Friday, June 24, 2011

My Heavenly Time at Trent

I can't believe it is Friday already. The students and teachers at Trent School of Rug Hooking are enjoying their last day of classes. They will all head home either tonight or tomorrow. And they will have to wait "364 days to come back" as an older and much wiser hooker said to me my first year there.



The picture I am showing here is of Mary Janet Mustard, one of the school convenors, at the Monday night trunk swap and ice cream. Three of them were dressed as hooking angels, and I thought this was an incredible shot.

I have been home for a few days - rainy and dreary - bringing my ma-in-law with me for a soggy visit. Here is a re-cap of my adventure.

One week ago, I had an incredible day at my friend Jane's. She assembled her hooking group for lunch and an afternoon on her deck with lots of "Show and Tell".  We had wine and cheese and vichyssoise and veggies and more. It was a perfect afternoon -  they insisted on a "hockey bag" show to see what I was bringing to share with my class. Then they showed me various projects they were working on.  Most of them are relatively new to rug hooking - the youngest among them has been hooking for only a few weeks, and doing very well. If I lived there, I would really enjoy hooking with these wonderful ladies every week. They made me feel incredibly welcome.

Friday evening we went to an art show in Keene, a small village outside of Peterborough. The artist lives in a historic log house and has a coach house as her gallery. Her work is incredible! She painted landscapes and cows and boats and city scenes. Her range was immense and she did everything well. The framing on her work is the best I have ever seen, and she told me she and the framer have a special arrangement. For so many works that he frames, she gives him a painting.  Unfortunately, she doesn't have a website, or I would provide you all with a link.

Saturday, it was off to Trent to get my classroom prepped and meet my students.

Let me tell you that whether you are teaching for two days or 20, you take the same amount of stuff and my car was packed! The largest size rolling suitcase held all my teaching stuff - books, reference material, cutter, binders for students. My new light box. My hockey bag of rugs. Bedding and towels and a fan for my dorm room. And a small rolling suitcase with my clothing.

The students got checked into their spots and we met to go to dinner at St. Veronus, a wonderful restaurant in downtown Peterborough with amazingly fresh and delicious food and a very long beer list. Everyone enjoyed the feast.

My 5 students, although small in number, were bicoastal Canadians. One from Vancouver. One from Newfoundland. And you know that to travel that far, they were dedicated. The other three were all from Ontario - Fort Frances, North Bay and Brampton. And we all got along famously. (Hope they don't mind me sharing this group shot of them.)



Sunday morning, classes began. With only two days to spend on Wide Cut Hooking with my Teacher Trainees, it was a lot of information to push at them and for them to absorb. They had two other teachers during the week - two days on Shading and two days on Pedagogy, so I was very happy to have them first, while they were still fresh.

The rest of the Trent students were arriving on Sunday so we were the only ones in class. And we ploughed through the work. Monday morning, we joined in the assembly with the rest of the school and I presented my Show Case before getting back to work. The day flew by and I couldn't believe I was done.

The objective of my two days was for them to have designed, enlarged, transferred and started hooking on their original wide-cut patterns. Happily, we all achieved that objective with time to spare.

I packed up my room, with help from my gals, and loaded everything back into the car. One last supper with the rest of the school and then Tuesday morning, back on the road. I felt like a camper who had been sent home early for bad behaviour. It felt strange to be leaving when they all had 4 days left. But it was a wonderful time, despite being somewhat abbreviated.

Hopefully, I will be able to go back next year for the whole week teaching a class of my own. And enjoying the rhythm of rug school without interruption.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Busy Hooking Time Ahead.

Well, early tomorrow morning, I am heading to Peterborough for a 4-day hooking and teaching extravaganza.

When I arrive tomorrow, my friend Jane is hosting her hooking group at her home for the afternoon - hopefully on a sunny deck. Then off to a friend's art show tomorrow night.

Then Saturday, a short jaunt to Trent School of Rug Hooking where I am teaching the Wide Cut section of the Teacher Trainee program for the OHCG. I can't believe how much stuff I have to take - no less than if I were teaching for the whole week, that's for sure!!!

I decided to be smart and put all my books and teaching materials in a large suitcase instead of the many boxes and baskets I have used in the past. It is a brilliant idea, until you have to move it up the stairs. Yikes - no lifting at all, just rolling up one step at a time. I think the technical term is "bumping up the stairs".

While I'm there, I'm doing a Show Case for a week-long class for next year. It's about hooking mats from photographs and how to use your computer at each stage of design, enlarge, colour plan and checking progress.

Here's a little mat that I finished to take. I felt I needed one more sample to go with what I already had.

