Wild Wonder 2021 is over for the year. Kudos to the organizers, volunteers and tech people who kept the ball rolling. It was a huge success from my viewpoint as a student. Wild Wonder was actually a 7 day conference, but I only attended the last 5 days. I didn’t realize I could go to the teacher conference as well. Oh well. Next year!
I really enjoyed the variety of approaches taken and taught by the various teachers this year – whether they were artists, scientists, writers, or real life teachers. They had an incredible wealth of knowledge to share, and they did. I’m sure we only scratched the surface on many topics, and I look forward to following the posted links in the days and weeks ahead. Thanks everyone! The classes were fabulous!
I enjoyed the keynote speakers, the virtual field trips, and the presentations. The event kicked off with John Muir Laws interviewing Tony Foster of The Foster. Tony Foster is an interesting man who has painted in some of the roughest terrain on Earth. It was an excellent interview.
Keynote speakers included: Dr. Nooshin Razani, Fiona Gillogly and John Muir Laws, Richard Louv, Dr. Drew Lanham and Jane Kim. I had to back out of one and couldn’t finish another due to being overtired. The ones I heard were fascinating talks. Dr. Razani spoke about the impact of nature on our health and accessibility as it relates to socio-economic factors.
My key take-away from Fiona and John Nuir Laws’ joint keynote address was how to ask questions in your nature journal. Fiona’s Question Chains are phenomenal! I only watched part of this talk as I was too tired to finish it. John Muir Laws talked about the difference between ecosystem, community and habitat. He suggested we add ecology, or relationships to our nature journals.
I had to skip Richard Louv because this tired old body needed rest! I’ll watch the video later.
Dr. Drew Lanham was an excellent speaker! Very personable, and quotable. He spoke about how he came to love nature, his mentors along the way, and paying attention to the details in life. He talked about journals as a release, for healing and helping you sort your place in things and events out.
When John Muir Laws asked how the nature journaling community could be more inclusive, he talked about “the first protest of the day” – “when you wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and decide to do something different to make things different.” He said if you see an injustice, don’t just look – speak up and say something. Do something to change it.
His definition of conservation? “Conservation is caring enough about something intensely, other than yourself, that you will save it in abundance for someone you don’t know
The last keynote speaker, Jane Kim, spearheads InkDwell. She is a large scale nature journaler, painting nature murals on walls and sides of buildings in public and private hands. Her work is amazing!
I must admit I was really taken by the virtual field trips to Death Valley with Ryan Petterson and Coastal Alaska with Kim McNett. I will be rewatching those and doing some nature journaling.
I had to back out of a lot of the social times I’d originally signed up for simply because of the time difference (I had to eat!) and my lack of stamina (I had to sleep!). The conference emanates from California, USA. That made for late nights for me on the East Coast. At first I wasn’t sure if I had access to the class videos after the conference, but it turns out all attendees do. I’ll be making use of them in the future.
The quality of my drawings went down significantly during this conference because I was trying to make notes and draw at the same time. I also had very limited time to draw. At first I was frustrated, but then I realized if I were out in nature there wouldn’t be much time to get images down on paper either! After that I simply considered it good practice. Here are some of my scribblings. Forgive bad composition and very rough drawings. There were a lot of 10 second contour drawings!
It’s that time of year again! We were out and about for Father’s Day. Hubby and I drove to the Noel Shore along the Minas Basin of Nova Scotia. It was a beautiful warm day. We stopped at the Walton Lighthouse and walked up to the Lookout.
The plan was for me to nature journal, but I just wasn’t feeling it. Instead I went through my new pens and pencil crayons and made swatches on my sketchbook page so I know what they look like on paper. It was a useful exercise and needed preparation for the Wild Wonder conference coming up.
Today I did actual nature journaling. I sat on the deck and drew/painted one of my pots of strawberries. Our neighbour was out doing yard work and I was feeling incredibly slothful. I got up and did some yard work as well. This afternoon Hubby went on another bicycle ride, so I took the opportunity to watch a Marley Peifer YouTube video on nature journaling and journal alongside him. The subject was a Pink Tarantula molt.
This week will be taken up by the Wild Wonder conference. I do not expect to have time to post Friday. I will catch up with everyone on Monday or Tuesday of next week.
If you have been, thanks for reading! Have a great week everyone!
Yesterday we were on the road most of the day. In the morning we dealt with gardening supplies, plants and coordinating someone to come look at the property. In the afternoon we had fun.
We decided to drive the South Shore as far as Queensland Beach yesterday. We stopped in at the Red Wagon Art Studio in Hammonds Plains. They had a lot of excellent quality art supplies for a reasonable price, and Amy, one of the proprietors, was more than willing to show me around. They offer curbside shopping as well as shipping. I am keeping them in mind.
We also stopped at the Bike & Bean Café in French Village. Mind you, we actually trotted next door to Cavicchi’s for ice-cream! The Bike & Bean Café is in front of the Rumrunner’s Trail. The trail literally runs behind their back door. Hubby is an avid cyclist and wants to bike that trail soon.
