Friday, April 30, 2010

learn to weave!!

On Wednesdays evenings, from May 12th to June 30th, I will be teaching an Extended Studies Intro Weaving course at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, NS. This course is for beginner weavers, no experience necessary. If you or someone you know has ever had a curiosity about hand-weaving, have a loom in your basement or attic but have been intimidated to take the first steps, or love fibre arts and would like to add weaving to your collection of skills - this is the course for you! Just click here on this link - intro weaving, scroll down to the bottom of the page for a brief course description and info about registration.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

production

It's hard to believe, but it's already the time of year when my thoughts turn to the fall craft fair season. I've got my list of craft fair dates all lined up and I'm already in full-on production scarf weaving mode. This year I'm upping the number of fall craft fairs I'm doing quite a bit - I'll be doing 6, all but one in the Atlantic provinces (staying local to reduce costs and increase exposure in my own region). The Christmas season is really my best time of year to sell scarves and selling directly to my customers at craft fairs is the best way for me to maximize my sales and take full advantage of the very short holiday gift-buying season. Craft fairs allow me to meet my customers face to face, and though it is a bit of a marathon, it's worth it because it provides me with the much needed income that allows me to continue my work throughout the year.

So, right now, my production is focused on wide Wave scarves. They were so successful during last year's holiday craft season that I sold out of them at the Toronto One of a Kind Show. Today I dyed 8 of them and it's warm enough that I can hang them outside to dry.

Monday, April 26, 2010

customize

Every now and then I get a custom order through my online Etsy shop. It always brings me much joy and amazement when people contact me from halfway around the world, the continent or the country to place an order for their special scarf. I finished one such scarf last week for Lindsey (not sure where she lives yet): extra long and extra wide Wave scarf in a cranberry/rosehip colour...it's now listed in my Etsy shop as "reserved".

Saturday, April 24, 2010

diversions

This is a time of year for distractions: gardening, bike rides, long walks, bbqs. Aside from these lovely springtime activities, I have also gotten a wee bit diverted by my spinning wheel and some dyed merino fleece I bought from Uber Wench Hand-spinning at the Halifax Crafters' market last week. My original intention was to spin it to use as inlay/pattern weft in my piece that's on the loom at North Pocket Studio, but now that it's all spun up into lovely lush 2 ply, it looks like it could make an awfully nice hat.....

Thursday, April 22, 2010

St. Peter's Island

After setting up my large loom at North Pocket Studio with a overshot warp, I've spent the last couple of weeks playing around and getting comfortable with this traditional blanket-weaving technique. This week, I got started on a piece that integrates my previous inlay work with overshot patterning while continuing the exploration of Atlantic coastlines that I started last summer during the tail end of my body of work that comprised my exhibition "Home Terrain" at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery. I have a few really strong ideas about where I want to go with my new work: using traditional blanket-weaving patterning, I want my work to explore changes to real and imagined shorelines, small coastal islands of the Atlantic Canada. I'm really interested in how these changes shape our shores - brought about by tides, rising sea levels, storms, and human development.


As my first woven piece since last summer, I decided to re-visit Rice Point, PEI. The last piece I did last summer in preparation for "Home Terrain" was also of Rice Point, though my current interpretation of that shoreline now includes St. Peter's Island. When I lived in Rice Point from ages 10 -17, you could (and still can) walk out to St. Peter's Island when the tide was out, the sandbars creating a natural causeway that was otherwise hidden by water. There are still some abandonned farmhouses out there, just like many small coastal islands on the East Coast, left over from an era when people actually lived out there. There was a legend that on some nights you could hear cows mooing from St. Peter's Island, cows that had wandered over when the tide was out, and then got stuck, never to return to the shore again.

Monday, April 19, 2010

catching my breath

The last month has been very busy. Lots going on in my weaving life as I have been preparing for the open house of North Pocket Studio (last weekend) and Halifax Crafters' Spring Fling (this past weekend).

