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!

 

A Sales Day!

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.

In My Studio…

Sorry for the late post this week folks.  Managed a few things last couple of weeks.  I finished re-reading “Vacations for the Spirit” by Alan Walker.  Also designed another poetry wall hanging based on a poem my youngest daughter wrote when she was sixteen.

I am currently hooking “Escapees”, my nasturtium wall hanging.  I will be working on it more this coming week.

I am also knitting a shawl from Sea Turtle Lagoon DK yarn,  I only had one skein of bright blue and bright green to work with, so it will be a very bright and interesting striped shawl.  But I love bright colors.

Mostly I am getting outdoors and enjoying the sunshine.  Hubby has been re-laying our front walkway after it was torn up for a sewer and water line replacement a couple years ago.  I’ve been helping and cheering him on.  We’ve been resetting field stone borders and back filling with dirt.  Also spending time getting quotes on work to be done on the house.

I am also culling through our belongings and selling them or giving them away.  We have lived here over 20 years and it shows when you walk through the house!  There is more stuff here than we reasonably need or want.  In the process of culling through things I am also reorganizing things to take up less space.  Hubby and I are wanting to downsize from our big old house in a year or so.  It’s a good time to be getting rid of things.

And…in the news…I am in the Top 60 Rug Hooking Blogs worldwide according to Feedspot!  Pretty cool, eh?!

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Painted Desert Shawl pattern by Karen Klein. Sea Turtle Lagoon DK yarn.

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