Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Spectacular Sunset

Today seems like the perfect day to share this special photo-to-mat rug. The snow is falling outside my window and although it looks beautiful, it gets old very quickly LOL. I think it's an age thing - I loved the snow when I was younger.

This little mat was hooked by one of my students as a gift for a friend. Apparently, the reaction was stupendous. Why am I not surprised? Look at that sunset!!! And she found a perfect spot dye to re-create it. By moving the yellow areas on a diagonal, she was also able to create the movement that was in the sky in the photo.

Although Kathy found the class to be a bit of a challenge, she persevered. She is very pleased with the result. The recipient is ecstatic and Kathy will keep going on these little mats.

Bravo Kathy!!!

Monday, November 26, 2012

One Swan, Two Masterpieces

Over the years, I have met many new rug hookers who have found their way to rug hooking through another medium. Some are knitters. Some are painters. Many are multi-faceted artists.

The featured student today is one of those multi-talented individuals. She was part of my photo-to-mat class at Ancaster and she did an amazing job with her photo of a swan. The swan is hooked in yarn and the background is hooked in textured wools. The frame is from a plaid wool and it really sets it off. She calls it "table art" which I think is a great expression.

Right after she finished her class with me, she joined a group of 10 other artists for a painting workshop. She ended up doing a painting of the same photograph. Talk about being steeped in a subject matter for the two workshops. It was definitely her impressionist period LOL.

What an amazing experience to be able to exercise both sides of that creative spirit in a back-to-back situation. And even more amazing to have this much talent in both!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Students: Two - Teacher: One

Happily, I received two more projects to post about in what is becoming my "brag" blog.

The first is another photo-to-mat project. This student attended both my colour workshop in Belleville and my Photo-to-Mat workshop in Campbellford. Despite a bit of overlap, she seemed to be very happy to be part of each group. And here is the little mat that she created for a friend.

She used a couple of pictures to get what she wanted, but this is the one I have on hand. She addded the little pooch and he is just adorable!


The next image is a mat recently completed by one of my regular Wednesday gals. She lives about 40 minutes away which seems a bit of a trek, but once you live up here it's nothing to travel an hour to get somewhere. It makes me laugh now, because you can actually get from "here to there" in less time than it takes you to get "practically nowhere" in Toronto

This is her first piece that she brought with her to the studio. It is Bea Grant's "beaver" and I love this rug. Despite the fact that it wasn't going on the floor, Cindy decided she wanted to learn to whip, so she whipped it. And, the yarn that she found with colours she liked is actually sock weight - so she doubled it and did a LOT of whipping. As she is on the mend from some surgery, she said she had "lots of time to whip".  After a good steam/press, it will be a wonderful addition to her home. We have her next project ready to go - she is a keener.

All this activity by my students makes me feel a little behind on my own projects. But I have been busy with gifts - things that I cannot share, lest people be checking the blog (my son? I doubt it!)  Here is a timely fellow who I started right after Christmas last year and got back out the day after Hallowe'en (when the first tv commercials began - egad!) He is now hooked and ready to have a backing put on and be put to work on the 1st of December.  He will be the official "greeter" in the front hallway, along with a collection of snowmen.

Speaking of December, other than a dusting a couple of mornings, it's been relatively mild here for the past few days. So mild that the outdoor decorations are done before any frosty fingers needed to happen. Just in case, we have snow tires on both vehicles and are putting the electric snow blower on the front deck - kind of like an insurance plan.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Two More to Share

One of the very best things about being a teacher is seeing the finished results from your students. It shows that not only did they enjoy your time together, but that they were motivated to finish.

Over the weekend, I received two more wonderful pieces from my group in Campbellford. They are both fantastic and each person said they were going to continue on with a second photo-to-mat project. I truly believe this becomes quite addictive - in a good way.

This first one is a gift for the niece who is pictured in the mat. I feel pretty sure she will be blown away by it. Ann's picture actually included the photo.

The second finished mat came on its own. Here is the original photo.  Jill incorporated a real piece of string into the mat. Such fun.

