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.
It’s pattern making time! I spent the weekend going through my sketchbooks, scanning sketches, and enlarging some for patterns for more wall hangings. This week I’ll be putting them on backing. Time to finish a few series and design some new.
I’m prepping fibre for more hooking on my South Korea rug. I’d like to hook more, smaller images for a series there. But don’t know if I will.
I finished the Ken doll clothes and they’re on their way to their new owner today.
Recent books I’m enjoying:
Rug Hooking with Fancy Fibers – Gail Dufresne
Rug Money – Mary Anne Wise & Cheryl Conway-Daly
Recent podcasts I’m enjoying:
Fiber Nation by Interweave Press
I hope everyone has a great week! I’ll have a much longer post come Friday. Take care everyone!
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!
Today is my last post before Easter holidays. It’s been a mixed up week for my blog, what with the router going and the snowstorm interfering with my plans for an outside photo shoot again. However I did manage to work some more on Blue-eyed Grass, as you can see above.
I did cruise through another sketchbook, but I have not scanned more sketches into my computer for editing yet. I am deep in debate with myself over what direction to take my work. I seem to have two streams going: realistic work based on nature, and abstract…also most often based on nature, but not necessarily.
This angst is holding me back in starting new pieces. This is part of being an artist. I just have to continue my work and let it decide my future I think.
I was able to finish removing the colour from the nylons. It required a trip to Micheals for more RIT colour remover, but I did find a couple of packages. I started hooking Blue-eyed Grass this week. I’m afraid I did not accomplish much, but it’s a start.
I didn’t accomplish much because I also took time to go through my sketchbooks and scan in potential images for future wall hangings. I also edited them and resized them into something that might approximate a wall hanging. Note, these are not small 6″ square wall hangings. They are larger ones.
That’s about it from here for this week. Not much, but it’s something. Spring is in the air and I’m busy cleaning out the basement at the moment. We’re preparing for the new boarder come the end of April. We have a ways to go to make room for him. 🙂
This week will be a busy one for me. We have company till Tuesday. We will be celebrating Hubby’s birthday tonight…for the third time this weekend. We’ve had a fair bit of company. 🙂
This week I’m hoping to remove the remaining colour from the nylons. Last week I managed to get them to a pale yellow. But I am after white, so there will be more colour removal yet.
I also managed to scan sketches of potential wall hangings into the computer. I have them on my laptop, and did the editing and re-sizing this weekend. I’ll print them off to put on backing as I work on them one by one. Usually I draw directly on backing for my wall hangings. But these are more detailed pieces that I want to maintain element placement and scale, so I am going the long route to putting them on backing.
I also hope to go out on more walks and photo shoots of the neighbourhood for more inspiration. I love capturing moments in time with my camera. Though I am still a bit self-conscious about using it. It’s not a cell phone camera, but a big DSLR camera.
Other activities this week? I am hoping to start the actual hooking of Blue-eyed Grass.
I finished Sprouts. And I started Blue-eyed Grass.
I removed most of the colour from the nylons, but need more RIT colour remover to finish the job.
I scoured my sketchbooks for more wall hanging ideas. Will transfer some on backing today, as I still have to wait to pick up the RIT colour remover. I will be spending some time sketching as well today.
I was to the opening of the Art Gallery of Regina 40th Salon Show this week. It was a great evening celebrating a diversity of styles of art and craft. My work showed well and I was pleased with how it was hung. A big shout out to the people who made it happen.
It’s a nice sunny, warm day here today, and I hope to go outside with my camera. Nothing like a little spring inspiration.
Today is technically a holiday here in Saskatchewan, Canada. It’s Family Day weekend, meaning we have Monday off to spend with family. My family does not live nearby, so I will not be spending much time with them. Instead, I’m going to work on a new piece.
I spent some time going through my sketchbooks with a friend this weekend and picked a couple of designs out to use up some pieces of odd sized backing I have laying around here. I prepped the backing, enlarged the drawing, and traced it onto backing. It was a lot of fun for my Saturday evening. 🙂
So today’s plan is to finish colour planning this wall hanging, which will hang over the archway in our dining room, and possibly start to hook it. Depends what Hubby has planned. Could be I end up helping him with chores.