Next stop was the Hooked Rug Museum of North America. I was there the day before they opened again, having closed it due to Covid. However, the marketplace was open for business! I had a look around and purchased some lovely recycled plaids. Then chatted up Sharon and Taylor out front.
Sharon was busy creating the new email about the finishing class coming up mid-September. There is a limit of fifteen spaces. I hope to be one of them, but it depends on a lot of things. I also heard about the “Rid the Winter Blues Hooking Retreat” in Rothesay, N.B. It’s an interesting idea and, depending on our home situation, I might take part.
Taylor was showing me her hooking and we chatted about the AirBnB she rents out. It’s full for most of the summer, but into the fall there are longer openings. It’s a reasonable price at $100CAD/night and two bedrooms – one with a queen bed and one a double. It’s on the coast near Blandford, N.S. It looks like an ideal spot for an artist retreat!
I reluctantly left the museum to head for the beach. The beach was a bit of a disappointment. The tide was in, it was crowded, and no one seemed to be following the keep six feet away rule. So we headed to a picnic table nearby, had a bite to eat, took photos of the ocean, and headed home.
Despite the disappointment of the beach it was a beautiful day! In the evening we set to work in our yard, weeding a flower bed, turning up the dirt, tidying up. Next up is to plant the annuals we bought and add mulch. Today’s job. Hopefully it will be finished by the time the rain comes this evening.
If you have been, thanks for reading! Have a lovely weekend everyone!
I missed writing a blog post for yesterday! Sorry to leave my readers hanging for a day or so. My blog writing was delayed. More details below.
In the rug hooking arena, “Dancing Tree” found a new home! I sincerely hope it gives joy and puts a smile on the face of the new owner for many years to come.
I haven’t progressed any further on “Gyeongju” or “Time” due to upcoming renovations. We picked up the last of the kitchen cabinets last week. This weekend and Monday we shopped for flooring and countertops. Mission accomplished! Everything should be on site in two weeks. The guy removing our old kitchen and installing the new is thinking it will be four weeks before he gets to us. However, we have a planning meeting with him coming up.
But before the kitchen renovation we have a front and side yard overhaul happening! So if I’m a little scarce on here and don’t have much rug hooking to talk about, forgive me!
We are also talking about culling trees on the property. We have a lot of mature trees between us and the neighbours. But that and planting a new perennial bed between us and them won’t happen until late August into early September.
While I’ve been negligent on the rug hooking front, I’ve been busy preparing for the nature journaling conference, Wild Wonder. It takes place next weekend. It starts at noon Atlantic Time on the 23rd and continues through to 1:30 AM Atlantic Time on Monday, the 28th. It will be 13 1/2 hour days. Friends and family are taking bets how long I’ll last. That’s a lot of Zoom time for me and a lot of sitting. I will definitely be talking advantage of breaks to stretch and exercise.
I am also planning to squeeze an artist retreat in between the lawn renewal and the kitchen renovation. So June and July will be busy.
Well, if you have been, thanks for reading! I’ll keep you posted on the renovations AND any rug hooking. Have a great week everyone!
Good morning everyone! I had a successful week in the rug hooking department this week. I finally steamed, blocked and hemmed “Gyeongju”. I still have to create a hanging system for it. I have all the stuff to do it. I just have to make the time to do it.
I’m also finishing up “Time”. I’m currently embroidering rust coloured flowers up vines on the hourglass. I would like to be finished by next Friday.
In other news The rest of our kitchen cabinets finally came from IKEA. It’s been a long haul, taking four months to receive it all. Now we are shopping for countertop and flooring.
The landscaper emailed to let me know they’re coming next week mid-week to rip out our old lawn before putting in new. The City has yet to raise the height of the water shutoff valve. I’m putting off the kitchen until the yard is finished.
I’ve been busy preparing for the Wild Wonder conference on nature journaling. It runs from June 23 – 27. It will be 14 hour days for me. From noon our time to 2:30 AM. That is going to be tough. I may not make the midnight to 2:30 AM session. The sessions all sound wonderful, so I signed up for every single one. I am going to be tired, busy and hopefully happy. At the very least, satisfied! The cost for me was $95US.
This weekend I’m looking forward to yard work. We need to do more weeding. I’m also looking forward to at least one evening of company for supper and games, if they are available.
If you have been, thanks for reading. I hope you all have a great weekend!
I have to start this post out with a correction. Apparently the driving force behind International Nature Journaling Week is Bethan Burton – a nature journalist from Australia. The week was made possible by numerous volunteers. Today is the last day of Zoom classes. It was such a wonderful experience it motivated me to sign up for Wild Wonder. Wild Wonder is a nature journaling conference that runs between June 23rd and 27th. It will be twelve hour days for me, so I will, in all probability, not be posting to my blog until it’s over.
I am planning an artist retreat for a few days in July, and another for September – both by the ocean. When the Atlantic Bubble opens up again, I hope to spend some time in Prince Edward Island and maybe New Brunswick as well.
