I have been incredibly blessed this summer. I just finished my third artist retreat for the summer. We went back to Scots Bay, Nova Scotia for the weekend.
This time I focused on plein air hooking. I took all my miscellaneous leftover “worms” – strips of wool and silk fabric, pieces of yarn and nylon stockings – and tried to hook the scene of Scots Bay from the window of the cottage.
Why indoors? It was far too hot and sunny for me to be outdoors. I could have moved to the deck and been one foot from where I was, but why? I would have loved to go down on the beach to paint and hook, but the sun and heat prevented that. I think I need to take my artist retreats earlier than July and later than August, when the weather is cooler.
But I’m not complaining! These three retreats have been great for jump starting my creativity and getting things done! My camera has been mega busy, followed by my paintbrushes and my rug hook. Plus I have managed some reading and work on my business plan. I also have had great quality time with Hubby. I’m hoping to have a couple of retreats a year from here on.
On Friday I left my readers hanging about plein air hooking. The term plein air is a French term that means “plain air”. In some parts of the world it is referred to as plain air. It was used to describe artwork painted by artists who painted the landscape while outdoors.
What is plein air hooking? Simply put it’s hooking the outdoors while outdoors. In more severe climates and recent years plein air hooking also includes sitting near a window and hooking the outdoor view.
Plein air requires a quick eye and hand. Light changes rapidly, causing colours and shadows to shift.
How do I do it? I take a lawn chair, a hat, a water bottle, a small piece of backing, lots of miscellaneous colours of fibre, usually leftover scraps, called worms, from my other projects, a hooking frame, hooks, my sketchbook, a pencil, a permanent black marker, and a pair of scissors. I set myself up, draw a quick sketch…no detail…just to check composition and maybe note dominant shapes, line, colour and value. I try to simplify shapes in my sketches and note colour.
Then I draw directly on backing. No time to make a pattern. The light and shadows move too quickly. I have at most two hours to make my plein air piece. I mark my colours, lights and darks by hooking a bit of the colour in the appropriate place in the backing.
After that I hook as fast as I possibly can to finish the piece. I am a relatively slow rug hooker. It takes me an hour to hook an area the size of my hand. Later, I will take my plein air piece back to my studio to decide whether or not to enlarge it and create a studio piece.
I love the immediacy of plein air hooking. However, because light changes so fast and I hook so slow, I have to keep my pieces small.
Plein air hooking is a good way to stretch yourself. There is a group of plein air hooking artists with a website. It is Plein Air Hooking Artists. It is composed of rug hooking artists from around the globe.
If you are interested in plein air hooking, check out the Plein Air Hooking Artists website, grab your supplies and go outdoors! Start with your own yard to give you a trial run. That way if you forget anything its a short trip to the house to pick it up. Once you feel more comfortable on your own, move to a nearby park or the great outdoors somewhere near you. Enjoy!
I finished both “African Dream Mini” (10.5” x 15.25” – wool, silk, nylon on primitive linen – #6 cut) and “Hearts”! Both have a hanging sleeve on them. Next up is to cut dowels for the hanging system, find some cup hooks for them, and create Certificates of Authenticity.
After that I’ll be planning my next retreat. It’s actually going to be a painting retreat. No rug hooking. I have a third retreat in mind that I’d like to use to explore plein air hooking in the Maritimes.
What is plein air hooking? Check my blog post Monday for the answer!
Welcome to my new website everyone! Take a look around and tell me how you’re liking the new look by posting a comment below. I welcome feedback. 🙂
The last month’s posts are missing on this blog, but that’s okay. I’ll update you here.
Since the middle of September I’ve finished “Escapees”.
I’ve also been out plein air hooking at Echo Lake Provincial Park here in Saskatchewan. It’s beautiful in the fall with golden yellow leaves on the trees against the bright blue prairie sky. Here’s what I was hooking in.
The other side of the lake looked a bit barren though. The leaves had already fallen and the golden brown of the grassy hills was showing through the bare dark branches.
