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Exciting Happenings!

Hi folks!  My exciting news is that Monday I will be on CTV Morning Live locally, in four different two minute segments teaching and talking about rug hooking!  Could be interesting!  I’m taking my supplies to the studio to be filmed talking to Alexandra Brown about rug hooking and teaching her how to hook.  In honour of the occasion I stopped by the hair salon for a ‘touch up’ with my hair.  Not much helps in that department, but it’s worth a try.

I am also hooking more on “Escapees”.  Next up is to work on the fence and the nasturtiums behind it.  Could be interesting.  I’ve never tried to depict a metal fence in my rug hooking before.

I sold those hooked rugs Monday and spent time Tuesday trying to balance the business books.  Hubby took sympathy on me and treated me to ice-cream at the local Dairy Queen.  The business side of rug hooking is not my strong suit!

I’m looking forward to a weekend of hooking and preparing for the show on Monday morning.  Talk to you all later!

 

Planning a Home Retreat

 

In my studio this week I’ll be planning a home retreat.

A lot has been written on retreats and the importance of getting away to develop ideas and themes and accomplish work.  Mostly these ideas are based on spending thousands of dollars to ‘get away from it all’, or on artist’s residencies which have their own requirements (and understandably so).  But that doesn’t have to be so.

When Hubby was working I often took one day At Home retreats.  Now he’s retired it’s a bit more problematic.  It can be distracting just having him walk around the house on our creaky hardwood floors.  So the plan will be to have him in on the plan from the beginning.  A discussion is in order.  I may wait till better bike riding weather for the retreat.  He loves to ride his bicycle for hours at a time.  That would give me ample time to accomplish something.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

How do I structure my retreats?

First, I set a goal.  I currently have two goals in mind, but know I have to just focus in on one main goal per retreat.  Otherwise it does not go well.

Second, I figure out the schedule.  Without a schedule it’s just another day at home.  I try to structure my day so I have a centering or calming time to start the day.  I follow that with a review of where I’m at and an exploration of a theme or idea.  Then I have an activity related to the theme.  I follow that with a light lunch that I’ve prepared beforehand.  I often take the noon hour break to go for a walk to clear my head.  Then more exploration of the theme and a major activity in the afternoon.  I follow that with journaling about how things went and what I could do to follow up on the retreat.  I finish off the day with another centering exercise.

This isn’t the only way to structure a retreat, but it this is a common way I structure my retreats.

Third, I figure out the cost.  With my At Home retreats this is often negligible, as I have everything right in my home studio at my fingertips.  If it’s a serious retreat off to someplace else it can become quite expensive.  It pays to try and predict every expense you can think of, including travel costs, accommodation, and food.

Ultimately the secret to a successful retreat is to plan ahead and let the significant people in your life know what you’re up to.  Turn off the phone, the radio, the TV…anything that gets in the way of your staying focused and on task.  Make sure you are prepared by having all your supplies and work space ready.  Working in a messy, disorganized space distracts me, so I spend some time beforehand tidying up.  Be sure the lunch meal is simple and, if possible, prepare it ahead.  I like to eat raw finger foods.  Maybe some hummus with crackers and vegetable sticks, nuts, and yogurt.

There are some good general resources out for planning a retreat.  One of the first books I used was a sale book at Chapters called “Vacations for the Spirit” by Alan Walker.  Short and aimed mostly at spiritual retreats, it still gives a good foundation of what a retreat can be.  Chapter four on “Retreats for Every Purpose” is a good place to start your exploration of artistic retreats.  Online sources include SparklingRobots.com  A Google search turns up more.  Some are aimed at writers, some at art journaling, and some at painters, etc.  Those of us who do fiber related art have to extrapolate from other artist’s experiences to create our own tailored retreat.  That’s the way it is.  Every artist is different and different types of retreats will work for you at different times.  Feel free to create a retreat that suits your purposes!

Now it’s time for me to get back to planning!

 

 

 

Home Again!

