Saturday, October 31, 2009

last batch

Yesterday and today, I dyed and felted my last batch of scarves. That's it, maybe even until the new year. Its feels good. Today is amazingly warm (a whopping 18 degrees) and they're drying out on the line.

Yesterday I got a package in the mail from the One of a Kind Show. Way back in the spring they asked if they could use one of my photos of my scarves for the Christmas flyer. I said "of course", but I didn't know which one they chose and hadn't even seen the flyers. So I emailed them earlier in the week and asked if they could send me some. I guess to them, some means a lot. They must have sent me at least 100 of them. Pretty nice to see my scarf printed and used to advertise the show.....

Friday, October 30, 2009

breathing space and winding up

This is my last weekend before I start the month of travel and shows. Between November 3 and December 8, I will only be home again in Halifax for one week. From now until Tuesday, I've got things under control. I have less than two scarves left to weave and a pile of Seaweed scarves to dye and felt (fringes beautifully twisted by my studio assistant Jenny Fife).

Last night my friend Joanna helped me screen print my new booth sign at NSCAD. I printed it on unbleached cotton twill in a dark chocolate brown. It was so much fun printing again after five or six years and I am so happy with it! Over the weekend I will sew it to a backing and attach dowels. Monday I will do last minute things like printing more business cards and packing. Almost there and feeling like I can breathe easy.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

excited for St. John's

I'm excited to return to Newfoundland next week. I love St. John's, the city where I was born. I'm excited for the Craft Council show and to see my Nana, aunts, uncles and cousins.

Monday, October 26, 2009

out the door

Today I put together a BIG box to mail to St. John's. I will meet it there at my aunt and uncles' house when I arrive next week for the St. John's Fine Craft and Design Fair. Mostly scarves, but I also threw in my lights and black drapes for my booth. Sadly, I forgot to take a picture of the contents of the box before I taped it up, so I'm posting a photo of last year's shipment that met me at the One of a Kind Show.

I even used the same giant smoked salmon box again this year. I haven't shipped all my scarves, I'm holding onto my medium and narrow Seaweed scarves to take with me on the plane because I haven't finished topping up those styles with the weaving I'm dong this week. It's always a bit nerve-racking putting so much of my work in the mail, but I insured it and sent it Expresspost so it should arrive safe and sound in a day or two. Cross my fingers it all travels smoothly....

Saturday, October 24, 2009

bringing it all together

I'm down to my last week in my studio before I leave for the St. John's Fine Craft and Design Fair in Newfoundland from November 4-8. I'll then have one week back in my studio doing final preparations for my exhibition before I install it at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery in PEI in time for the opening November 21. And then I have to be in Toronto for November 24 for eleven days at the One of a Kind Show. It will be an exciting, exhausting month. And then I will enjoy a relaxing holiday. Phew.

Friday, October 23, 2009

logan and christina

My younger brother Logan moved to California this past summer to be with his girlfriend Christina. They met while they were both teaching english in Korea four years ago and have been trying to live in the same country for the last two years, Logan being Canadian and Christina being American. Logan finally cleared immigration and got his visa this summer. He immediately booked his flight down to San Jose and they were married in a civil ceremony shortly thereafter. Logan recently sent photos and a video of the marriage to my parents and they sent them along to me. They both look so happy! Hard to believe my "little" brother (at 6'3", he's hardly "little" anymore) is married....

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

advanced style

I recently discovered this great blog called "advanced style". I highly recommend checking it out for amazing photos of stylish seniors and inspiration.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

new sign

I've been trying to decide what to do about my need for a mannequin or poster for my craft fair booth. A mannequin or bust would great to display one of my scarves on - but it is difficult to find one that is easy to transport via plane or post. The other idea was to get a poster made of a photo of someone modeling my scarves - easy to roll up and travel with. But this reminds me too much of a Sears catalogue. And on another note, I haven't found a way to make a satisfactory sign for Marshall Arts....again, a sign that is easy to transport and hang.

So I needed to resolve display and signage. I was letting it percolate and last night I noticed my old hang tags. I stopped using these hang tags last winter when I started using Moo mini cards. The tag was a black line drawing traced from a photo of myself wearing a Seaweed scarf and framed within a cameo-like oval. I thought it would make a great sign/poster: with my business name and image of a scarf being worn. Originally I thought about getting it commercially printed (Damien works at a commercial printer here in Halifax), but then I thought of screenprinting it onto fabric with the help of my friend Joanna Close who teaches at NSCAD. With her help (I haven't done any screen printing since graduating from NSCAD 5 years ago), I'm going to print it on a heavy natural cotton twill in a dark brown or black, weighted at top and bottom with encased dowels.