Why do I do this to myself?! Yesterday I was side tracked by figuring out numbers for retirement. Hubby wants to retire soon, so I am crunching numbers to see how it will work. Plus researching retirement options. Spent most of yesterday afternoon on that.
In the evening I was on the phone. We had a great time, so all is good. I don’t do hand work in the evening anyway, due to the poor lighting in our house. I really need to phone the Canadian distributor for Ott light bulbs and buy a replacement for my lamp. I’m a bit nervous about a light bulb that expensive surviving the mail though! They are $65 each I’ve been told.
“The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide” by Dr. David Miklowitz. Good reading for anyone, let alone bipolar people. Helps you understand them a bit better. At least so far it’s helped me.
I also spent considerable time reading a library book called “The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide” by Dr. D. J. Miklowitz. Bipolar disorder is in my extended family. This appears to be a very good book that discusses not only bipolar, but illnesses that are close to it, and tells the reader how to determine the difference. It also gives many case studies and real life examples, which are helpful in understanding the illness better. There are also lots of quizzes to help a person determine where they stand. I’ve only finished the first four chapters. I am looking forward to reading this very worthwhile book.
Yesterday’s sketchbook pages. Still working on images from Craigdorrach Castle in Victoria, B.C.
In rug hooking yesterday:
I did manage to sketch for most of the morning,
block and press the hems in on the remaining Christmas ornaments, and
I prepared 4 more linings for them.
I need to prepare 8 more linings and sew them on. Today’s job, if I don’t get distracted, is to sew on the ribbon hangers and linings.
There were thousands of geese on this unnamed lake making an awful racket!
Lots happening now we’re back from vacation! Sunday was our 35th wedding anniversary. We had a blast! We live near the Qu’Appelle River valley. It’s a big valley that is home to many market gardens and a few quaint towns…one of which is Lumsden. So we headed out to check out the market gardens and found a treasure trove of autumnal images…
Then headed to the Chinese restaurant in Lumsden for a very delicious meal, before heading home via the back roads and a small town called Pense. We arrived home about time for tea and a nap.
We realized there was an art show on, so we hoofed to the Prairie Artist Guild’s Fall Show and Sale. It was the third day of the sale and most of the good work was already sold. But we were able to see some fine work, especially by Larry Jackson, a local watercolour artist.
In celebration of our anniversary we watched the first Star Wars movie that came out in the evening. It was released in 1977, but was one of the first movies Hubby ever took me to when we were dating in 1979/80.
All in all a great day!
Yesterday I was back into the swing of things. I took my Etsy shop off vacation mode, and posted ten more items for sale.
I also got back to sketching. No twist crayons here, so I’m using watercolour pencils. It feels a bit different. A bit messier to control. But still, it’s good practice to use different media.
I did finish Simply Modern before I arrived home Friday evening. 🙂 It’s a great book and I highly recommend it to people. Lots of images, ideas, and project ideas to work on! I appreciate the detailed instructions for various dyeing methods, and construction of pillows and purses. I also appreciated the section on style. Thanks Deanne! 🙂
Last week can be summed up as my reading week and sketching week. I took few photos, but did start to go through the copious photos I took out on the coast before, during, and after TIGHR Tri-ennial, translating them into simple sketches for future wall hangings.
Most of my week, which was in Edmonton, was spent visiting family and friends. I did manage to meet up with another rug hooker from TIGHR. We had a great time checking over each others work, chatting, and generally having a good time. I hope to meet her again some day.
Sketching doesn’t have to be great art. It just has to get the basic shapes and colours down. Sometimes not even that. I enjoy using my sketches as a base and “mixing it up” in my wall hangings.
Had a great time sketching more yesterday. Took photos of interesting designs and shapes in the place we are staying.
I also read more of Simply Modern. As well as more of Chronic Condition on Canada’s health care system.
We spent the evening visiting family and having a great time.