Dancing Sheep – CASA art gallery – “Ganglamb Style”

For those of you following me on social media, you know I’ve been busy buying supplies, touring art facilities, and visiting art galleries.  I’ve also been researching artist retreats and residencies.  Unfortunately my iPad and iPhone would not let me post to my blog.  That will have to be remedied somehow.  Not sure how.  That’s the quick recap, now for the details.

We headed to Edmonton to check in with family and relax.  My stepmother is a prolific knitter and I spent a good hour or so one day going through part of her book collection, taking photos of ones that might interest me.  I’ll check them out at the library first.

Elk Island National Park – beaver lodge

While visiting Edmonton we went to Elk Island National Park for an inspirational (?) outing.  We went on a walk by Astotin Lake with tons of mosquitoes and frogs!  I think I managed to take some good beaver lodge photos.  Plus later we were able to catch a bison photo or two in the bison paddock.  Three cheers for Parks Canada and their free pass for Canada’s 150th birthday!

After a few days in Edmonton we headed south on the old highway – Hwy. 2A – through Wetaskiwin, Ponoka, to Lacombe.  Hubby and I like to find local places to eat – places with homemade meals and unusual items on the menu.  On the way to Edmonton it was Lionel’s Place in Vegreville, where we had the Ukrainian platter, with perogies, cabbage rolls, and kobassa.  It was delicious!  It also came with a tossed salad with olives and pickled beets! And how could we turn down home baked lemon meringue pie and a cup of tea?  So when we were closing in on Lacombe I pulled out my cell phone, did a trusty Google search, and turned up the Morrison House Cafe.  It is a lovely older home where the main floor was turned into a cafe and the upstairs is where the owners live.  It was very busy and I was glad I called ahead to reserve a table.  We had a wonderful meal there.  However, because it was so busy it was an hour before we were on the road again.

Legacy Studio – wool, linen, “Primary Fusion” kit, bent handled scissors, and ProChem sample cards.

That made us a bit late for meeting up with Laura Johnson at her home studio – Legacy Studio – in Cochrane, Alberta.  But Laura is very kind and accommodating.  We arrived an hour after we thought we would and I spent another hour in her studio shopping and purchasing supplies for this coming year.  I am now supplied with wool and linen.  Laura also solved my problem with cleaning my drum carder.  I purchased her flick carder out from under her.  It works like a charm Laura!  I was also able to pick up two rug hooking books – “Scrappy Hooked Rugs” and Deanne Fitzpatrick’s new book,”Rug Hooking with Deanne Fitzpatrick” – and a “Primary Fusion” kit on how to use ProChem dyes.

We raced from Laura’s studio to relatives in Okotoks via Bragg Creek.  Originally we were going to stop in Bragg Creek, but we just didn’t have time.  We were already an hour late arriving at Okotoks.  We are glad we arrived when we did, because not long after our niece arrived with a birthday cake for her mom.  I had no idea it was my sister-in-law’s birthday!  To say we were unprepared is putting it mildly.  I went out with my sister-in-law in the evening and was glad to see her friends, where we went, celebrated her birthday too.

Unwind Wool – yarn and book

While in Okotoks I had the pleasure of visiting the new knitting shop downtown, Unwind Wool.  It just opened in February and is quite small, but packs quite a bit into a small space!  I walked out with a lot of yarn, and a new knitting book.

“Prairie Sky – Altocumulus 13”

My sister-in-law also took me to a spin-in at a friend’s place.  I took some rug hooking with me and finished a “Prairie Sky – Altocumulus” wall hanging there.  I was fascinated by what I was seeing at Robin’s house.  Robin had a weaving studio too.  We wandered upstairs to see her Canada 150 project – a large blanket she had spun and dyed warp for that was on the floor loom awaiting her weft.  It was the most beautiful warp I’ve ever seen!  Every colour of the rainbow!  And I didn’t get a picture of it.  Sigh…too caught up in her studio and how she did things.  I quizzed her up about her dyeing methods. I noticed a sketchbook being used to record weaving patterns and asked about that as well.  I need to use my sketchbook more.