I finished hooking “Gyeongju”! I have one circle I want to fiddle with a bit, but otherwise it’s ready for pressing and blocking. I am waiting for lockdown to lift one step further before heading into a lumber store for the piece of trim needed to hang it. Next up is finishing the embellishments on “Time”. I have a bit of embroidery to do and that should be it.
I received an email about In The Studio’s Workshop Week 3 this past week. I am only taking one class this time. I took too many last time. They were all good, but I just found it overwhelming. I really only have time for one class. Workshop Week 3 happens the end of October. You can access more information on karendmiller.com .
If you have been, thanks for reading. Have a great week everyone!
Good morning everyone! I’m right in the middle of International Nature Journalling Week put on by Bethan Burton and friends. It’s quite good. It’s free, but there has been a request for donations. It’s seven days long with two sessions per day. I’ll have to miss a couple of sessions due to previous commitments, but overall I’ll be able to get the flavour of the week.
In other news, we spent the week in the yard. It’s been the first decent week of weather for planting since last spring. I took advantage of the situation. All our seedlings are in the ground, and a good deal of seeds.
I’m having incredible luck with growing from seeds down here! Everything seems to grow! I gave a third of my tomato plants to one friend, and another third to another friend. Same with pepper and oregano plants. I still had twelve tomato plants of three different varieties to plant! I had six or seven pepper plants of three different varieties. Plus, leeks, onions, peas, Swiss chard, kale, two kinds of beets, radishes, lettuce, squash, zucchini, cucumber, turnip, carrots, and much more.
My pots and raised beds are going to be overflowing. We had too many tomato plants, so we planted them and the remaining marigolds in the perennial bed. We’ll see how they do in the part shade.
The weather has been gorgeous, for the most part. I’m spending a fair bit of time on the deck, relaxing. When I’m not pulling weeds. We have a severe goutweed problem here. So we’re busy dealing with that. We back onto a Municipal green space that has become infested. It’s spreading into our flower beds.
Well, if you have been, thanks for reading! Have a great weekend everyone!
This weekend I pulled weeds, finished preparing the alpaca yarn for sale, and pulled more weeds. Hubby and I had several serious conversations about the yard. Something has to be done sooner rather than later. We have a major goutweed (aka Bishop’s weed) infestation happening.
Our new mat for the deck gazebo came Saturday. It’s gorgeous and it’s from Costco. It was a very good deal. We are pleased to have a nice place to read, rug hook and spin on the deck out of the sun.
Plans for this week include more weed pulling. But also more creative work. I want to get “Gyeongju” finished and off my frame. I also want it steamed and blocked. I’m stuck on hemming until I can either have my serger repaired or get to someone else’s serger to do the job. Right now no one is going anywhere due to Covid lockdown.
I’ve been playing around with the project management app, Trello, and one thing it shows me clearly is how many of my projects are stuck because of lockdown. We aren’t supposed to go out except for essentials, and even then only one person is to go. That’s Hubby. I can’t call repairing a serger or buying supplies for a hanging system essential. And I certainly wouldn’t want Hubby to handle those transactions on his own. So…I can go so far with “Gyeongju” and then I wait…
I am also hoping to enter all my projects into Trello to see how many years of work I have ahead of me. I need to break it down into a reasonable workload.
Well, if you have been reading, thanks! I hope you have a good week. Take care everyone, and stay safe.
I’m trying out Trello project management app due to a reader’s comment not long ago. I have mixed feelings. I like it for breaking big projects down into smaller steps and creating a daily to do list. But I find it difficult to get a good global overview. I haven’t decided if that’s good or bad. Sometimes a global overview can be overwhelming and freeze you up. Other times it can show you where duplication is happening.
I’ve used mind maps since 1993. I’m used to them. But I think that’s part of the problem with me assessing Trello – I’m biased. So I’m going to keep experimenting with both and see if one works better than the other. I’m using SimpleMind for mind mapping…the paid version. It may be they complement each other. I don’t know. I have to play with Trello more.
In other news, I discovered a new website this week for budding artists and experienced alike. Check out Jeanne Oliver’s website. There are free courses, self study courses and actual paid classes I notice Deanne Fitzpatrick has a class being offered there as well. Lots to work with. I plan on exploring some.
I’ve been reading a new-to-me book called “Desire to Inspire” by Christine Mason Miller. It is a book on various artists with creative exercises in it to help you use your “creative passion to transform the world “. I’m on chapter two. I’ll let you know how it goes.
I’m still hooking on the border of “Gyeongju”. It’s a lot bigger than I thought, but it’s looking good! I figure I have two more hours of hooking to do and it will be finished!
I processed (or finished) some hand spun alpaca yarn for knitting. It’s hanging to dry as I write.
I attended a free nature journaling lecture via Zoom yesterday afternoon. It was hosted by John Muir Laws. It was about flower and leaf configurations. In it I found out the first week of June is International Nature Journalling Week. John’s website offers a series of Zoom workshops for free or donation (as you are able) during the week. I’m debating taking some. It depends on my time.