I am surrounded at Dad’s by lots of visual stimulation. Lots of ideas for hooked wall art, and just plain art in general. Lots of colour ideas too! Really, ideas are all around us everywhere. We just need to train our eyes to see them. It helps to have a healthy dose of “what if…?”
I spent time yesterday going through some photos I’ve taken on the trip and sketching them in very simplified form using basic Twist Crayons I found at my dad’s place. It’s been a while since I made time to sketch. I discovered lots of designs for wall hangings. I am going to have to do this on a regular basis. I am still suffering from too many ideas and not enough time to hook!
Yesterday we also hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for some of Hubby’s family at my dad’s. We did a quick shopping trip and had people coming bring something – a potluck Thanksgiving. We had way too much food, so I sent lots home with people.
Spent time organizing my week. Today will be another slow day. We’re heading off to visit some family. We’ll see what transpires beyond that. Maybe more sketching…
See these lovelies? Do they look hemmed? No? I did go to the gym yesterday, and had some welcome, but unexpected company at home. So today I will work on them.
My review for the week? I had a long chat with my mentor the other day. She gave me a lot of ideas to follow up on. Hopefully they will clarify the direction in which I would like to go.
My mind map has grown exponentially as a result. I decided to split the business mind map off from my personal one. I have been struggling with breaking things down into baby steps, but I managed to make a stab at it. Now I am slowly working through what priority to put on various activities.
I finished updating the titles on my Etsy shop JLT Studios. I have a stack of items to list online this coming week. I think I will list three a week. We shall see the response first.
My big achievement this week is to finally get my taxes in order and off to my accountant to figure out the PST I owe the government. Deadline to pay is the 20th. I still have to photocopy some credit card statements for my business records, but overall I am done…I think. My accountant sent me an email instead of a phone call. I like those better. 🙂
Hubby and I made the decision to go to Saskatoon for the opening reception of Our Prairie in Fibre on January 16th, from 7-9 PM. It is undecided whether we will come home that evening or not. A lot depends on road and weather conditions. My goal is to be home by noon hour Saturday, the 17th, so I can teach a new student to rug hook! 🙂
I put together the three fibre kits for my student to choose from next Saturday.
Hubby is off work and home today. I am hoping to fit in the gym, a tutoring session, and some hooking on the small Prairie Sky wall hangings.
I also have to think seriously about dyeing more fibre in preparation for the Christmas line…before the kitchen is ripped out and we have no water on the main floor.
When I was dyeing my yellows last week I found one of my favourite big enamel dye pots had sprung a leak. I am a bit sad, as those pots can be quite expensive these days. But honestly, it has lasted me almost 20 years, so I cannot complain! I will be looking for a replacement.
I have some phoning to do for a student for supplies, and I have possibly an appointment with a printer. I have been using MOO.com, which is great! But they are out of country. I would feel a lot more comfortable using someone nearby. We will see if the people I contacted will price match and give me the same quality cards and business cards.
Other than that, reading and sketching are in my plans. Hope everyone else has a wonderful Monday! 🙂
I have had a busy week. I managed to finish LostSoul and block it.Even received feedback from a few friends. So far the feedback is mostly positive. One person asked where I planned to exhibit it. I had to admit I had not thought about that yet. I am a bit nervous to exhibit it because it seems to elicit strong feelings from people. It was intended to hang with the poetry series I am doing, as they both actually have their genesis in our early homeschooling days. But we shall see.
I also hooked, reverse hooked, and then hooked again, parts of the sky on Prairie Sky. It looks a bit better, but I am still not happy with it. I will forge ahead and see what I can do. Truth be told, cloudscapes on a large scale are more difficult than I thought they would be. I have done plenty on a small scale, but for some reason this large one is eluding me. I am sure I will be doing considerable “tweaking” before I am finished.
I received an email requesting a class this weekend. I dyed fabric and prepared kits for the two women who will be coming today for a brief introductory class. This resulted in ordering supplies as well. Unfortunately only the hooks made it this week. The rest will not arrive till next week. I had not planned on teaching till Fall.
I connected with the two galleries that sell my work and asked them about future inventory needs. Good thing I did! They were very enthused about acquiring more work and sent me orders/lists of items they would like to see.