The end result was a small approximately 5″ x 9″ piece I call simply “Echo Lake”.
I attended Art Now! in Regina this fall. It was an inspiring event for me. I was able to spend Saturday listening to presentations, and enjoy the artwork in-between sessions.
I’ve also been spelling off my hooking with knitting. I’ve finished my Painted Desert Shawl by Karen Klein (available free on Ravelry) from Sea Turtle yarn.
I’ve been knitting some baby items… a hat and some mitts with an i-cord string attaching them. I am currently working on this baby sweater, which requires I pick up stitches around the neck and down the front to knit a collar and button band. I am knitting to learn new techniques. I’m finding baby items ideal for this. They are small and quick to knit…when I’m not distracted by other things… The patterns for these come from “60 Quick Baby Knits”.
I’ve also been spinning. It’s come to my attention that I have a lot of fibre that needs to be spun. I just had my wheel serviced and will be working, when I have time, to spin it up. Here’s a couple of small skeins of old singles that I plied together to make yarn. I will overdye these to make them usable.
And, now that Canadian Thanksgiving is over, my eye is turned towards the upcoming Christmas season. To that end I diverted myself to scrapbooking last week. My daughter was married about twelve years ago and I promised her a wedding scrapbook. I think twelve years is a long enough wait! I had the tools, the time, and the money to finish it off. Traditional scrapbooking is not cheap! It is my daughter’s Christmas gift this year.
On September 23rd I took part in Sunrise Library’s Old Fashioned Fair. Sunrise Library is a branch of the local Regina Public Library. I had a blast! So much so I forgot to have photos taken of me there! I was with a group of weavers and spinners and we had a great time chatting and demonstrating to the public. Definitely on my repeat list if asked next year.
As a result of the Old Fashioned Fair I ended up at the local Weavers and Spinners Guild one evening. Had a blast spinning away while listening to the meeting. Lots of people doing interesting things there.
I’ve also been approached for information to include on myself and my hooking in a book to possibly be published in 2019. Writing everything down about my en plein air hooking was a bit of a novelty. I didn’t realize it was such a process, or that I knew as much as I did. It was good for me.
And in-between all that I’ve been helping my web designer with the new website, including the new videos for my classes that help explain what they are about. Please feel free to provide constructive feedback.
I had a busy day today, so a late post. I sold a wood pile among other things! I sold some sewing patterns and an old wood gardening tray as well, and I posted some jewelry and china online for sale.
I also had the pleasure of meeting a new patron. She stopped by to deliver a cheque for a piece she tried to purchase online. There seemed to be difficulties with PayPal not recognizing my correct email address. My web developer and I sorted that out. But as the buyer was local, I just emailed her and suggested dropping by the studio to pay me the money owed.
She dropped by this afternoon and we had a wonderful chat about my work, whether I would work on commission (I will, given the right situation), what the biggest size is that I make and why (2′ x 5′ because of my frame size), and to just admire my work. In the end she purchased two of my larger pieces – “Wascana Creek” and “The Barn”. I told her the story behind each piece. She was delighted.
Both pieces are based on smaller plein air pieces. “Wascana Creek” was hooked on a local man-made island called “Boreal Island”. It’s near a friend’s place and for part of the hooking of the plein air piece I had her and her dog’s company. The final studio piece was hooked at home in my studio. It is hooked from home spun yarn and wool and silk fibers on primitive linen backing. I hand dye most of my fiber.
“The Barn” is at The Crossings on the edge of Grasslands National Park. It’s been turned into a picnic shelter now. You can drive around the dugout and go into the paddock, which is where the barn is, park your car, and picnic at the picnic tables in the barn. The Crossings has rooms for rent above their old garage (now turned laundry and maintenance area for the nearby campground). I hooked “The Barn” plein air piece from a second floor window, as the mosquitoes were too thick to sit on the balcony and hook. Once again the finished piece was hooked in my studio.
I really enjoyed visiting with my new patron and was pleased to know my work would be hanging alongside the likes of Allen Sapp!