There is also a nature journaling conference called Wild Wonder June 23-27th. That is a paid event. More information can be found on John’s website.
If you have been, thanks for reading! Enjoy your weekend!
This weekend was spent rug hooking, talking with family, sewing a doll outfit and gardening.
I also sent an email to the photographer whose photos I am using as a base for some of my nature journaling. I wanted to make sure he knew I was using his photos and how. He was okay with it. His name is John Phillips. He’s a Nova Scotia photographer. Check out his website here!
I hooked more on “Gyeongju”. I have one quarter of the border left to do – about four to five hours work. I’m looking forward to finishing.
My doll now has a new sailor dress outfit. This is my childhood doll and I’ve been meaning to sew her a new outfit for years. I never really prioritized it though. But Saturday was the day. I sewed the hat, dress and panties. The hat looks big, but actually just fits the back of the head.
My niece looked at it and commented the doll looked scary. Lol! Poor doll is over 55 years old and missing a few eyelashes and a pinkie finger. The missing lashes and discoloured face from age definitely give it a different look! Lol!
This week I am pushing to finish hooking “Gyeongju” and blocking it. I am also transplanting plants into pots for the deck garden. I have extra plants to unload on friends. I have a couple friends lined up already.
If you have been, thanks for reading. I hope you have a great week!
This week was a week of moving forward on various projects.
I finished spinning an alpaca fibre I acquired from a lady out in Regina, Saskatchewan many years ago (thank-you Sharon!). It’s a beautiful soft yarn, and I haven’t processed it yet! This yarn will be used for knitting.
In the process of cleaning up my studio last week I found my old doll. It’s over 50 years old! It needs new clothes. I believe the last time I sewed for her was in the 1980s, and it was just a pajama top and panties set. This time she’s going to sport a coordinating sailor dress, panties and bonnet in various patterns of hot pink! The sewing pattern is decided and cut. Today I plan to do some sewing.
In the rug hooking arena I dyed more purple wool fabric to finish hooking the border on “Gyeongju”. I figure I have 6-8 hours of hooking left to do. Then it’s onto blocking and hemming the edges. I have to decide what kind of hanging system to use with it. It’s a pretty heavy piece, so I may take the time to make a full museum quality hanging system.
What’s that? You ask?
Well, I take a strip of thin wood (check out the trim section of your lumber store), cut it to length, and shellac it. Then I staple hook and loop tape to it – the hook side. I sew the loop side to the top of the rug. I drill a couple of holes either end of the trim…right through the hook and loop tape. I screw it to the wall where I want to hang the piece, making sure it’s level. Then I just push the loop part of the tape onto the hook part, making fine adjustments as I go to make sure the rug is hanging level.
It is a time consuming way to hang a rug, and is not cheap. But it’s the best system I’ve seen for big heavy rugs like mine in the long run.
Well, if you have been, thanks for reading! Have a great weekend everyone!
Good morning everyone! The weather was lovely this past weekend. I confess I didn’t do much creative. Instead Hubby and I spent it in the yard preparing for summer.
We had garden soil delivered on Friday. In our marriage I have the know how, having taken some courses and had some experience with gardening, and Hubby is the brawn, having a strong heart and back. He also has experience in the gardening arena. So I was able to look over the four different types of soil we had, give him directions for mixing them appropriately, and help fill containers.
The first container he filled was a long, narrow raised bed we built a couple weekends ago. We built it with lumber we traded for with a neighbour. The neighbour had some lovely 2x8s and 4x4s. We had fresh cedar from a tree we had to have cut down because it was growing in power lines. Fair trade! The planter was filled Friday and planted.
Saturday was another nice day. Hubby put together the second Adirondack chair.
Sunday we were busy. We put up the gazebo in the morning, and put the deck furniture in it. Then, in the afternoon, we took all the soil out of the 12+ pots, loosened up root balls of various plants that were growing, and added soil to top up and refresh the pots. I’m surprised and happy to report that mint, strawberries, oregano, tarragon, and lavender, and more have all come back up this year!
Hubby rewarded himself for a job well done by going on a bicycle ride. I enjoyed the deck with a cup of tea. Aaaah! I can feel summer coming now! Next weekend I hope to plant the rest of the containers. For now, I feel the urge to set up my rug hooking on the deck!
If you have been, thanks for reading! Talk to you all later. Have a great week everyone!
Hi everyone! This past week has been a busy week spent trying to get my studio in order. It was much worse than I thought! We had initially bought furniture to fit the space as measured by a laser measure. Well the laser measure was wrong – it was out by 1-2 feet. So I had furniture positioned at right angles going into the room. But this week I took another look. I measured the room again and drew up an “as is” plan.
Then I took some photos to post online for some of my friends and see what could be done. Here’s the job half done on Wednesday.
I posted a video for some online friends to give input on the situation and decided to measure up furniture to see what could be done.