One gallery really wants some Christmas cards of my work. To that end I contacted a photographer to edit some of my photos for cards. I can do the editing, but am a bit nervous of the quality when it comes to doing cards. Said gallery was almost out of my regular cards, so I walked up to deliver some more.
I was on another walk today and stopped into the local yarn shop. Met a new rug hooker and her sister. The new rug hooker is looking for some supplies. I happen to have some to sell. We’ve made arrangements. Before I left she and her sister were talking about lessons, even though she really doesn’t need them again.
I am in need of a new cutter. To that end I chatted with hubby about the cost and where to take it from. My current cutter is okay most of the time. But if the humidity is high it tends to cut a little funny. At least I’m blaming it on the humidity. Sometimes it will cut me three perfect strips of fabric, and other times it will not cut the first strip the whole way through the fabric. Drives me crazy! And it slows down production. But a new cutter is going to be over $800 for what I want. So I will wait.
Tonight I started hooking more small Prairie Sky rugettes. One of the galleries has put in a request for twelve more. They sell well for me there. I am also planning ahead to hook 18 Christmas ornaments, at least, for the galleries.
I did manage some sketching and reading as well. Finally into the International Artist magazines.
I posted two more small rugs – poppy coasters actually – on Etsy.
I tried reprinting the label for Mud Fight and a few other rugs, and the ink still ran. I think I need to try new plastic backed fabric. This paper is a couple years old.
So that’s my week in review folks! Hope everyone has a fun weekend. I plan to. 🙂
I finished processing the bright orange yarn and it is dry. Yesterday I spun the variegated orange/gold/brown yarn and it is dry too. Yum!
I managed some hooking on the border of Lost Soul and some sketching as well.
I also updated my website. I have taken the galleries down from here on my blog and on the website. I am directing everyone to my Etsy shop. Keeping up all those galleries was too much work and they were always out of date as a result. I may do more with my website in the future. For now it directs people to different parts of the web where I am active.
I also edited my web page to be consistent with my Etsy shop and the rest of my online presence. It is easy to become too spread out on the web and lose track of what is written where. Hopefully I have clarified things for my readers.
This week was actually quite productive. I did manage to hook a fair bit on Lost Soul. I can smell the end of this wall hanging! Contemplating the finishing. I have never hooked on rug warp before, let alone in a #6 cut. I am a bit nervous the weight of the wool will pull it out of shape. I think I will reinforce it with cotton twill tape strapping on the back, before binding the edge.
I also managed to hook a bit on the large Prairie Sky wall hanging. I am having fun with it. I may need to dye some mid-tone blues for the sky, but we shall see.
I also put some more small Prairie Sky rugettes on backing to hook for sale. I notice going through my rugs that all my Winter and Spring series are either in shops or sold, but one each (both up on ETSY if you’re interested). So it looks like I will be hooking more of those! Thank-you for your support everyone! 🙂
I also need to start hooking the first of the Autumn series of rugettes to go with Winter, Spring, and Summer. Speaking of Summer, I sold both of those rugettes also. I will need to hook more of those as well.
And then there is Goldfish. Hmmm…lots of hooking to do yet before Christmas. 🙂 Also need to hook some ornaments. Trying to think of something different to do there.
I printed off the label for Mud Fight and Goldfish. I am not happy with how they look. The type seems like it ran a bit. I will iron them and see if I like them any better.
I also took photos of the remaining rugs that need to posted on ETSY. Posted two wall hangings this week. I think I will slow down on this, or I will be finding myself posting Christmas rugettes in summer!
The one thing I did not do this week was settle down to do some sketching. I think I work better with sketching ideas given to me. I’m going back into my online classes to see what ideas are there I can use.
One of the things I do when I hook is listen to podcasts. Aside from the Canadian classic the Vinyl Cafe, I discovered a new podcast lately called Creative Insurgents. I am really enjoying it.
Today I go to the gym. Normally I would go to Crafting too, but I am waiting on a plumber to finish installing a tap set in our basement bath. Had a chat with our boarder and asked her to please make sure she talks to me when there is a problem. Hubby is too distracted by work these days.