Friday, July 30, 2010

friday loom shot

Inspired by my new hand-weaving blog friend Anne-Marie in NYC (her blog is Pirtti), I thought I'd post a "friday loom shot" this morning - a close-up of what's on my loom right now. I'm plugging away at more Echo scarves, realizing this past weekend at the craft fair that I will always need more Echo scarves than any of my other styles - they simply sell the best. I also received a wholesale order last week from the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador for my cuffs/bracelets made from Echo scarf cloth. I love the ccotton colours in this small batch of Echo scarves - blueberry colours...the white raw silk in the weft wll be over-dyed once the scarf is woven.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

odds and ends

The last two days since finishing the NSDCC show, I taken off completely from weaving. Lots of other little things to get to, tasks that often get pushed to the side for the sake of scarves. So, a much deserved little vacation, but still productive. The main thing I got done is preparing the ribbon and acetate for Keeley to screen print me up some cloth labels.

And the prospect of being awarded this art-making grant has lit a fire under me: re-reading my original grant proposal and taking lots of important to just keep writing and get these visions and ideas down on paper . I've also been pouring over this book that Damien brought home from school for me called "The Map As Art - Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography" by Katharine Harmon. Lots of great artists in there, one work in particular that I thought was amazing is this collage using maps to depict a big rolling wave by Matthew Cusick called Fiona's Wave (above top). Looking at his work online, I also found another one of his map waves, Kara's Wave (above bottom).

Monday, July 26, 2010

success is bright

I had a great weekend at the NSDCC show. Yesterday was rainy and much slower, but all in all, it was a successful venture. A big thank you to everyone who came by my booth, chatted, and bought a scarf or two. It is so satisfying to get out of my studio and talk to people who appreciate and enjoy the work I make.

Some narrow Wave scarves rolled up...

Some wide Wave scarves piled up....

I went for a rusty red and mustard cloth backdrop this time...and I sold one of my Wave shawls (like this green one, but purple). I did a very small production run of the shawls a month or two ago, and am happy that one of them found a home.

Purples were the most popular, with turquoises following in a close second.

My bike patiently waiting for me on Saturday afternoon during the fair...

On another note of success, I just got a letter in the mail this morning from the Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage. They awarded me $8000 to assist in the creation of my Liminal Project!! This is a grant I applied for back in May, to make a body of work that will explore mapping of Atlantic shorelines with the intention of exhibiting alongside my friend and peer Joanna Close. My fingers are crossed that Joanna's grant was just as successful. I was bracing myself for rejection when I saw the letter in the mailbox, but once I opened it and read the first paragraph, I did a little dance of joy.....this is the largest grant I have ever received!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

saturday night

I'm relaxing this evening after my second day at the NSDCC show in Halifax. It's my first time doing an outdoor show, and yesterday was HOT. Today was much nicer and cooler, and still sunny. One more day tomorrow, 10am-5pm. Just as I was getting ready for bed tonight, I remembered that I was interviewed Friday morning, just as the craft fair was getting underway, for this website called the link and then scroll down and find the video amongst others on the right hand side. The first person talking is Julie Rosvall, the show coordinator, and then I come in at the 2:13 minute mark. Yup.....that's my spiel.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

summertime craft

This weekend I'm selling my scarves at the Nova Scotia Designer Craft Council's summer craft show. It will take place on the corner of Queen Street and Spring Garden Road in Halifax, right next to the architecture school. I'll have a micro booth under a shade-producing tent, booth #410. Today I've been busy tagging and ironing my scarves, gathering up the odds and ends of my booth display and generally prepping up for some summertime craft. The show runs Friday July 23 - Sunday July 24th. Drop by and say hello!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

for my mother

Back in early spring, I posted a wide Wave scarf to my Etsy shop. The colour was called "wood and stone" : a mix of silvers, browns and blacks. My mother, a generous and loyal supporter of all my endeavors, immediately let me know that she loved the colours in this scarf and wanted to order one in the narrow version - "whenever I could get around to it".

I'm finally at the tail end of making lots of narrow Wave scarves, and I threw in a warp that was in this "wood and stone" pallette for her. After dyeing, the two scarves I was hoping would be in a similar colourway as that first admired scarf on Etsy didn't come exactly like I expected, but I want my mother to see them nonetheless.

Sometimes when I try to replicate colours, I end up with more of a variation on a theme than a carbon copy. So, here are the two scarves, together, on my mannequin out in the garden on a hot hot hot Sunday afternoon...