In the end Hubby came down and moved some boxes of scrapbook memorabilia and old journals upstairs for me to sort through later. I still have wall hangings I’d like to hang on the wall, mending to do, a project box to sort, and a doll to dress! But first I have to sew her clothes! Here is a video of where I’m currently at with the studio.
If you have been, thanks for reading! Have a lovely weekend everyone!
So for those of you who don’t know, all of Nova Scotia (where we live) has been placed in lockdown. We’re talking a super tight, don’t go out of your house unless you have to, lockdown. One person per household is allowed out to buy essentials – food, gas and medications – and it has to be the same individual throughout lockdown. We are allowed to walk, masked and socially distanced. If we’re a 1-2 person household, we can team up with another 1-2 person household and keep them in our bubble. When we do go shopping for groceries, gas or meds, we are not supposed to leave our community. It’s a bit stressful here right now.
So…our soil delivery for our newly made raised bed was canceled. The greenhouse staff called and said maybe next week, maybe not until the end of May. So much for my early spring crop. But it is what it is, and people need to stay safe!
Instead of focusing on the outdoors, which is hard to do anyways with all the rain forecast, I decided to focus on indoors. Saturday I spent all day picking up my studio. It was a mess! It still has a lot of extra stuff in it that needs culling and putting away, but it’s better than before. I made an eight minute video of the current state of my studio here. It’s middling. There’s still a lot to do in there. However there is progress. Last year this time we were dealing with this.
I also took time to do a quick two minute video of my nature journal. It can be found here. I hope to work on sketching some flowers I received for Mother’s Day. I’m also contemplating a Great Blue Heron page for my nature journal.
Today I’m sitting down with my hook and working on “Gyeongju”. I am also doing paperwork for my business.
If you have been, thanks for reading. Have a great week!
It’s been a busy week for me. In between rug hooking, yard cleanup, sewing and gardening, there’s also been nature journaling. I’m really enjoying learning more about observing and recording nature, even though I struggle with the scientific end of it…primarily thinking of questions to ask about my observations. But, the drawing practice is invaluable!
I spent some time watching YouTube videos by John Muir Laws on nature journaling. He uses coloured pencils outdoors. Because I’ve been working from photographs indoors, I’ve been using watercolours. You can use either in either location. But I’m thinking I could use a greater variety of journals, at a more affordable price, if I learned to use coloured pencils properly. So I put an order into Michaels craft store for curbside pickup of a few pencils and a case to hold them.
Here are more watercolour pages in my nature journal.
In other news, I finally finished the last project for the L.L. Bean shirts that belonged to my dad when he passed away three years ago. Dad loved L.L. Bean clothes – their shirts in particular. He had white hair and blue eyes. He could wear just about any colour, and did! The bright orange nylon one became a cushion cover for his widow. The rest I took and sewed into various projects – one for each descendant. You can find “The Shirt Project” video here .
While all of the projects but one were finished within a few months of Dad’s death, one project in particular was vexing. One of my nephews wanted a knife sheath for a jackknife. The shirts just aren’t built for that. But I happened to have some tanned moose hide, so thought I’d try. Then we had to focus on moving. It wasn’t till last fall that I picked up the project again. I broke many needles and couldn’t sew the moose hide on my home machine, even with leather needles. So, after consultation with my nephew, I sewed this alternative gift. Here’s the final project for my last nephew.
Hubby and I also put together a raised garden bed to run along the side of our raised deck. We traded our deformed cedar we had to have cut down (it was growing in power lines) for some milled lumber leftover from a neighbour.
We also put together a Muskoka Bear chair, which is really a type of Adirondack chair. Hubby is working on the matching chair now. It came in pieces. Hubby sanded it, painted it and assembled it. The colour is Aruba Blue by Benjamin Moore, and I just love it!
Well, if you have been, thanks for reading! I hope you all have a wonderful, productive weekend. Take care.
So after Friday’s post on “How do you decide what to do next?”, I decided it was time to review my Someday Maybe list. The Someday Maybe list is actually the brain child of David Allen – author of “Getting Things Done”. My list is actually two mind maps. One is for just rug hooking and business related activities, and the other is for the rest of my life.
I’ve written about mind maps before. Invented by Tony Buzan, they are basically a visual representation of ideas linked together by lines emanating from a central theme or topic. Google “mind maps” and you’ll find lots of examples.
I like to use mind maps for my Someday Maybe projects/ideas because sometimes things intertwine and you can do two things at once…if you see the connection ahead of time. You can plan your time and materials more efficiently. A mind map also allows you to see an overview of your plan at a glance.
I like to update my Someday Maybe mind maps after each retreat and at the beginning of the year. So that’s at least twice a year. Last year I was blessed with being able to have three retreats! That is very uncommon for me. I updated my Someday Maybe mind map after each retreat.
You know though, I have to take the space here to say, you can over-plan your time too. A mind map or list is fine for helping you focus and stay on track, but you don’t want it to be a straight jacket! You want to build in time for play and exploration.