This week’s plan is to work more on “Escapees”. I may be planning a few larger prairie sky pieces as well. I have noticed an interest in the larger pieces among people in general.
I finished my online Gale courses in communication and teaching writing: K-3 with flying colors on Friday. They were fun courses to take to shake up my brain again and bring out the appropriate knowledge for teaching. I think I’ll take a few more of these courses in the future.
I haven’t done a lick of work on African Dream or my g-mail account this weekend. A true weekend off! I was at a meeting on growth principles, and helping prepare food, serve it, and clean up for the church’s graduation luncheon. By Sunday afternoon, when it was all over, I was wiped and took a good long nap! Spent some time weeding the yard/garden.
This week’s plans definitely include African Dream and sorting through email. I’m not sure what else I’ll do. Depending on the weather I may spin a bit or do some plein air hooking in the backyard. I’m feeling a bit of a need for a change. Maybe some dyeing.
Friday is Canada Day and we are hosting a small gathering of friends. So some time will be spent planning and preparing for that. I’m looking forward to a week with a relatively clean slate.
Hardanger Bell Pull – a modification of the EAC (Embroiderer’s Association of Canada) Intermediate Hardanger course.
In keeping with the list theme, you notice you see a lot of lists on this blog. I find them easier to navigate and scan as a reader, and very concise as an author. This week I accomplished a few things to put on my “Done” list.
I finished my Hardanger bell pull,
I finished, I mean totally finished, Wascana Creek,
I did the finishing on Wascana Creek – Study, the original plein air piece for Wascana Creek,
I worked on updating my portfolio, and
I continued with my Blogging 101 course.
Today I will continue with my portfolio and color planning The Barn.
Planning next week soon.
“Wascana Creek” and its plein air piece “Wascana Creek – Study”.
My current rug hooking WIP is The Barn. Colour planning is the objective for today. It could be a challenge that sees me hanging about the kitchen over dye pots again. We’ll see. I’m trying very hard to use up what fibre I already have…and I have a lot.
The Barn is a slightly larger pattern than Wascana Creek. It has similar elements and started out as a plein air piece also. It will be interesting to see this develop into a larger piece.
I will also be working on updating my hooking portfolio. I have let it get sadly out of date.
My non-hooking project for the time being is the knit baby blanket. I tend to put it aside until I know I have an hour to work on it, because it takes that long to knit a full repeat of the pattern. I’m a slow knitter. It is a lace pattern that also requires concentration, so I prefer to do it when I’m alone.
That’s my plan for today.
What’s everyone else up to out there in Internet land?
It’s not that I don’t have a lot to do. I really do! And when I look around my home and start pulling out all the half finished projects and projects to do around the house, or making a list of them, or…well…in this case, photographing them, I find it’s inspiration to get on and finish a few of them.
If you didn’t guess it, last week’s Inspiration Wednesday theme was Warmth. Can you guess today’s? I gave it away above. It’s my “To Do” list of projects. All except my rug hooking…of which I have sketchbooks full of ideas. Should keep me out of trouble for a while. 🙂
I hope everyone has a busy and productive day. I know I will! 🙂
A baby blanket
The hanging sleeve
A Korean applique quilt pattern.
Plein air “Wascana Creek – Study”.
Yarn! It’s emptier than it was! The rest I’ve already either used, given away, or sold.
Errands and housekeeping day today! Just came back from doing errands. I am finally culling my books. A trip to the liquor store for boxes was in order. Also stopped by the pharmacy for medication and my annual flu shot. And, I finally went for a haircut! So all the errands are done this morning. That leaves this afternoon for…
This is a short week so my plans are few. Not only is Remembrance Day smack in the middle of the week, on Wednesday, but Hubby is home today and we are focusing on housekeeping chores. And, sometime this week the excavators are supposed to be coming to replace our sewer and water lines.
Draw a new pattern on backing – poppies?, studio piece based on the plein air barn I hooked last year?, or a studio piece based on the plein air scenery piece from this year?