Both of these little mats truly capture the essence of the images. This second one is also a gift.  And the first of many to come, I hope.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Bragging about Brit

My new friend Brit, one of my students at OHCG School, sent me a picture of her sunflower mat finished. She was pretty close when we left, but it is now done and beautifully whipped.  See how she changed colour from green to grey/blue to match the hooking. It looks great!

I didn't even get time to post about it when two more emails arrived the next day with other projects she had just completed. The first was this amazing quilted poppy wall hanging.

And right behind it came this hooked poppy hanging. It's always amazing to see how different the subject matter can look in a different medium, even if it is another textile. Mind you, it helps that the creator is a very talented, multi-faceted textile artist.

While I am sharing Brit's talent with you, here is a pieced project that she shared with the class while we were at school. Can't wait to see it totally finished. The batiks in here are incredible. And just look at that eye!!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

T'is the Season

Man, the day after Hallowe'en the commercials started. Too soon, I say. Way too soon! Glad that Shoppers Drug Mart at least cut back on the Christmas music. Yikes.

That said, it is the season of Studio Tours and Sales of Homemade Treasures. Every year, I entertain the thought of doing something, but I end up making gifts instead, which take all my time.

This year, I was approached to take a gander at a book that addresses the whole issue of pricing your treasures for selling. In the world of rug hooking, it is a discussion as old as time. What value can you place on your goods so that you feel your work and artistic soul is "valued".

There were no strings attached to this offer, just a mailed copy of the book which is cleverly titled "How To Price Crafts and Things you Make to Sell". I would reserve my judgment about whether or not to talk about it until I read the book. (I got this picture from Amazon.)

It is a good book!! I was expecting the formulas and guides for pricing etc., since that is not new.
There is lots of information about online resources and the ability to do your own research into what others are charging for their work.  What I was pleased about was the subject of "value" that the author, James Dillehay, spends so much of the book discussing.

Here is a quote from the beginning of Chapter 1, titled What We Value: "If you really do put a small value upon yourself, rest assured that the world will not raise your price." - Anonymous.

He also stays with the belief that "Price is not typically the top buying criteria in the hand-made marketplace." and that "lowering the price more often lowers the perceived value."

I love to purchase hand-made things whenever possible and I don't begrudge a price that is reflective of the work and creativity. I just need to apply the same thinking to my own work - and I guess that is the message he is putting out there. 

The book if filled with tips to get organized and find a fair and equitable price for selling direct or selling to retailers - even selling online.

I am not sure I will ever be in a position to sell my wares - as I say, I prefer to spend the time making gifts, but if I do, I will definitely heed his advice. But the best thing about the book for me was the affirmation of the "value" of spending the time creating unique treasures. It definitely felt like a great pat on the back - even without the selling part.

The author is not only an artisan himself and a well-published author, he is the founder of the social network, and he blogs about craft business topics at

Thursday, November 1, 2012

More Bragging Rights

The best thing about being a teacher is the students! And I'm not sure who is more proud when they finish a project - them or me.

Today I am lucky enough to have three finished projects that I can share. The first is the finished dirt bike mat from the class on the weekend. According to the creator, her son and husband were thrilled and didn't even want it whipped - just turned under and hung - which it now, proudly, is. This is the picture she sent to me of the rug, in position.

The next rug still needs to be whipped, but you have to know that more than the top third of the rug was hooked in the 24 hours since end of class yesterday - and it is NOT a small rug. This creator says there is nothing like a rainy day to spur along the hooking, but I think she is simply "rabid". She has only been hooking since August 10th - had never pulled a loop before - and this is her third project!!!!! It is positively luminous and her confidence grows with each mat. (I think I spy a star ornament in the lower left hand corner - I'm sure she couldn't contain herself.)

And the third mat has been placed in a frame - a recycled window which the creator lovingly stripped and refinished to create this warm and wonderful surround for her project. This log cabin masterpiece was her first experience with textures and with applique, which she used for the moon and stars. It took her outside her comfort zone, but I think she will quickly become comfortable in this new zone and many more to come.

Yes, indeedy, the very best thing about teaching is DEFINITELY the students!!!!!!!

Boxy Chevrons by the Sea

Happy to report that the colds are gone and we have assumed our positions down on the deck at the Beach Club by the sea. And after having ...