I’m way behind in my initial plan, but you know what? I don’t care! Why not? Well, during those times when I “should” have been rug hooking or promoting my business, I was busy learning new things. I took time out for Karen Miller’s Workshop Weeks, and Karen Abend’s Sketchbook Revival, and to learn nature journaling. I trust that these experiences and explorations will expand on and improve my technique and inform me as an artist. I trust the emphasis on learning will pay rewards in the long term. Plus, everyone just needs down time to relax and have fun. If rug hooking becomes just another chore, you won’t want to do it. Build in time to play.
Well, if you have been, thanks for reading! Have a great week everyone!
Good morning everyone! Today I am talking about nature journaling. I am a wildlife biologist’s daughter. I spent most of my childhood and early adult life outdoors and enjoying camping. My mother loved birds and plants and instilled her love of those to me. My father took us all out “into the field” from June through the end of August.
“The field”, for those not related to a wildlife biologist, means we lived in tents all summer long in the great outdoors, wherever it may be. For my growing up years that meant a place called Streeter Basin, followed by Gregg Lake, and then Kananaskis Research Centre, where we graduated to living in a trailer. At Streeter there was no-one around for miles. Just my family, Dad’s grad students (“Don’t bother them!”) and nature. We learned to love nature.
Was this scary? A bit. I could tell you stories. But that’s getting off topic. Streeter Basin was where I became interested in birds. It was also where I started drawing plants.
By the time I was in high school we started going to Kananaskis. There a kind botany professor let me tag along on field trips. My mother was in his class. He would talk about the plants. I would go off nearby and draw them.
I did try and paint a few plants as an adult, upon taking painting courses. But that was the extent of my nature drawing. Until Sketchbook Revival 2021 and John Muir Laws’ class.
After drawing the Black-throated Blue Warbler in under two hours, I was excited again! Here is a more or less cleaned up version of the original drawing, which had a lot of mistakes.
Enter my Internet search for resources. I found John Muir Laws has written, not one, but two books on nature journaling. I also found Clare Walker Leslie had a book out on nature journaling that she co-authored with Charles Roth. Hmmm… I ordered both books. (Clare Walker Leslie has a new edition of her book published this year!)
While waiting I decided to try my hand at it a second time. This time I asked a nature loving friend if she had any photos I could use as a base for my drawings – as reference. She did! I received several shots with images of birds. I decided to try again…this time I made a page for the Black-capped Chickadee.
I see several areas where I could improve my work, composition wise, artistically and with the text. However, as a starting point these are okay. I need a record to see how I progress.
The books arrived Thursday and I have been immersed ever since. They are both excellent books. Clare’s and Charles’s book, “Keeping a Nature Journal”, is good for someone who has no clue about drawing and thinks they can’t do it. John’s book, “The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling”, is more detailed and in-depth. Both excellent stuff! Both are aimed at nature lovers everywhere who want to record what they see.
I was so excited by the books I powered through most of “Keeping a Nature Journal” this weekend. I also watched a video on YouTube called “How to Build a Journal Page with Kristin Meuser. On Kristin’s advice I decided to pick a smaller watercolour sketchbook to start.
I found a red journal half the size of the large sketchbook I had been using, and redrew the first two drawings, adjusting for composition. I also tried some drawing from life, which is what nature journaling is all about. It looks pretty rough folks, but it’s a start. Practice makes perfect!
So if I appear to be neglecting my rug hooking for a while, don’t be alarmed! I am merely honing observation and drawing skills which will, eventually, show up in my wall hangings.
If you have been, thanks for reading! Have a great week everyone!
Good morning everyone! It’s been an interesting week here. Nova Scotia is officially in lockdown again…for the next four weeks. Covid is getting out of control. We are canceling gatherings and staying home. It could be a good opportunity to get more hooking done!
Speaking of hooking…I’ve recently had some people ask me about my rug “Gyeongju” (the South Korean roof tile end caps rug). I think it may need some explanation for those not versed in Asian architecture or Korean history.
South Korea is a beautiful country that has been decimated by wars during the 20th century. Since the Korean War, which ended in the early 1950s, South Koreans have worked very hard to rebuild their land and heal their people. At one point all the trees were stripped off parts of the land so it was easy to see the enemy advance. That is why the forests in parts of South Korea look young…they were replanted after the Korean War.
During the early part of the 20th century South Korea was taken over by Imperial Japan. The Japanese tried to systematically destroy Korean culture. One way this was done was by destroying the palaces in Seoul. Since the 1990s there has been a focused and systematic approach by South Koreans to rebuild sites of cultural significance, including the palaces in Seoul. How many palaces are we talking about? There were five!
After years of helping South Korean immigrants and International students adjust to Canadian life, we had the opportunity of a lifetime to visit South Korea. In 2017 we packed our bags and headed overseas with a previous boarder from Busan area in southeast South Korea.
Busan is a city of beaches that stretches along the coastline of the East Sea (if you’re Korean), or the Japan Sea (if you’re Japanese). While in Busan we went to Dongbaek Island Park and saw the conference centre built for APEC 2005. There was this magnificent carpet on the floor of the round central chamber where the heads of state met. The colours of that carpet became the border in my rug “Gyeongju”.
