Thursday, April 9, 2015

Little Hooking. Much Bragging.

The two weeks since we came home from Barbados are a total blur. Re-entry is difficult at the best of times, but this year it has been exceedingly bumpy.

We had no sooner landed "in the woods" than we needed to turn around and head back. A broken bridge for Rick that couldn't be totally fixed in B'dos resulted in a marathon day of dentist appointments last week. Two implants and a crown will replace the bridge - for an amount of money that could seriously build a REAL bridge. Yikes, why didn't we all become dentists!!

Then a 30th birthday celebration followed by the Easter Bunny visit - and we have spent an inordinate amount of our time back in the car.  And the treks will continue for the rest of the month.
Add a lot of work (the freelance variety) to that mix and I have not pulled a single loop!!

Luckily for me, others have been hooking, so I get to do some bragging.

I have always said that the best things about being a rug hooking teacher is the students who come into your life. Luckily for me, many of them keep in touch long after the class is over or the teaching is done. And here are two examples of exactly that.

The first is a student, another Wendy, who came to my classes in Toronto where I co-taught with my pal Elaine.  I have been lucky to see Wendy at a few hooking events since I left 5 years ago, and it is always nice to give and receive a hug from her.

Last week, she emailed me and attached a picture of a little sheep mat she did. The pattern was from Donna Grudnik and Wendy said she loved hooking this curly sheep. It is her new favourite subject after cats, and I think it will be the first of many.

The next person to contact me was my friend Lori, who lives here in Parry Sound. She is the person who came to a Magdalena Briner Eby primitive class without ever having pulled a loop. That is pretty brave, but not only did she finish that first project, but she has gone on to completed a bevy of projects since. This is a piece she did for her sister. I helped a tiny bit with the design, but as usual with Lori, she was off and running. She is a thrifty hooker who believes in recycled wool as much as possible. I love that! I think she did an amazing job - and more importantly, so does her sister.

I am hoping that in the next while, I will get back into my frame and hook. But in the meantime, the bragging is almost as good. I love having people share these wonderful projects, so that I can in turn share them with you.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Does Hooking in Colour take the Zen out of Zentangle?

The past few days have continued to be very rainy, so I was able to get quite a bit done on my Zentangle mat.  As my friend Elizabeth Martel says on her blog  hooking Zentangles is a big learning curve. Each of the "tangles" is an element unto itself and finding a way to have the piece feature the different elements in a cohesive way is a big challenge when it comes to the introduction of colour.

I am feeling the same way. I love all the different elements and am happy with the result, but tying the tangles and the colours together so that they create a pleasing overall affect is not easy. There is a bit of trial and error involved. (Part of me still believes the true beauty of this Zentangle form is the black and white - where nothing catches the eye more than anything else. But I also believe that the colour does bring it alive.)

Since I have finished most of mine - and am actually running out of the supplies that I brought with me to finish the outstanding items, I decided to try doing a bit of a hit and miss border around the outside. And I think it is working.

What it is doing for me is bringing the very strong rainbow colours from the biggest motif to other areas of the matt that don't have those colours. So hopefully, when I am done, the border will encourage the eye to travel through the mat and not get stuck somewhere.

Certainly from an "art rule" point of view, it has the verticals, horizontals and diagonals - and I find that the beaded black and white line creates a nice pathway, but I really think this multi-colour edging will help pull all the colours to the outside.

I am also happy that my dominant tangle - which is called Jessicup, but I feel looks like rainblow coloured flying fish - will remain the star of the stage, which is what I was going for.

Amazing exercise and I highly recommend both the Zentangle discipline and then the hooking of some motifs to anyone who wants to experiment with shape and colour. Such fun and so individual.
This will be the first of many for me, I think.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hooking through unsettled weather.

I know I won't get any sympathy from those of you enduring gazillion below zero temps and a ton of snow, so I won't even try. I will just say that a long period of unsettled weather here in Barbados - accompanied by sea swells that inhibit ocean swimming - have encouraged me to hook a bit on my Zentangle-inspired project.

I have learned a lot about Zentangle while I have been here. Like how popular it is. It reminds me of what I call "new car syndrome". When you get a new car, suddenly you notice how many others there are on the road. Same thing with this phenomenon. Everywhere I look now and everyone I talk to is either doing it or knows someone who is. I guess I am a little late to the party, but a happy participant all the same.

The next thing I have learned is how different "Zentagle-inspired" art is from pure black and white Zentangle. The minute colour comes into play, it is a totally different game. And nothing demonstrates that more than the project which I am currently hooking.

Here is the black and white design on the backing:

And here is the progress - with colour - to date:

I really like the coloured tangles - they are very reflective of what inspired them - the colours and the shapes all represent things that are around me here. But the pure graphic feel of the black and white is very powerful.  It would be an interesting exercise to hook this as a black and white after completing the colour one. Not sure I will do it, but you never know.

Today is the "one month to go" date, which is better than the "one week" or "one day" date. Lots of friends have left or are leaving this week, so the gang on the deck at the beach club will be a bit thinner in the next while. Still lots of people we have come to know over the years coming here. And probably a bit more relaxing.

Keep warm everyone. And please try to have all this silliness over with by the time we come back.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Three Weeks Gone and So Are the Kids.