Which brings me to our next stop – Michaels.  There was a Buy One Get 50% Off the second deal on large sketchbooks.  I bought.  I now have two large sketchbooks to work in this year.

Later that day Hubby and I headed off to Lethbridge.  It was quite funny because it turned out my sister-in-law was heading to Lethbridge the day after with a group of weavers.  They were going to have lunch, visit the Lethbridge weavers, and tour CASA – the art center there.  My sister-in-law wanted to know if I wanted to join them for lunch and the tour.  You bet I did!  So we had a wonderful time of it.  The weavers took us up to their studio in CASA and we spent time looking at warp and chatting with them.

CASA – Weaving studio

One of the ladies had just come back from a residency in Iceland.  That got me thinking.  It never occurred to me there would be residencies for fibre artists.  I chatted her up a bit and noted the link for where she found the residency.  I spent considerable time later in the evening and during our visit researching art residencies.  There really is nothing out there for rug hookers.  The more I thought about it, the more problematic it became.  In discussing it with other relatives we were visiting the question came up “What is your goal for the retreat/residency?” and “Why not design your own?”.  Both very good points.  I sat down and designed one on the spot.  I think I will be giving the idea a dry run at home though.  I may have some quiet time in July for it.  We’ll see.

After spending time at CASA in the weaving studio a young man showed up to give us a tour of the facility.  We asked a lot of questions I’m afraid, and he ran over his allotted time, but it was fascinating!  An artist can become a member for $200 per year, and rent a cupboard space that is about 3′ x 8′ with a locked door for another $200 per year.  That gives you access to a shared studio space for 24/7.  I could go for that.  Just over $1/day for studio space!  What a deal!

CASA – 3D studio

CASA – Pottery classroom. They have a gas fired kiln too.

 

My sister-in-law and I parted at CASA and I met up with Hubby at the public library.  We didn’t spend time looking around however.  Instead we headed right out to the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens.  We had a relaxing time walking the gardens and taking photos.  I have lots to work with for awhile.

In the morning, before I went to lunch with the weavers and to CASA, my husband’s cousin took me to the CCWG (Canadian Wool Growers) shop.  I picked up some roving to spin.  Then we went to Knitting Time, the local yarn shop, and I picked up yarn to hook and knit.  Then it was off to Marshall’s – the local fabric store – to check it out and pick up a few sundry items.

Lopi destined for wall hangings or rugs.

A word about Knitting Time…I was fascinated by this small shop.  The proprietor not only carries yarn for knitting, but also fibre for crocheting, thread for tatting, rayon thread for Brazilian embroidery, cross-stitch supplies, felting supplies, and spinning supplies.  Plus she has pattern books too.  For a small shop she packs a lot in there!

The next day found us at SAAG (the Southern Alberta Art Gallery) checking out exhibits we did not understand.  I wish I could have talked to one artist in particular.  I liked her exhibit.  I think I understand what it’s about, but when my very logical and practical Hubby started asking questions, I was at a loss for words.

We also went to the University of Lethbridge to check out their gallery, only to find it closed.  But they did have the hallway exhibit – “Habits and Habitats” – up for viewing.  That was good.

Habits and Habitats

On Monday, yesterday, we headed home.  We stopped in Medicine Hat and Swift Current.  Tried to get into the art gallery in Swift Current, only to find it closed and them taking down the exhibit we wanted to see.  Oh well.  They did have a few pieces of the artist’s work in a display case in the library in the same building as the art gallery.  So we ended up checking out the library.

I found a book, “Where Women Create” by Jo Packham, which I took out and read on the way home.  There are a few good ideas in the book that I will implement.  I was reading the description of some of the studio spaces to Hubby.  He was floored to think some people have more space than I do. lol.  I must admit, my crafting takes up two rooms in the house – one for rug hooking, and one for everything else.  I keep trying to get it in order, but it seems as fast as I empty a space, it fills with something else.