We spent a couple of days there before travelling north and a bit west to Gyeongju. Gyeongju is the historical capital of the old kingdom of Silla Let me backtrack…
Long before the World Wars…in the 7th century…there were three kingdoms in what is now modern day Korea (North and South). By the end of the 7th century one of them, Silla, was dominant over the others. Gyeongju, as the capital, was home to more palaces which housed kings, and queens. There are many royal burial mounds there, an observatory, and renovation of a famous garden has begun.
In Gyeongju there is a large park with five buildings that form one of many sites of the National Museum of Korea. We were able to make it through two buildings in half a day. One housed samples of the old roof tile end caps.
They were a designer’s delight! All different designs in varying conditions and quality, the patterns on them piqued my interest. Did they mean anything? What were they? How were they actually used? Lots of questions, but few answers.
Enter our trip to Seoul! After visiting Gyeongju we took the high speed train to Seoul. There we visited three of the reconstructed palaces. Here is a reconstructed South Korean palace roof.
The end caps were at the end of the roof tiles to prevent rain from sucking back up the underside of the roof tiles onto the wall of the building.
As you can tell from looking at my rug, “Gyeongju “, and the above photo, I was also taken with the palace colour scheme. Here is the throne room of the main palace.
So “Gyeongju” is really a memory rug of a wonderful trip to a beautiful country halfway around the world. I call it a rug, but I’ve been informed by Hubby that it will hang on the living room wall above our fireplace. The pressure is on people! I want to get it right if I’m going to see it every day! 😂
Well if you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. Have a wonderful weekend everyone!
I have a busy week ahead of me. I have two Zoom meetings. Plus we need to run errands and catch up on household chores. I have a meeting with my framer about the embroidery and handwork I am having framed. In-between all that I hope to hook more on the border of “Gyeongju” (aka the South Korean roof tile end caps rug), and embellish more on “Time”.
Both my hubby and I receive our first shots of the Covid vaccine this week. I’m building in some down time just in case. I have some reading to catch up on. There were also quite a few freebies from Sketchbook Revival 2021 that I’d like to follow up on. Plus a friend sent me some bird photos to practice nature journaling.
I’m also trying to put my photos in order to have some printed professionally. I am planning another series.
Good afternoon everyone! I worked hard this week and finally finished off the Sketchbook Revival 2021 lessons I wanted to do. This week there were classes in printmaking, mark making to loosen up, character design, costume design, collage, watercolour and nature journaling. I was enamoured with the nature journaling and think I’ll do more of that.
To that end I ordered two books: John Muir Law’s “Nature Drawing and Journaling” and Clare Leslie’s and Charles Roth’s “Keeping a Nature Journal”. Our library had multiple holds on both books, so I decided to buy them.
Here’s a slide show of finished work from the second half of Sketchbook Revival 2021.
In other news…
I hooked quite a bit on the border of “Gyeongju” (the South Korean roof tile end caps rug). Still have a lot more to go.
Hubby and I also took a day off and went with a friend for a drive out on Digby Neck here in Nova Scotia. We meandered around, taking the scenic route on the way there. My imagination wasn’t captured until we got out of the car at the wharf in Delaps Cove. I was mesmerized by the age of the wharf, how battered it was, the rusty spikes and bolts holding it together, the huge granite boulders that made up the breakwater, and, of course, the fish shacks. I took a lot of photos and endured quite a bit of teasing for doing so!
But that was just the beginning for me. I requested we stop at the wharf in Parker’s Cove on the way back. Once again I took lots of photos. Our friend, from a fishing family, was having a good chuckle at me taking pictures of rope. But you know, I’ll say here what I said to her – every good original design starts with a good photo. I will probably get one or two pieces out of all those photos…and that’s okay.
If you have been, thanks for reading. Have a great weekend everyone!
Good morning everyone! I’ve written about Sketchbook Revival before. It is a free two week set of classes by different artists, organized by Karen Abend. I discovered it through another rug hooking artist’s blog. I can’t remember whose it was, but I want to say a deep heartfelt thank-you to them.
Sketchbooks are the foundation of any art practice, and that includes textile arts such as rug hooking. It’s where we experiment and explore new ideas. They are foundational for developing your own style. I cannot emphasize enough that if you want to develop your own style, buy a sketchbook and use it!
That was my big mistake when I started out. I viewed rug hooking as craft, not art. I rarely used my sketchbook and relied too much on other people’s work as a basis for my own. Don’t do that! I learned the hard way that rug hooking is an art form, a textile art.
I eventually did learn to use my sketchbook more, thanks to Deanne Fitzpatrick’s online courses from 2012-2014. Thank-you Deanne! However recently I’m noticing I stop using it when I feel I have “enough” rug designs to keep me busy for years.
But I miss sketching. I decided I don’t need to keep a sketchbook just for rug hooking ideas. I can keep one, just because. Sketching in all forms is not only good for idea development. It can also be done just for pleasure.
