Saturday Review

I worked on Ripening Saskatoons this week.

I prepared for the class next weekend.

I had no car this week, and so couldn’t go out to do some plein air hooking.  Well, not away from the house. It was just as well.  It’s been smoky and hot and I’ve just been trying to survive.

No movement on the portfolio.  I’m so far behind I’m not sure where to start!

In non-rug hooking activities, I managed to start and am almost finished knitting a baby sweater…which accounts for my lack of rug hooking this week.  I have one sleeve and the collar to go.  🙂

In my studio

Work in Progress "Ripening Saskatoons"

Work in Progress “Ripening Saskatoons”

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. 🙂

In My Studio…

"Ripening Saskatoons"

“Ripening Saskatoons”

This week is going to be a mixed bag.  Hubby is off work for 3 1/2 days.  I have a long list of things we need to do together, and a number of people to touch base with this week.  However…

I am going to start Ripening Saskatoons without dyeing and see if I have enough fibre to pull it off.  It’s a lot of greens.  But then, I have an entire cupboard full of them!  We’ll see how it works out tomorrow.  I’ll see if I have time to pull out fibre and colour plan it.

I did not manage to finish the class kits yet.  I ran the wool through the wool cutter this morning and will finish the yellows today.  I need to put together an email to send out to people who are interested in classes.

I also need to do the delightful job of going to talk to the bank…and deposit some cheques.  That is always nice. 🙂

I need to re-assess where I’m at and what needs to be done before fall.

I also need to work on my portfolio.

I think that’s enough for now.

Saturday Review

Okra - 12

Okra – 12″ x 12″ – $150 CAD

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. 🙂 rose-hips-1This week’s main achievement was to finish Rose Hips.

Wascana Creek

Wascana Creek

Aside from that I managed a bit of plein air hooking by the creek.

I spent a lot of time preparing for our trip.

fabric-4-kitsI 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

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 <jo6865@gmail.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.  🙂

Monday Meanderings

spring-fabricsIt must be spring!  I’m a bit excited and addled.  It occurred to me as I re-read my “Saturday Review” that it was not much of a review!  Informative, yes, a review, no.  So here’s the overall lowdown.

Last week was a good week in a lot of ways.  I was able to network with a lot of different people.  I enjoy that part of being an artist.  I also enjoy creating.  I do not enjoy the business part so much, but I am learning to.  I love the challenge it presents, and I keep trying to think analytically about things to try, how to price and sell my work.  I guess what I have the most difficulty with is actually dealing with the numbers.

  • I was able to fold my greeting cards.  
  • I did hem Okra and finish off Prairie Sunset.  
  • I tried to buy mailing tubes the right size for my Dimensions 2015 entries, but came up empty handed.  Apparently Staples is sold out of the size I need.  
  • I was able to send four small wall hangings “On Approval” to another area of the province.  
  • I hooked some on Goldfish, and 
  • started a 12″ square Prairie Sky wall hanging. 

 This past weekend I spent more time on my business plan.  It is taking on a life of its own!  I split my expenses and income into different categories and recorded them on different colour tags to hang from my business collage.  I added all kinds of information to the collage itself.  It’s growing crowded. 

 I also spent time at an Etsy 101 workshop put on by Etsy Saskatchewan.  In the process I learned a bit about Instagram.  Now to put what I learned into practice, and still make time to hook wall hangings. 

 Sunday I attended the closing of Moved by the Spirit with a friend.  It was held at the Luther College Chapel at the University of Regina.  Some very nice works there.  I especially liked Louise Tessier’s Garden Way of the Cross, Peace Be With You by Roberto Lopez Lopez, and The Ascension by Jenny Ward. On my plate this week is:

  • the 12″ square Prairie Sky wall hanging,
  • the business plan,
  • uploading some swatches to Etsy,
  • finding a CARFAC member to sign my Certificate of Origin forms for Sauder Village,
  • figure out the necessary lamp arrangement for taking photos of my work for my portfolio.

Good news!  The small Prairie Sky wall hangings my friend took on approval all sold!  ? 

Now onto that 12″ x 12″ Prairie Sky.

WIP-PS-12x12

Happy New Year!

Hope everyone is having a Happy New Year!  We chilled out with some Costco appetizers and carbonated juice New Year’s Eve.  🙂

I’ve been busy the last 24 hours.  It’s been good and bad.  The bad first…

  • We bought ink cartridges, came home and found two were broken?!
  • My website is down. Sigh…
  • Hubby was in a car accident.  But the good thing is no one was hurt, just the vehicles.
  • While we enjoyed a movie and a fire in the fireplace New Year’s Eve, our kitchen pipes froze.