We had supper in Moose Jaw at the Mitsu Cafe.  There is a sushi bar in the back of the cafe, and you can order dessert from the cafe out front.  We shared a Caramel Apple Crepe.  It was huge!  And delicious!

Mitsu Cafe – Caramel Apple Crepe

 

Friday Finale

Hi everyone!  I’m up early this morning, for a wonder.  I wasn’t in bed till after midnight.  I suspect an afternoon rest will be in order!  Mosaic was great though!  Both for fun and inspiration. The food was excellent too.

I finished my little “Prairie Sky – Cirrus” wall hanging and am onto a “Prairie Sky – Altocumulus” one. I have a lot of bits and pieces of linen backing that need to be used up.  They will most likely become ornaments and small wall hangings.

I’ve also managed to take photos of all the old patterns I have and will post those on my website and Facebook page for sale.

I made a list of things that need to be done in my little studio to finish up loose ends.  I’ll be working on those gradually.

I’ve also been working on creating a mini-portfolio photo book of my work to take to shows and show galleries.  It’s finally reached the point where I can’t take all my work with me.  So this serves as a detailed look at my development as an artist and shows potential patrons the width and depth of my style.

Today I’m looking forward to listing items online for sale, resting, enjoying company, and another evening at Mosaic.  Have a great weekend everyone! 🙂

WIP Prairie Sky – Cirrus 12

 

In my studio…

I’m back in my studio after sale day at the Cathedral Village Arts Festival Street Fair.   I actually sold well and had lots of inquiries, but the wind was gusting so badly in the afternoon we had to close up shop early.  Product was hitting the ground.  That was not cool.  So we packed it in and came home.

I’ll have to rethink my plans for next year.  I’m thinking of doing another sale later in the year, after all the inclement weather we seem to get at the CVAF Street Fair.  But we shall see.  The cost of the other sales are quite high…over $200 for a small booth 10’x10’…  I don’t know…  Hubby and I are thinking of alternatives.

Meanwhile, if you were at the sale and planning to pick something up the last hour or so of it, you can contact me through email <jo6865@gmail.com> or phone: 306-737-9950.  If you’re from outside of Canada it’s best to contact me by email.  We can arrange appointments for viewing rug hooking, and purchasing supplies, and materials.  If you are interested in signing up for classes you can check out my classes page here on the website and send me a note through the contact form at the bottom.

I managed to start “Escapees”, my nasturtium wall hanging, at the Street Fair, but honestly the wind was so bad I spent most of my time holding up the display, especially in the afternoon.  Still, I have some of it picked out and ready to go.  I’m nailing down more colours right now.

After coming home and putting away sale stuff, I decided a good cleaning out of the studio was in order.  I’ve spent the last two days on that.  I have a huge garbage bag of stuff to get rid of either by selling or donating, but the bulk of it is done.  I don’t know.  I use a lot of fibre and sell a fair bit, but it seems like the stuff multiplies!  My shelves are full to bursting!

This week I’ll be cleaning more, and finishing up some odds and ends in the studio.  I have a few wall hangings that need hanging sleeves, price tags, and to be uploaded to the website.  I have some narrow strips that need to be cut and put into my extra stripettes bin for future hooking or sale.

I have company arriving the end of the week, and Thursday, Friday, and Saturday are the annual multicultural festival days in town – Mosaic.  I hope to enjoy both. 🙂

Ready to go!

I’m all ready to go to the Cathedral Village Arts Festival Street Fair  on 13th Ave. tomorrow.  I’ll be with my friend, Anne, between Athol and Montague Streets in the shade on the south side.

I will be starting my wall hanging called “Escapees”.  Come see the pattern and fibres! I’ll be selling greeting cards for $5 each and ornaments and wall hangings from $25 up.

If anyone is interested in buying supplies or fibre for hooking you can either do so on this website in the shop area, or stop by the booth and we’ll make an appointment for you to come by the house, or take an order and mail it out to you.