Here's the picture I used.


And here's the little mat



Not sure why the photo looks so dark here -  a scan of a print, I guess.  I have a few others to show as well - all small "sketches" that I have done over the last year - mostly for gifts. I don't think any of them are larger than 12 x 16. A good project to do in a week, I think.

By the time I am ready to post again, I should have lots of "show and tell", which is something we all love.

Till then, enjoy the great weather. Somehow this image seems very suitable.

Monday, June 13, 2011

One Moose 4 Ways.

I am off to Trent School of Rug Hooking on Saturday. I will be teaching Wide Cut hooking to the Teacher Trainees for two days. They will also be taught Shading for two days and Teaching Theory for two days. Three teachers - a lot of information - all in one week!!!

When I took my course, it was spread throughout the year - we went to different instructors' homes and had the months between to finish the projects. Now it's all the teaching up front and the year to finish.
The good news is that they get to spend a week with one of the large rug hooking schools and meet a lot of other hookers, which is a huge "community" for them. And it is LOTS of fun as well as hard work.

As one of my visual aids - and I think it's a great one - I have hooked "one moose 4 ways" all in wide cut. I think it's an incredible demonstration of the different styles. See for yourselves:

This is the Primitive version.

This one is done with alternative fibers. Click in for a closer look.

She is my "impressionist" moose.
She is my "realistic" moose, or as realistic as you can get in an 8 cut.
They are all drawn from the same pattern - I used a photo and blew it up to get the the outline of the cow and the birch trees and a bit of an indication of the foliage. And I hooked them in the order they are here.

Not only will they be a good teaching tool - for all wide cut classes - but I learned an awful lot by hooking the same pattern the 4 ways.

I am tempted to leave them in a row as they are right now, but know that they will be more useful finished individually. And I'll also have the pleasure of displaying them in any order I like - the Andy Warhol of moose LOL.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Powassan Hook-in on Saturday.

Who goes to a hook in and not take any pictures of show and tell? I even had my camera in my bag.

I did take a few pictures of frames with my iphone, because my friend Susan's husband is making prototypes of frames and she was keen to show him this easy one.

A couple of the hookers from Deep River had these, which were made by one of the husbands.

A mitred rectangular head is wrapped in fabric into which the work is pinned. A bolt is put into the sides of the frame.

The bolt slips into a groove in a side panel which raises it off the table or your lap.
The sides are attached to a base with piano hinges. Since this one was just for "the wife" he used leftover boards for the base.

She offered to send me a pattern for this simple frame, which would be great. I'm always on the hunt for an inexpensive option for beginner hookers who struggle with a hoop.

Handy husbands seem to be the drivers of innovation in rug hooking equipment. I, unfortunately, did not have "handy" on my list of qualities when choosing. And as a result, I have become the handy one.
Oh well, he has lots of other fine qualities and I am certainly not complaining.

BTW, Jennifer Manuell does have pictures from the hook-in, so please go and visit her blog.

What does $300 worth of periwinkle look like?

Not much, actually, when your septic bed is as large as ours. But since nothing else will grow there, I bit the bullet and budgeted that much for periwinkle. It only covered the sloping sides, not the top. Here are a few pics.

You can see why we call it "Mount Davis"

Or "Mount Septic"


A dapple of sunlight gets through, but basically, these need to grow in the dark.

But the good news is that this is a one-time expense and in a couple of years, should be lush and lustrous.

In fact, 90% of my gardening this year is perennials. I had someone from the local garden centre come and do a walkabout to make sure that my plans were sound. I had some plants in the retaining wall garden on the driveway side that grew too tall and kept getting blown over. They were a huge physical job to move, including a brief stint as an axe wielding zombie to divide some of them, but they all survived the move. They are now happily transplanted to the lake side garden where they will be sheltered from the wind. (someone has since told me about a tool from Lee Valley that is perfect for sub-dividing)

I re-planted the retaining wall garden with 4 kinds of sedum and some creeping geraniums. The leaves on the sedum are beautiful without any flowers, so I will have something pleasing all year. Here is what they look like.


I just love the different shapes and textures of the leaves. And some are much higher than others.
Can't wait till it fills in a bit.

I also added some new perennials to the front (lake side) garden for a bit of colour in the empty spots.
It's looking very lush and Briar (isn't that the best name for a horticulturalist) says that it can basically be left alone, which is music to my ears.



As I was taking the pictures yesterday, I couldn't resist adding one of these happy fellows - who bloomed the night before, I'm sure.

For someone who has always been a "chancy gardener", I guess my luck is paying off. Now that I've had a professional confirm my plans, I am confident that I am on the right path (bad garden joke).