Most of that happened by noon hour, so the boarder and I decided about 2 PM to crack out the appetizers even though hubby was still at work.  Yes, he drove our broken car to work.

The good news?

  • I finished making a list of next actions and plugging them into a mindmap,
  • I actually accomplished a few of them,
  • I applied for an exhibit,
  • I found out when the CVAF Street Fair is and blocked it off on my calendar,
  • Determined Bazaart and Dimensions 2014 information are not up on the Internet yet,
  • Updated my portfolio,
  • Organized my rug hooking class notes,
  • I baked Welsh cakes for hubby for New Year’s.  He loves them!
  • Watched camera video tutorials on YouTube
  • Found another exhibit that might suit my work,
  • Pulled together my receipts and material for my accountant.

I still need to organize the tax stuff, but it’s altogether in one place…I think.  That is good.  So while hubby is busy thawing out the kitchen pipes I think I will go back to working on the budget to see where and when we can fit in that kitchen renovation…

More rugs :)

Tree-5 Tree-7Three more rugettes finished the last two days.  Two and a half more to go.  Something to work on during Wintergreen.

I also need to string one more popcorn garland.  And finish updating my portfolio.  It will be a busy day today. 🙂  I have a lot of work to do on the portfolio. 🙂

This morning I am off to a meeting at the school board with a couple and their daughter.  They are newcomers to Canada and need someone there who can understand English and explain it to them later.  It will be interesting.  The woman we are talking with bit my head off in an earlier phone conversation last week.  Could get tense.  If you are the praying sort, I could use some prayers!  No one said helping new immigrants to Canada would be easy though.

Texture-VI

In my studio this week…

Time to finish hooking the ornaments this week.  With luck and concentration I should be able to block them as well and start the process for finishing.

I will mail out the free passes to Wintergreen after Halloween.  I already gave out 60 $1 off coupons to get in for the weekend.  I do not know if they will be used, but I did ask people if they were not going to use them to please pass them onto someone who would.

I also need to get my act in gear and update my portfolio before the sale.

Plus I need to visit the bank to make sure everything is okay with my Square account.

Hmm…I should visit the local wholesale craft store to get a membership so I can buy some bags for Wintergreen, and some wrapping tissue to place around the the rugs when they sell.

I have to start thinking about how I want to set up the booth too.  Time to pull out some graph paper and have at it.

Hmm…lots to do this week…better get at it!

I am over 40

And I can tell it.  I had the car today and everything.  I went shopping.  And get this, I FORGOT to pick up staples for the staple gun to finish making my hangers for my rugs!  I just really feel ‘senior’ sometimes…  Ah well, back to updating my portfolio…

Another Snow Day!

It’s snowing and blowing outside.  The white fluffy stuff has covered the ground yet again.  All highways but one leading into Regina were closed earlier this morning.  And that one left open had a “Not Recommended for Travel” warning on it.  I have friends on that road, trying to get to an airport.  I wish them well and pray for their safety.  As for the rest of us…we might get spring.  Right now we are all hoping we go right into summer!

I am busy updating my portfolio yesterday and today.  I was creating hanging systems for the rest of my rugs, but ran out of staples for the staple gun.  As soon as I can have the car (hubby takes it to work most days) I will go out and buy more staples.

Meanwhile…it’s back to updating my portfolio… 🙂

Portfolios Revisited

portfolio-picHi everyone.  I took the time today to post another video, this time on portfolios.  My portfolio in particular.  It is not the “be all and end all” in portfolios (or videos!), that is for sure, but it is what I have now.

Rug Hooking Portfolios

The approach you take to your portfolio depends partly on whether it is for the public or  private use.  Mine is largely private for now.  But I am trying to develop one that can be versatile enough for both uses.

In addition to adding an artist statement, it would be beneficial to add any newspaper clippings or magazine articles about your work if you have them.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the video.

Frustration

I have decided I need to carry a small photo album in my purse – a small photo album or booklet of some samples of my hooking.

Why am I going to do this?  Because it seems every week someone asks “What kind of work do you do?”  They have no idea what rug hooking is, or cannot imagine what I do that might be different.

Does anyone else do this? Hmm… a person could get creative about this.

This is major for me.  It means I will have to start carrying a larger purse.  My small one just will not fit this too.  I need a slightly larger one to carry a sketch pad anyway.  Hmm…I think I am in the market for a new purse!