So, last night I set up Damien's projecter, some big pieces of paper, pencil and black marker and enlarged the image and font. Now that I have it full size and contrast on paper, I will trace the image onto acetate. The acetate will be exposed using UV light onto a screen coated with photo emulsion and the screen will work like a giant stencil. I think I would have really enjoyed graphic design in the pre-computer era.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

thanksgiving morning light

New colour in the form of many shades of cotton from Maurice Brassard Fils Inc. arrived in a box this week. I quickly set them on my shelves so I could look at them.

Some new "man" colours in the form of Tidal scarves drying in my studio.

Friday, October 9, 2009

dye day

It's been a couple of weeks since I dyed any of my finished scarves. I've been stockpiling them for Jenny to twist the fringes and now that all the twisting is done for 30 scarves - it's time to add more colour.

So today I've been spending my time dyeing all these Tidal scarves.
I still have 8 or 9 to dye, but the dyed ones looked so great on the line - especially on this gray fall day - that I had to take some shots.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

the lovely and amazing Brooke Miller

My old friend, Brooke Miller, (click on her name to watch her play one of my favourite songs) has recently moved back to Halifax with her partner Don Ross. I have known Brooke for most of my life and we became close in our teens as we neared adulthood in PEI. I am so happy to have Brooke close by in my life again. It's been a good 6 years since we lived in the same city, and I am grateful to have such a dear friend just a short bike ride away. And, I get to enjoy Brooke's amazing songs. Brooke and Don (who is also a musician and very well known the world over) have toured extensively since they've been married, played gigs all over the world. Brooke writes and plays incredible music - reminiscent of later Jone Mitchell and Bruce Cockburn with a a voice that can still give me chills after all these years. Last night she played a small gig here in Halifax. It was pouring rain and the crowd was small, but it was so lovely and the audience was transfixed. It was just Brooke and her guitar, her songs and her wonderful (and hilariously goofy) stage presence. This woman is such an important part of my life and I am so proud of her - for her music and for all the goodness she is.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Once I weave my scarves and cut them from the loom in batches of 3, 4,or 6, it's time to twist the fringes made by the warp ends. I recently hired a NSCAD textile student to help me out one day a week to twist the fringes for me. This allows me to keep weaving while my "assistant" works on the fringes. Because I was sick last week, it had been two weeks since Jenny came over and I had a big pile of 27 scarves that needed twisting. So after weaving in the morning, I joined Jenny in the afternoon to twist and kept going long into the evening last night, planted on the couch using my trusty four-prong twister to ply the fringes. Depending on the width of the scarf, twisitng fringes can take anywhere from 15 minutes a scarf to 40 minutes a scarf. The tidal scarves I was working on last night take me about 20 minutes per scarf. The twisted fringes keep all the weft threads tightly bound in the woven web and take on a nice, decorative weight - creating a finished length of woven cloth, perfectly contained and structurally secure.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


I will always love the analogous colours from lime to turquoise.

We bottled 29 bottles worth of homemade wine last night - great way to spend a Friday night!

Tomatoes from our garden ripening in the window...time for making pasta/pizza sauce.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


This winter, I will be participating in a exhibition of nine fiber artists at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. Each of us will get a glass display case recessed into the wall. The theme of the show is "laborious", a theme aptly applied to textile-based work.

To tell the truth, I have known about this project for a while, but because of more pressing concerns (scarves for orders and retail shows, solo exhibition of my artwork), I kept putting off thinking about the work I wanted to present. And now it's crunch time. The work will go up at the end of January, but we need to have a pretty concrete vision of our work ready today, with photographs of the finished work by November 1st.

I originally wanted to do something with all my scraps of weaving yarn I've been saving over the last two years since I have been working as a weaver full time. The logistics of this have proven daunting (shipping a giant garbage bag of scraps would cost a fortune, and I was not planning on flying to Toronto to install the work myself).

So today I gathered all these yarn scraps together, looked at them, played with them, and out of the jumble of colours and textures, I re-discovered these beautiful loop chains of Echo scarf warp ends. One batch of warp tied onto another so I didn't have to re-thread the loom for each batch of three scarves, creating these long chains of cotton colour that I've been saving thinking I would do something with them "some day". Each section of colour represents a warp used to weave three scarves, and I have over 60 sections in this loop chain - the residue of 180 Echo scarves woven over the past year and a half. Lots of labour! The glass case we have to present our work in measures 30" wide x 28" high x 17" deep and I really like the chain of cotton looped around a coat hanger suspended from the roof of the case. This references the scarves I make, the warmth generated (shelter, food, clothing) by the income these scarves provide, and the physical weight of the labour itself.....