Colour plan rug,
Take Christmas ornaments to shop,
Get caught up on reading of business related material,
Hi all! What am I up to? I am working on the Christmas ornaments this week. Variations of burgundy and gold. Lots of fun and quick to do. 🙂
Also still working through my photos sketching interesting images.
Projects I’d like to work on…
The Barn, a studio piece from a plein air exercise,
The Creek, another studio piece from a plein air exercise,
a larger poppy wall hanging.
I’m finding myself drawn towards more abstract images these days. Well, actually close ups. I am fascinated by what goes on in our lives and around us at the microscopic level. I am a firm believer that it is the small things that matter in life – both in how we interact with people and in what is beneath our feet or in front of our eyes. Small things are important. They grow or support or build bigger things.
I discovered I love curves. A lot of the images I am choosing to sketch from photos include scrolls and curves. This surprises me. I have been fond of straight lines for a long time now. Maybe I am having a style shift?
Other upcoming projects? I’m designing a mini-course on hooking curves, lettering, and different backgrounds. I am also looking at developing a course to show beginners how to design, transfer to backing, hook, and finish a piece.
For now…it is time to do some sketching and finishing of Christmas ornaments…
Hi everyone! We have a nice bright sunshiny day happening here. Temperatures are set to go into the 30s Celsius. And we have no air conditioning. I will be trying to avoid the heat as much as possible.
My big push this week is updating my portfolio and hooking poppy wall hangings. I have one more piece to list on Etsy as well.
I will be excited to see what news comes out of Sauder Village, OH. It is Rug Hooking Week starting Tuesday and four of my pieces will be on display. The two small plein air pieces of Geraniums and Above the Garage. As well as the two finished studio pieces.
This week is time to hook Ripening Saskatoons. It is proving tough slogging trying to keep all the values straight. I am having to rip out and redo sections to get the right depth to the piece. An excellent exercise in value! 🙂
I also need to prepare some patterns on backing for classes.
And I want to work on my portfolio. And clean up the sunroom studio a bit.
Join the Thread exhibit is up in Weyburn, and I want to go visit some day soon.
I would also like to get outside to do more plein air hooking, but we shall see. Depends on car availability. 🙂
Weyburn fibre art show, Join the Thread, is at Signal Hill Art Centre in July and August! Be sure to check it out! See Okra and Paisley Prairie Sky in person! Check out the fibre art all over town! I am planning to go there myself. 🙂 This week’s main achievement was to finish Rose Hips.
Aside from that I managed a bit of plein air hooking by the creek.
I spent a lot of time preparing for our trip.
I did pull out fibre for student kits, but did not have time to put them together.
Due to a sudden thunderstorm and hail, and the fact I was busy packing, I did not make the Dimensions 2015 opening reception last evening. That, plus Hubby had to take our car to do some last minute shopping.
I decided to take some sketching supplies with me on our trip. 🙂 Also hoping to squeeze some rug hooking supplies in the car for the trip, but not sure there will be room.
Moose and Mountains – Deanne Fitzpatrick pattern -18 x 31″
Other news? USPS has officially declared Moose & Mountains lost in the mail. I had to refund the buyer this week and Canada Post is sending me a cheque to cover its value. I’m glad I bought insurance.
I requested that Moose & Mountains be returned to me if ever found. So if anyone sees it, please photograph it in situ and let me know. I will contact the proper authorities. My email is <email@example.com>.
Also my plein air pieces for Sauder Village are safely stateside and on their way to a fellow rug hooker to get to the camp at the proper time.
Lots of business stuff this past week, not much hooking. Hope to do more hooking in the weeks to follow. 🙂
Also went for a wonderful outing in a nearby nature area for some plein air hooking.
And I made the decision to turn down an exhibit with a three week deadline. It was a good choice for me.
I also tried to change things up a bit on the blog with different post topics.
Spoke to another shop about selling my work, and was given leads as to who to talk to and when.
Today is another busy and fun day. Hubby is off work. We have errands to run and another Hindu wedding to attend. And we are picking friends up from the airport for a brief visit before they head home. All in all a busy day.