It's amazing how time really does fly when you are having fun!

And fun is the understatement. Last week our daughter, son-in-law and grandson arrived for 10 days and they returned to that crazy climate on Wednesday this week. What a treat it was! Our son-in-law hadn't been here before and was totally bewitched by this lovely island. Little Jackson was the hit of the "hood", with a horde of honorary grandparents. And he left with - well, just everyone who met him - besotted. He loves people and they love him back. It seems very quiet now with him gone.

Here are a few pics of the fun that was had by all.

The first picture is of me with Jackson - solo for a day, while mom, dad and grandpa went on a sailing adventure. Kris (son-in-law) declared it the BEST DAY EVER! And Jackson and grandma had a pretty nice time hanging out at the pool.

The next picture is of the other three returning from their day on Sin-Bad. It was definitely a great day and I will get my turn on the boat before we leave here.

It is very quiet now with them gone, so perhaps I might just start pulling some loops, once I decide what to work on.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Fitting Mat to Feature

It is now the 10th day since our arrival in Barbados. Man, time sure does fly when you are having fun. We have crammed lots in but are trying to pace ourselves and save some special places and pastimes to meter out over our stay.

I think when I was at the airport hotel the night before we left, I received an email from Diana, one of my students in Edmonton. She was sending me her finished piece from the Photo to Mat class. And she gave me permission to share it with you.

It is such a sweet mat of her grandson. And coincidentally, my grandson Jackson is arriving here on Monday with his parents. I am sure that many of the pictures I take of him will look exactly like this little fellow.

Tomorrow, a group of us who are all rug hookers from Ontario are getting together for a Zentangle session. I first learned about them when I was out west and have been doing a few of them since I arrived. Although it is very early in my journey, I am finding it very calming and a perfect thing to do here. And I can see why so many people enjoy doing them. Now that I am aware of them, they seem to be everywhere.

These early explorations have been done in pen instead of the preferred fine point marker and pencil, but I can already see how you can create movement and shape within the shapes. My ultimate goal is to try to interpret this into a hooked piece.

I am hoping that once I do a few more, I can find shapes that capture the beauty here - of the sea, sky, sand and water. And that is what I am planning on doing with my worms that I showed a couple of posts ago.

Whatever the outcome, it is a wonderful way to de-stress (not that there is very much stressful about this beautiful place).

On this morning's coffee walk, we finally saw a family of green monkeys and I took lots of pictures.
This is another thing that might just have to be incorporated into that mat somehow.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Sneak Peak

Not sure if everyone is aware that Jennifer Manuell has undergone a transformation from Fish Eye Rugs to FISH EYE SISTERS with her sister Sandra. If you haven't seen anything yet, go here to see what they are up to.

When you get there, you will see lots of eye candy in the gorgeous photographs and also a link for their newsletter and their Instagram page.  They are definitely a dynamic duo and we will all benefit from the fruits of their labours and their awesome creativity.

I have been lucky enough to be their "fresh eyes" cum editor of two new pattern booklets they will be offering soon. Both are based on Jennifer's foray into Ewe Fuse, her proprietary method of fusing wool pieces to make fabric and then create outstanding original pieces.

The sisters gave me permission to do a screen capture of the covers of the booklets, so that I could tickle your curiosity and you can make sure you get notified when they are available.

They are extremely well written, very detailed and step-by-step (even for the logically challenged such as myself) and will produce results that will be awe inspiring for you and the folks who admire your creations.

Congratulations Fish Eye Sisters.  I think you have the start of something HUGE.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Warm Weather Worms

On our upcoming trip to Holetown in Barbados, there will be a number of rug hookers in our little "Canadian contingency". We agreed to bring some rug hooking supplies with us this year, for those rainy days when you really need to stay indoors - or at least in shelter.

Needless to say the 29 degree temperatures are not conducive to sitting under burlap or even linen - nor to holding wool strips in your hands, so I am putting together what I want to touch when in is warm and humid.  So my worm pile is made from lots of different dyed panty hose, some jersey fabric, some sari silk and some miscellaneous fabric and ribbon I have hanging about. My backing will be a piece of Monk's cloth left over some something - I think punch needle.

As you can see, the colour palette actually has quite a Caribbean feel. Not my usual colours when hooking at home for our colder climates. Sea, sky, bright florals. I just seem to be missing some palm tree greens. Think I will throw some panty hose into the dye pot this afternoon.

Everything in Barbados is brighter - clothing, house colours, artwork - even nature itself. In fact, many of the pieces of art that we admire there would look very out of place in our home - unless we had a Caribbean room (which is not a bad thought).

I have no idea what I will hook when I am there, but may opt for Susan Feller's method of doing a series of small studies, which could perhaps be joined together to make a "dreaming of Barbados" piece.  If you are not familiar with Susan's amazing work, please take some time to go and see her work. She is truly inspirational. I am a huge fan.

Or, I may just hook freeform - laid back and relaxed - like the culture itself. It's nice to not have anything specific planned.  No rules. No restrictions. Just do what you like.

Meanwhile, here in Parry Sound, as I stare out the studio window today, it continues to snow snow snow snow snow. It has been relentless, since our return from the city on New Year's Day. So dreaming of sea and sand is kind of a nice way to spend the afternoon.