Thursday, May 21, 2015

Creative Inspiration

While all the purging and packing is happening, although I can't really sit down and work on my own stuff, I CAN take the time with my morning coffee to be inspired by other creators.

This morning, I came across this amazing embroidery artist

I can't even remember how I found her, but her work is incredible. She considers herself an artist for whom floss is her paint and her needle is her brush. And most of her pieces involve some machine embroidery, like the  cactus here, plus some long stitch embroidery painting.

On her blog, after reading through a number of posts, I  came across a TED talk about cross stitch by a man who calls himself Mr. Xstitch whose site is here. He is an excellent speaker and presents a fine explanation about the "art vs craft" debate and his three factors for determining which is which.

Like most other artists today, he also has a facebook page and a pinterest page, so you can see lots of images there.

My early morning coffee time was made so much better by spending time with these two artists. And I feel inspired to get on with my day of more purging. I hope you take the time to visit both of these sites and enjoy the inspiration they provide.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

More Purging, Packing and Loyalist Planning

I keep telling myself that the worst part of the purging is nearly done. My hubby did an awesome job on the garage, which is good because most of what I earmarked from the basement for "garage sale" has to move out there.

I made myself a "purge" calendar with assigned tasks for each day of May. Some days I do more than one of the places, which is great - I end up with more days of the month lol. And some things are starting to get packed already (even though June is supposed to be packing month).

Rick's books are the #1 item on his list and he is making great progress with the packing. He got 125 boxes for his books and isn't sure that will be enough. His hard-cover book addiction can give my fibre addiction a run for its money, any day of the week. When I asked if he had purged any, he said "yes". Funny that his purging is mostly all my gardening books. Oh well.

This is the only picture that looks like any progress is being made in the studio. The top shelf of my wire unit is now empty of yarn - five full boxes all managed to fit into one tall box. I have also gone through all pieces of furniture and gotten rid of things I don't want to take, so the packing should go quickly.

The wool and hooking stuff can't be packed until the very end as my poor students are dreading my departure and want to keep coming until the moving truck pulls out the driveway.

Since I go to set my classroom up at Loyalist College the day after we move, I am trying to get all of my prep work done well ahead of the packing. And then to make sure that all my class materials are not mixed in with the other hooking things.

If you don't know about Loyalist's Summer Arts Program, here's a link to their catalogue where you can see all the courses offered. This year, in addition to all the other wonderful courses, they are having a hooking week from July 13 - 16, with four classes and a one-day dye workshop. It should be lots of fun.

At least one of my students is doing a mat from a photo, and when I went to put her photo into my favourite online photo editing site, I found out that befunky has done a big "improvement". I was really used to the old platform, so found the new one a bit trickier to navigate. Also found out that many more effects are only available with the "Upgrade". And my teaching sheets feature screen captures from the site, so I will have to do a total re-do of those. Not something that was in the calendar.

And doing this class planning is a nice bright spot and a relief from the purge/pack/purge rhythm.

Friday, May 8, 2015

The Purge Before Packing

We have sold. And we have bought. So we are leaving Parry Sound for Peterborough - on July 10th.

The studio has become "purge central", mostly because it is next to the basement, which needs the most purging, but also because there is a good sorting table. And this is what the "chaos before the order" looks like. I have a pile to move, a pile to shred, a pile to get rid of. And a pile for "I don't know what pile to put this in yet".  There is also a spreadsheet on the computer to remind me where I put everything.

Because much of what is on the table was packed up and moved here 5 years ago - and never looked at again - I went through two big rubbermaid bins marked "Office Supplies" to see what was really in there. Enough printer paper and three hole punched paper that I will never have to buy again. That missing box of #10 envelopes I couldn't find. Four boxes of staples - and the four staplers. Several trips down memory lane including finding my kids' immunization records - they are 32 and almost 29. Also a Christmas tin full of cassettes, despite the fact that we have nothing to play cassettes on anymore. So, I do believe that this purge will all be worth it in the end.

To try to maintain a bit of balance, I am allowing myself a bit of hooking time in the early mornings, before I get down to work. I just bring my coffee in here, along with my blinders, and sit for a bit. On my frame right now is a sign - lettering is all done - just a show binding left to do and it will be ready to give as a gift.

The good news at the end of all of this is there is another studio space waiting on the other end of the move!!! And the good news/bad news is that the day after we move, I go to set up a classroom to teach a Wide Cut class during Rug Hooking Week (July 13-17) in the Summer Arts Program at Loyalist College.  If you go to look, scroll down the page and you will find the information on the right hand side.

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.