I decided rather than work on Rose Hips all day yesterday, to take the morning off. I loaded up my rug hooking gear and headed to Wascana Creek to do some Plein Air hooking.
Plein Air hooking is similar to Plein Air painting. The artists would take their paints, canvases, easels, and equipment to the outdoors and hook what was in front of them, without the aid of a camera or other devices. It usually means making a quick sketch of what you see and then, in the case of rug hooking, using what worms (fabric strips) you’ve brought with you to hook. You may or may not have the correct colour, so improvising is sometimes required. I required a lot of it!
It was a great morning – bright and sunshiny with a cool breeze. I parked in the shade and started on this scene…
The end result was nothing to write home about, but it is a beginning. It is a small study, as most of my plein air pieces are. It will be enlarged into a bigger studio piece in the future. I have a couple I would like to work on.
After arriving back home I picked up Rose Hips and struggled with the leaves. I’m still not sure about them. I just don’t like the colour yellow I’ve chosen. I will play with them yet. I want to try the gold again, only stick to one value in the leaf and see if that helps.
WIP Rose Hips
What’s happening otherwise? I did turn down the latest exhibit. I had initially expressed an interest, but I have decided I am doing enough for now. Five exhibits in one year is enough.
One event that is coming up Friday, the 19th of June, at 7 PM, is the Dimensions 2015 opening night. I have friends whose work was accepted, and so I will try to attend. It is the night before I leave to head west for a memorial service in Alberta, but I am planning to be packed by then and able to go to the opening. I am hoping one of my friends wins an award. But we shall see.
I received a welcome package of linen backing the other day from the States. I was disappointed to see what customs and the exchange rate did to the price of my package though. My backing is now $50/metre!
Thought I’d post a photo of my new Bee Line Townsend cutter with it’s large blade on. Makes life so much easier! My back is very thankful.
This is my work area. You can see I’ve been busy with the cutter! Lots to hook on these days…including a larger studio version of this plein air piece…
I thought my readers might like to see the finished Sauder Village pieces. I have actually altered Above the Garage a bit since this photo was taken. There is now a lot less trunk and a lot more leaves!
Finished this wall hanging earlier this week.
Finishing a knitted hat today.
Checking out my new baby — the wool cutter.
Waiting for the electrician to put together my kitchen.
I seem to be creating a larger version of my earlier geranium plein air piece. This is 10″ x 15″. I am happy with all but the leaves. I am thinking I have too many colours in there and not enough definition. Hmm…
I worked a bit on the Christmas ornaments today. Not much. Just sewed on ribbons.
Tried to work on my hardanger bellpull, but lost the thread! I know I put it someplace safe. Sigh. Old age is creeping up folks! (Later: found it under some stuff by my chair…seriously need to pick up around here!)
Pulling out my old rug hooking course notes to see if I can glean some new ideas.
The lower kitchen cabinets are in and look lovely. The kitchen installers are waiting for the countertop so they can put that in. It should arrive with them on Monday. Then they will install the rest of the kitchen.
It did not warm up enough Saturday to hook outside, but it did Sunday! I spent part of the afternoon enjoying the beautiful sunshine and hooking this little piece. It is very small and simple. I learned a long time ago to Keep It Simple Sweetheart when it comes to plein air work. Notice the absence of power and telephone lines. I plan to hook a larger, and better, version of this.
I am hoping it warms up so I can do more plein air hooking. I have a chair and end table on the back patio just waiting for me. 🙂
If it does not warm up I will be working more on the Prairie Sky series for Etsy. It seems to be going a lot slower than anticipated. I find fall is a busy time of year for me and for our household.
One of the activities keeping me busy is a de-cluttering of the house, especially my work spaces. I am somewhat hampered by my friend and partner in crime not being around right now, and by Hubby’s hand being injured. Means no help moving furniture to rearrange work spaces.
One of the fruits of de-cluttering was being able to take my cast-offs to the church for an Abundance Sunday. The church collected everyone’s cast-offs and is donating them to charity. I like it when I can bless others with stuff I no longer need.