Friday, July 16, 2010

sweet spot

I've noticed there's always a point in the weaving of a scarf that I call the "sweet spot". It usually seems to happen somewhere between the 1 foot and 3 foot mark. It's the point where my body feels in perfect rhythm with the loom, the warp tension is perfect, and the cloth is even and supple.
Today I'm finishing off a batch of narrow Wave scarves and thinking about my last minute decision to participate as an exhibitor in next weekend's Halifax Summer Craft Market (July 23- 25, corner of Queen Street and Spring Garden Road), organized by the Nova Scotia Designer Craft Council. I've never really participated in a summer craft fair, the assumption being that people aren't interested in buying scarves in the summer - but I'm hoping that isn't the case, and from what I've heard from other fibre people, tourists really appreciate being able to buy hand-crafted items that are easy to pack and take home. And, customers who are attracted to textiles are always attracted to textiles, no matter what the season. Still, I'm only going to display my cotton and silk scarves at this outdoor craft market and hope I hit that sweet spot of good timing: summer in full bloom in Halifax, lots of people around, and good local exposure.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

summer scarves

I took some time this afternoon to take photos of some of my new narrow wave scarves and post them to my Etsy shop, including this one which I'm calling "summer foliage". Our backyard is definitely very alive right now...

Friday, July 9, 2010


This week has been a week of juggling multiple tasks. I've started work on an article I'm writing about MacAusland's Woolen Mill for Fibre Quarterly; spent yesterday morning at my "other" studio (North Pocket Studio), until it got unbearably hot - we need to invest in a studio fan; and this morning I was zooming around on my bike dropping off rent cheques and hitting up Fabricville. And in between those things, I've managed to dye eight scarves and finish weaving four scarves.

At Fabricville this morning, I bought $40 worth of ribbon in all the colours I could find for this particular type of matte ribbon. I'm hiring my friend and studio mate Keeley McLean to screenprint cloth labels for my scarves. They will be printed right onto the ribbon and then each label cut apart, ironed, and sewn onto my scarves. It's about time I have cloth labels for my scarves: all the hundreds and hundreds (maybe a thousand??) of scarves I've put out into the world, and once the hang tags are cut off, there's no way to trace them back to me - makes me kinda sad, maybe I'm anthropomorphizing them a wee bit...? And, I feel really good about hiring Keeley to print them for me instead of ordering them from some random company in Toronto.

What I was finishing up yesterday morning at North Pocket Studio was a prototype for some cotton and linen baby blankets I want to make for this fall's craft fairs. At first I was thinking I would use cotton for the warp and tabby weft, and wool for pattern weft, but hanging out with a friend who just had a baby, I changed my mind. The baby may be allergic to wool, and you don't want them to overheat. So, for this one I used a lovely blueish-green linen for the pattern weft and a rosy pale plum for the cotton warp and tabby weft. I've folded and hand-stiched the ends. It's still a substantial cloth, and will keep the baby cozy, but without any potential itch factor.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

settling back in

We got back to Halifax last night after a week on PEI. After returning the car to the rental place this morning, I'm taking my time settling back into work. Just like anyone else, when I take time off from my job, the first day back is spent catching up on emails and correspondence, and generally getting that ball rolling again to ease into productivity.

Here's some photos from on trip:

This is one of the islands of Five Islands, Nova Scotia, along the Parrsboro shore of the Minas Basin. This is part of the Bay of Fundy, the highest tides in the world (I think - they are pretty dramatic).

My mom, Janet Marshall, and I spent Wednesday afternoon out in Rice Point, along the south shore of PEI. We lived in Rice Point from when I was 10 years old until I was almost 17. I spent a lot of time playing on this beach during the summer.

Some of my recent artwork mapped the shoreline of Rice Point and the little island, St. Peter's Island, that sits just off shore (the tide goes out really far and you can actually walk across at low tide). In this photo, you can see the tip of St. Peter's Island on the right, and the shoreline stretching around to the point of Rice Point on the left.

On Friday, Damien and I drove out to the Rollo Bay Bluegrass and Old Time Music Festival. We took our time getting out there, meandering up the north east coast of PEI, exploring little lanes that reached down to the shore. So many little cottages perched on red sandstone cliffs. Beautiful and idyllic, but I'd be worried about sea level rise and erosion....sandstone is very soft and PEI loses about 1 metre of shoreline every year during storm surges.

So many beautiful little golden sand dune beaches nestled between red cliffs, almost always empty. This part of PEI hasn't really been "tourist-fied", and most often the way to get down to these beaches is down private lanes. We just stopped and asked someone and she gave us permission to park and walk down her lane to this gorgeous beach we glimpsed through the trees.

The weekend we spent at the bluegrass festival with Damien's family and our dear friends Mille and Dan. Lots of sun, banjos, stand-up basses, mandalins, gorgeous harmonies, food and drinks. And some bug bites and swimming as well.

I spent the last day of my time house-sitting for my parents in Charlottetown while they were away on a weekend vacation to New Brunswick. These are my dad's beehives in their backyard: sheltered from the wind in the winter, he keeps them on the second floor of the shed and has cut holes in the wall for them to fly directly outside. During the summer, there is always a buzzing about 5 feet above your head when you're standing in that section of the yard.

My parents' beautiful, private backyard. I love sitting on that deck surrounded by grape vines growing around the trelis.

Sunset off Victoria Park in Charlottetown. When I'm in town, I always take as many walks as I can around the wooden boardwalk that circles the park.