic work, studio work, food prep, and relaxation. Post-modern couches mix with drum-inspired side tables next to several staff, alumni and Elder created art pieces. I was blown away by the thoughtful preparations made for me by Brenda Crabtree (Director, Aboriginal Programming), the assistance I received from tool expert and artist Lawrence Lowe, and the ever-attentive Michelle Sound, (Aboriginal Program Assistant) who shared tea from her private stash. Countless students, faculty and staff came by to work alongside me and sneek a peek at hide tanning activities including the stomach-turning concoction of moose brains, sunlight bar soap and lard warmed to perfection on a camp stove, then applied to the hide to soften it. Stories were shared, connections were made and most importantly, endangered traditional knowledge was transferred to the community. It was a challenge and a joy to adapt the traditional, wilderness-y activities of deer hide tanning to an urban environment, one I’d be glad to take on again.

You can read more residency details on the ECU website:

This = That

country living, home life, Learning, metis art, my art, teachingKim StewartComment

Beautiful lacy rounds that I created while in residence at the Banff Centre began as the skin of an animal. I spent the morning getting very wet. I am working with an Elk hide to clean and use it for my art practice. I learned how to tan hides the Native way in 2000 and I continue to practice it. There are many people out there who hunt for meat and some of them bring me the hides for my own use. Many of the parts on a wild ungulate are useful; parts that when made into tools, rawhide or leather will last for generations. When these objects finally wear out they will return to the earth to nourish it in a complete circle of life. So if these old practices are good for the earth, why don't we do them anymore? Are we afraid to get our hands dirty? It is definitely easier to just buy the finished product - but I think purchasing it rather than making it prevents us from:

1) appreciating the labour that goes into making an object 2) realizing the consequences of our purchase on the earth 3) treating the object responsibly, ie: repairing it when it is broken rather than just buying another one.

I believe when we are removed from the labour of making an object, we are not aware of its true cost as retail cost is only represented in dollar signs and numbers and not in the process of making. Forgotten are the physical pain, process and sacrifice required for us to 'have' that object. We also don't associate the finished product with its origin. Some things should not be made from the materials that they are, materials and processes that hurt our environment and our people. Finding our way back to living with a smaller footprint will take practice and sacrifice, but it will be well worth it.

Take an object in your house and collage a 'this = that' photo. I guarantee it will be interesting.

The closing of a chapter

creative motivation, my art, teaching, workKim StewartComment

I have completed the work for my Master's degree over the past weekend. I began this 'project' in 2009 and thought two years looked like a very long stretch in front of me, but like most challenges the time when by quickly. Being incredibly busy helped. I was working full time, going to school every 3rd+ weekend and working on homework during most of my spare time. It was taxing on my family and I want to thank them for all for their amazing support. I am indebted to my knowledgable instructors, Dr. Celeste Snowber, Dr. Lynn Fels, Dr. Indrani Margolin, Dr. Yaroslav Senyshyn, Dr. Carolyn Mamchur and Dr. Vicki Kelly. As an instructor myself, I understand how much you give of yourselves for your students! Without my peers in the cohort, I would be nowhere. Your ability to encourage me kept me going. And finally I would like to praise God who was with me all the way. I will convocate in October and after that weekend I will officially have earn my MEd. Arts Education from Simon Fraser University. I learned so much through deep inquiry, I cannot imagine living any other way. I look forward to living in the beauty that the work has brought into my life. Below are a few samples of the artwork that I was making as research during the last two years. I hope you enjoy...night photo of flower ~image by Kim Woolly Thyme in bloom ~image by Kim altered book - 21st Century Child altered book - 21st Century Child

hunting for credentials

Learning, teaching, workKim Stewart2 Comments

I will feel more comfortable holding my instructor's position at the college once I have earned a Masters degree. I have been thinking about this for a while. Recently there was an ad in the Newspaper that caught the attention of one of my students and she sent the information to me. As a result I'm applying as a student to the Simon Fraser University MEd in Art Education program. It's a community Master's program which will take place in Prince George from September 2009 until Summer 2011. Classes run on the weekends and over the summer which will allow me to continue working at the college. I have been looking for a graduate program that will fit into my budget and family lifestyle. Not only does program do that, it happens to be in an area of keen interest for me. I'm especially interested in Art-Practice as a form of research, studio-based inquiry and connecting the 'Art as Social Practice' movement to traditional aboriginal art. So I am sending thanks out to the student whose name is withheld to protect her identity...(but you know who you are!) as she has applied also. We should know by the end of April if we have been accepted. Until then, I  hold my breath.