So when I read about Sketchbook Revival I was ready to do something. I signed up for the two week program which runs the last two weeks of March. However, I had a busy two weeks otherwise and did not get around to the workshops much.
Thankfully Karen Abend has set it up so it’s easy to access and you can go at your own pace. Each day you receive an email with the links to two videos in it. Each video is by a different artist and is a different project. The idea is to get people to use their various art supplies. Each video also has a materials list and title and brief bio on the artist teaching in it.
Karen keeps the videos accessible for two weeks after the last class. Thank-you so much Karen! I am racing to finish them now. So far I am halfway through the workshops. I am learning a lot, and using tools and techniques I’ve never used before.
So without further ado, here is a peek into my sketchbook for the first half of Sketchbook Revival. Bear in mind the goal in these classes is not finished pieces ready for framing, but rather, pieces for learning to use new tools, techniques, and ideas.
Good morning everyone! Today I thought I would write about creativity…and my other hobby.
I’ve come to believe that once creativity is unleashed in a person, it’s hard to stop it. It shows up in different aspects and areas of their lives. I was fortunate – creativity in the form of textiles came at a young age. It was encouraged by my grandmother and mother. They had scrap fabric, thread and needles from sewing our clothes. As a child I started out sewing doll clothes by hand.
When I grew older and was enrolled in Brownies (the junior division of Girl Guides at that time). I discovered embroidery. Over the years I have learned a variety of embroidery techniques – cross stitch, Brazilian, Hardanger, etc. I made many beautiful items, and some not so beautiful. Like everything else, embroidery takes practice. Not all pieces are destined for greatness.
However some were worth saving. I have several pieces from over the years that I finally had framed. I took a couple of classes from the well known Hardanger teacher, Elsie Mae Quick, of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. It was a great stepping off point. I finally had the intermediate piece framed the other day.
I was a member of the Regina Stitchery Guild for a while. There were many excellent stitchers and mentors there. One was Carol Storie of Heartfelt Designs. I really enjoy her patterns and have stitched a few of them. I finally had one framed.
Hardanger is one of my favourite forms of embroidery. I have used the technique to make Christmas ornaments, for gifts, and for functional items in my own home and others.
I also am enjoying learning Brazilian embroidery. I haven’t done any for a long time though. I have been absorbed in rug hooking for over five years. Recently I rediscovered a binder with pattern book, needles and threads. I’m pretty happy. Someday soon maybe, as a break in rug hooking…or maybe as embellishment on rugs…hmmm…
Then there was online learning. It opened up a wealth of possibilities. I took some courses from Sharon Boggon of Australia. One was on designing your own embroidery from scratch. It was a fascinating course on using fabric, beads, buttons and various types of threads to create a unique piece. I created “Under the Sea”. I was able to frame it recently as well.
I am very pleased with the framing of these pieces and have a few more in for framing now. Many thanks to Karen Haverstock of Haverstock Creative Designs. They look gorgeous!
If you find yourself stymied or stuck in one area of creating, my advice is to learn something new. You never know what might break the log jam and start you creating again. Plus, you never know where your new skills might take you!
If you have been reading, thanks! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
Good evening everyone! I’ve spent some time working on my pieces from the earlier Workshop Weeks and finishing them up. I just have the embroidery and beading to do on “Time” now, before finishing it.
The abstract pieces – “Ocean Sunset” and “Poison” are finished, complete with hanging sleeves.
Autumn” needs a good steam pressing and, possibly, some fixing on one edge in the hemming. Then a hanging sleeve attached.
I also finished the Fraktur chair pad, but feel it’s too small for a chair pad. It will probably end up on one of my living room tables.
Next it’s onto the South Korean roof tile end caps rug, which I think I will simply call “Gyeongju”. Gyeongju is the city with the museum where I saw all the ancient designs tile designs. South Korea was originally an amalgamation of three separate kingdoms. Gyeongju, historically called Seorabeol, was capital of one of them – the Silla kingdom (57-935 AD). You can read all about it by googling it. It’s a fascinating city, nicknamed “The Museum Without Walls” . It is a National Park filled with reconstructed sites and buildings from the old kingdom. There are burial mounds of kings and queens, and archeological digs abound. Plus there is a five building museum. It’s just fascinating. We were there one day. There is no way we had enough time to do it justice.
I have a series of wall hangings I’d like to do on South Korea. We’ll see if I get to them. I want to finish some poetry wall hangings first.
Other than that it’s been a busy few days. I’m trying to at least watch the videos for Sketchbook Revival, which technically ended March 31st. The videos are available until April 16th. I’m rushing to fit them in, but I doubt I’ll have time to do the projects.
I’m looking forward to spring and summer. I’m already planning my artist retreats for the year. IKEA says they’ll email when the kitchen cabinet frames come in. I’m hoping to work my retreats around the kitchen renovation.
Well that’s it from here. I hope everyone has a great week! If you have been, thanks for reading!