Heritage Hooking

East-meets-West-1

Sometimes hooking is inadvertently passed down from one generation to the next.  This rug was started by my grandmother, hooked on by my mother, and presented to me by my father with the question “Could you finish hooking this for me?” fifty years after it was started.  My grandmother learned rug hooking and taught it to my mother.  I learned rug hooking many years later from my sister-in-law’s mother, not realizing my mother or grandmother had ever hooked rug.

As I was working on the central floral motif in our city arts center, a man came into the room and asked about the rug.  He claimed it was an interesting mix of eastern and western rug hooking styles.  At the time I had no idea we had eastern and western styles of rug hooking in Canada.  He claimed the geometric border was typical of the east, and the floral center a typical western style.  He collected rugs and was quite interested in knowing the history of the rug and where it was going.  I sadly told him it was on fifty year old burlap and heading back to my father.

Fifty year old burlap is a dicey thing to hook on.  Often it is brittle, especially if kept in a dry climate.  But this was stored in a damp, drafty old Nova Scotia farmhouse for most of its years.  The burlap was surprisingly supple to work with and only came apart in a couple of places, requiring mending.

Today I am at my father’s and taking photos of the rug for my portfolio.  There is a certain sense of a circle completed.  A rug finished.  A reconnection with my grandmother and mother, both long gone now.  Sometimes rug hooking is like that.

It’s Up!

CREATE-in-situ

Finally had to get hubby to help put this up today.  I tried to do it myself, but our ceilings are too high and I am just too short!  These are plaster walls and we needed to use finishing nails to hang these letters in the end.  It looks good from the door of the room.  It will hopefully provide me some joy and motivate me to create.

Heard back from the lady who knew all the photographers.  Was given the names and contact information for two of them.  One, it turns out, is a neighbor!  Not only that, but he’s taken photos of my daughters before.  Hmm…I actually didn’t contact him though.  I opted for the young lady just starting her photography business.  Our neighbor is very experienced and, I suspect, more expensive than I want to pay.  He also does more outdoor photography.  The young lady is an artist and photographs artwork, so I think she’ll do a good job for my portfolio shots.

Portfolios

Tonight I worked on updating my rug hooking portfolio.  I try to keep up with this as each rug is finished, but it is difficult.  Truth be told, I dread taking photographs of my rugs.  I am not a very good photographer!  Even with the help of PhotoShop Elements.

Every good artist needs a portfolio, and rug hooking artists are no different.  While I’ve seen a fair number of visual arts portfolios, the challenge for me came in developing a suitable portfolio for rug hooking.  In looking around online I found Rachel LeBlanc’s bio and the bio of other rug hooking artists to be of interest.  But a bio does not a portfolio make.  It is just a small part of it.  So I looked to other visual artists.

Portfolios seem to consist of a few key elements:

  • artist statement,
  • photos of work and information related to the work,
  • resume and/or bio, and
  • copies of any related certificates.

If one is fortunate enough and has remembered to keep them, any media releases related to their work are good to tuck in page protectors at the back of the portfolio as well.

One of the key issues with a portfolio is to acquire excellent photos of your work.  I suffer in this category.  I am trying to make do with an amateur setup that is not working up to my expectations.  Given a choice, I’d take my work to a professional photographer.  But times as they are, and money what it is, I improvise.  In the summer I set up my work on a white foam core background outdoors on an overcast day and take my shots.  I have yet to devise a system for winter, but will have to very soon!

The information sheet facing the rug photo might include: the title, designer, hooking artist (you), date finished, dimensions, materials used, dyes used, why you hooked the piece, and who owns the piece.  Portfolios can be divided into original designed and hooked pieces, and pieces designed by other people that you have hooked.  If your portfolio starts getting too thick (more than a 1 1/2″ binder), maybe only include your best original designs.

A resume or bio for a rug hooking artist usually includes only your art related information.  It often starts with your education, and includes:

  • related work experience,
  • volunteer work in the arts,
  • workshops given,
  • exhibitions and demonstrations,
  • awards,
  • memberships, and
  • online activity (if relevant and you feel like sharing).

If you want to include copies of certificates at the back, go ahead.  Though they are kind of redundant as your resume already gives your education.  If you have to make a choice of something to leave out, this would be it in my opinion.  If someone sees your portfolio and reads the resume, and then asks for further proof, then you can produce the certificates.  In all honesty, I’ve never known this to happen to any artists I’ve talked with.  I think it’s sufficient to keep the certificates (if any) together and filed safely at home where you can easily access them if need be.

And that exhausts what I know about portfolios.  Anyone with more experience, please add your comments below.  I’m always open to improving my portfolio.