Kid's Self Portraits

home life, my opinions, teachingKim Stewart5 Comments

aleccombo ambercombo

I meant to post these during the summer, but other things got in the way. These self-portraits were drawn by my kids during week long art lessons with Mom. It was interesting to see the progression.  I am not sure if my lessons made an improvement to their drawings or not. They progress from left to right with the left one being the drawing they made on their own, without my guidance.

watch the birdie?

my art, teachingKim Stewart1 Comment

Animated drawing of a birds nest I thought I would let you in on the drawing process from my point of view. I have been experimenting with ways to document artistic process. This '.gif ' image cycles through several stages of a drawing I did using an effective new pastel product called PanPastel in combination with graphite.


my opinions, teachingKim Stewart3 Comments

Today is the first day of the new semester. It always feels like a fresh start at the beginning of each term. I thought I was ready for this week, but I keep finding little tasks that I have forgotten. I think I will make myself a pre-semester check list for next time. It became difficult to stay organized when I took on a full course load. I now have 3 sets of students in two separate programs, 4 courses, and one 'team-teach' course. There is a lot to organize. Last semester I had over 150 computer files handed in to me just for 'one' assignment in one class. These courses are complicated to teach as they deal with creative software that is constantly changing. Last semester I taught students to use 6 different pieces of software, digital cameras, scanners, lighting kits, and 5 different drawing and painting styles. I marked 279 assignments, facilitated 163 critiques, gave 35 lectures and tallied 36 final grades. The number of meals I made at home were.... ha! I had you going, didn't I? I think it would be interesting to keep statistics at home as well as work. Then when you ask yourself, "Where did the time go?" You will be able to answer yourself accurately. In the meantime, I started this semester with 1 lecture as of today...have a great new year!


home life, my opinions, teachingKim Stewart2 Comments

It feels so good to reach the end of something that you have worked so hard at. The fall semester is finished at the College where I teach. I have submitted final marks for students, if you are reading this, breath easy, you all passed. Excellent work and I am looking forward to the learning we will do next semester. It it will be like a fresh field of snow. In the meantime I am going to rest, spend time with my kids, play, eat...maybe too much, and enjoy the many Blessings that are in my life! Shalom, peace to all over the holidays!

The Path of Least Resistance

creative motivation, faith and spirituality, teachingKim Stewart3 Comments


It is Sunday. A day of work for me. I keep Saturday as a day of rest (see commandment #4 in the 10 commandments). My whole family does, therefore Sunday becomes a day of work for us. Typically I spend Sundays planning the next week of teaching. I have 4 classes to plan for, 3 in New Media: Multimedia (2nd year course), Intro to the Web (1st year course), Illustration (1st year course), and 1 in Fine Art: First Nations Art and Technology (1st year course).  Most of the classes have a digital element using software of various  persuasions and the lesson plans must be  updated every 6 months to a year to keep up with changes in the industry. Just that alone can make a person insane! A seasoned teacher of Fine Art at the high school level gave me this advice: " Don't try to keep up with the software, you'll never do it! Just structure your classes as a series of problems to be solved, the software being one of the tools used." I knew this, I used it all the time when homeschooling, but somehow I did not transfer the technique directly to my digital classes. I gave out problem solving assignments, but still thought I had to be the software guru as well. The students expect it, but realistically they will not have access to me at home, or after graduation, so they might as well start solving these problems on their own, right now. Perhaps human nature can be compared to water, if not challenged, it will take the path of least resistance.


teaching, workKim StewartComment

are those choices that I am not good at making. I have an opportunity to teach an extra class at the College of New Caledonia this fall in the New Media Program, "Web I". The problem is that I am a bit rusty with my HTML. Oh, I could brush up over the summer you say, yes, that is true, but then I also had other projects in the making for the summer. It would be good for me to do this because I would use the creation of my own website as the guinea pig to refresh me. I would make more money in the fall, I would enjoy being with the students, but my shoulder would hurt from the extra use. That repetitive strain injury always returns if I spend too much time on the machine. What to do?

waste not...

