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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!