I am currently charging $20/half pound of wool (approximately a half yard of wool yardage).  It will be irregular shapes. If you want it cut, it will be another $5 on top of that.  I only cut #6 width.

If you want silk and wool yarns and fibre it will be $25 uncut, and $30 cut. Again these are half pound bags.

Hope to see people at the Fair. It’s supposed to rain, so bring your umbrellas and rain coats!

There she be!


My new iMac. Still loading updates. Still have to configure mail.  I’m making this post off my iPad.  

I pulled out a new pattern to start hooking.  It’s called “Escapees”.  It’s a design of some nasturtiums escaping their fenced in garden and reaching towards the sun.  Again, an actual photo and place on Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada, where everything grows with wild abandon!  Last week I adjusted the pattern.  This week I’ll be dyeing fibre for the backgrounds. I need some medium toned Kelly green.  

This will be my demonstration piece for the Cathedral Village Arts Festival Street Fair on May 27th.   I will be between Montague and Athol Streets on the south side in the shade. That’s on 13th Ave. in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.  If you’re in the area that day come check out my booth!

Welcome to May!

What a beautiful May day we have here.  It’s overcast, just the way I like it.  Don’t get me wrong.  I like the sun.  But sometimes the prairie sky can be too bright for me.  It’s so intense in colour and brightness.

Yesterday Hubby and I had a delightful walk around Wascana Lake in the heart of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.  You wouldn’t know that out in the middle of the Canadian prairies lay this jewel of a park that houses the lake.  We watched all kinds of ducks and geese coming and going about their business.  It was a magical time.

This past week I’ve been focusing on getting back to a normal sleep schedule and organizing 1500+ photos of South Korea.  I’m still working on both.  I want to get the photos organized so I can get started on my next wall hanging/rug.  I’m debating whether this one will be a floor mat or not.  I want to use my leftover worms for it.  We shall see.  It depends how the design works out.  So this week is photo week, sketch week, and possibly design week.

Just a few reminders…

My work is currently in a group show at the Art Gallery of Regina until Friday.

Also, I am planning to take part in the Cathedral Village Arts Festival Street Fair again this year on May 27th from 10 AM – 4 PM.  I received notification of where my booth will be located.  For people looking for me, I will be at the far end of the Fair between Montague and Athol streets on the south side of the street.  Maybe start walking the Fair from the Elphinstone Street end if you want to still have money and energy by the time you reach my booth!

In other news…I am being published for real this time.  The information has gone to press.  Stay tuned for further information.  I’ll believe it when I see the article in the magazine!

Inspiration Monday – Wascana Creek

We live near a creek beside which the City has kindly placed a walking and biking path.  Every now and then we go out to enjoy it.  Yesterday afternoon was one of those times.  We went on an hour and twenty minutes long walk.  The Creek is a great place to people watch, as well as bird watch.  I took plenty of photos and narrowed it down to this slideshow for my readers to view.

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I told Hubby we need to go on more walks the next few weeks.  I’m trying to get in shape for South Korea.  I hear there will be a lot of walking.  Lots to see and do!  And I could use the exercise.

In the meantime, Saturday was the last From Start to Finish class.  I had an excellent student who wasn’t afraid to ask questions and gave quality feedback when I asked.  I really appreciated everything she had to say.  I have revised some areas of the course based on her experiences, and mine.

I cleaned up the dining room and put everything back where it belongs.  My dining room is looking more like a dining room than a rug hooking studio.  It will stay that way until May, when a new set of classes will begin.  Feel free to check out my classes and contact me if you are interested in taking any.

I am still hooking on “Moss”.

My current event is the exhibit at the Art Gallery of Regina Salon Show and Sale.  I have two pieces on exhibit: “Dancing Tree” and “Blue-eyed Grass”.

The last Saturday in May, the 27th, will be the Cathedral Village Arts Festival Street Fair.   It runs from 10 am – 5 pm.  I will be demonstrating and selling work.  I hope to see people there!