artists worth noting, my opinions, teachingKim StewartComment

One of the assignments I had the 'Design History' students work on this semester yielded some interesting results. They were to find and present a controversial art or Design piece. That is where I was introduced to the Cloaca Machine. Created by Belgian conceptual artist Wim Delvoye, this machine can be fed like a human, it then produces waste like a human which Wim packages and sells investment shares in. Yep, if you are an art collector, you can invest in sh*t art'. What a comment on the whole pretentious art collecting scene! Apparently the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has one; and Wim has been successful in selling shares. You know what they say, 'do what you love and the money will come'.

think of yourself as a coach?

creative motivation, teachingKim StewartComment

Idea #18 from the mini handbook How to Improve Student Learning* tells me I need to do this. It also tells me to be sure the students are performing for me and not the other way around. How many times have I felt like I was performing? I remember my first try at teaching adults. I was asked to present on using the internet to disseminate research information for a forestry grad class at UNBC. The students sat there looking at me with sleepy eyes. No matter what I said or did up front, I failed to impress them. Several of them began a 'wave' of yawning that knew no end. A couple of people folded up their books and replaced them in their backpacks. As Idea #18 says, I should have 'blown the whistle', I needed to 'coach', rather than to 'impart imformation'. I have since applied this to my teaching. Now, if only I could apply it to my parenting.

*How to Improve Student Learning, Dr. Richard Paul, and Dr. Linda Elder, published by The Foundation for Critical Thinking

MFA the new MBA...

teachingKim StewartComment

Or so says the Harvard Business Review (February, 2004), Daniel H. Pink, who claims that "an arts degree is now perhaps the hottest credential in the world of business." This is exciting news to me, even though it is potentially 2 years old. I guess it takes that long for revelation to travel all the way to Prince George. September 2006, Frieze magazine discusses the demand for interdisciplinary studies to feed the creative economies. This is in action at IDEO who designs,'products, services, environments and experiences'. Its employees work in interdisciplinary teams whose collaborative ideas and 'stimulating creative hybrids'(frieze,The Art Market, R. Jones)are the natural order of business. Innovation is a desired skill!

I think I'll be going ahead with my decision to pursue a MFA(MAster of Fine Arts)at Emily Carr College of Art and Design. It will require that institute to accept my 'interdisciplinary' background of post-secondary and experience on par with a Bachelor's Degree. After reviewing their site on Prior Learning Assessment, I think it can be done, but it'll be a long haul. None the less, "Art is making something out of nothing and selling it." according to Frank Zappa, and that is what I intend to do.

attendance is essential

teachingKim StewartComment

if you are going to succeed. I repeated that phrase several times yesterday to the fresh and enthusiastic faces in my New Media Illustration class. At first it seemed like any other piece of advice offered by a knowing individual...something to quickly blow off, however, as I think about it this morning, this phrase may offer something more tangible. How many times have you gone through your day performing a series of automated responses? "Today is the same as yesterday and it will be the same for tomorrow." you might think. We are not really present in some (or all) of our daily tasks, but attendance is essential! We need to be present, in the moment while we go through our day in order to succeed. And I think this applies to everything we do whether it is bagging groceries or running the corporation. All have a dream, but none will ever succeed unless they have habitually applied discipline to whatever task they are currently engaged in! Making it a daily habit builds confidence and the ability to follow through.
Rick Bartow,
an established, contemporary First Nations Artist says that it is not a matter of talent and inspiration that has given him success, but rather logging the hours in the studio. He goes every day and applies himself, whether he feels inspired to do it, or not. Marshall Arisman, Illustrator says, "Artists will never be satisfied, and anyone who tries to satisfy them is a fool." If you can substitute your name in the above statement, then all the more important is attendance for you. Know one else is responsible for your happiness and success...only you.


teachingKim StewartComment

yes, it is the usual kaos before classes start at the College, or perhaps a bit more than usual. The New Media program has been revamped and is starting again this Sept. with new equipment and curriculum. I am teaching the Illustration course, plus I'll be team teaching a Fine Arts class "How to make a living as an Artist." I am trying to keep my own stress level down to where I can manage it, but honestly, I think the instructors get more excited than the students at the beginning of a semester. Being around several of them the last couple of days has definitely got me worked up. Classes start next week for all. My kids had a great summer and are not sure they want to back yet. Maybe they are not looking forward to waking up at 6am every morning to catch the bus. I'm sure not.