I'm pretty pleased with my new low-key booth set-up for the Crafters' show - clean, simple and organized...and all about colour! So happy I bought that drying rack, the mannequin and built myself a little shelf from scrap wood. Also, this was the first time I've used coloured cloth instead of black as a table/booth cover. - I figured spring is the right time for a little extra brightness.

I don't usually sell scarves in the spring - fall seems to be the scarf-buying season - so I only brought my cotton and raw silk scarves. Thank you to all those who stopped to chat or buy a scarf, I had a lovely time and really felt part of this thriving Halifax community. I'm pretty happy with how I did - I surpassed my selling expectations for the weekend!

The whole fair was great. I got to see lots of familiar faces, have some wonderful conversations, as well as peruse some incredible work. And customers were so enthusiastic and appreciative.

Above is the screen-printed work of Kat Frick Miller, as well as a nice sense of the awesome decorations we had to brighten up the space. Below is my studio mate at North Pocket Studio, Joanna Close with her selection of weaving and postcards.

Today I get to slow down, do some errands, and hang out with my friend Charlotte who is visiting from Toronto. Just waiting for the weather to turn back to spring and melt all the disappointing snow that fell last night....

Thursday, April 15, 2010

a Hali-crafty weekend

This weekend is going to be a crafty one in Halifax. Saturday and Sunday Halifax Crafters' is having its Spring Fling market at the Olympic Center on the corner of Cunard and Hunter streets. The fair will be open both days from 11am to 6pm. Lots of great local craft for sale, tasty food and a good time all around. If you're in the city, come on by, say hello and enjoy amazing art and craft for sale. I'll be there selling my scarves.....

Monday, April 12, 2010

overshot

After the open house at the new studio on Saturday, I was very motivated to make my way there yesterday, Sunday, to keep working on my weaving. It was beautiful and sunny and I had the studio all to myself for the better part of the afternoon and early evening.

This threading is for a "crackle" overshot weave. Depending on the order in which I press the pedals, there are 9 variations of woven pattern that can be created. I have so far tried 2 of the treadlings (or pedallings) and made them seamlessly transition from one into the next while shifting pattern colours.

Overshot weaving involves two weft shuttles, one containing your pattern yarn (in my case, this is my handspun wool, one ply, brown and then shifting to a dark, indigo dyed blue), and the other containing your tabby yarn (heather cotton in this case) which essentially works to lock in your pattern yarn after each shot.

I've got some ideas coming that I want to try out with this particular overshot pattern...try and integrate what I've been exploring in my inlay work and adapt it to work in overshot patterns. The principle is the same for both inlay and overshot techniques - a pattern weft and a tabby weft - but in the case of overshot, the pattern is loom controlled and goes selvedge to selvedge, while inlay is hand-manipulated. I'm excited to see what I can do if I let myself play around with inlay ideas within an oveshot set-up. I'm thinking about shorelines, coastlines, that liminal, shifting line between sea and land.

And then on my walk home from the studio yesterday, I came across this scratch in the cement on the sidewalk and recognized a similarity to the pattern I had just been weaving.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

north pocket studio

Yesterday we had our open house at North Pocket Studio on Hillside Avenue in Halifax, NS.

Joanna, Keeley and I have built a small display area on one of our walls for all of our "sell-ables". Handwoven blankets and scarves by Joanna and I; hand screen-printed cloth bags, hats, fanny packs, hankies by Keeley.

Two looms, a serger and sewing machine, good food, friends, family and visitors.

That's my red warp in the background on my Cranbrook loom. I forgot to take pictures of the woven cloth on the other side during the Open House, I'll post some later this week. It's an eight-harness overshot pattern in red and heather cotton with a dark brown handspun wool pattern weft.
I've dreamed about having this kind of studio/play space my whole life....
I think this is the start of something really good.

Friday, April 9, 2010

OPEN HOUSE!!

Tomorrow, Saturday April 10th from 1-4pm, my new shared studio is having an open house. Come one, come all!! Peruse handmade textile goodies for sale, enjoy refreshments and see looms in action.....see invite posted below :)

Monday, April 5, 2010

busy weeks ahead

The next few weeks will be busy ones. This coming Saturday, my new shared studio is having an open house to welcome friends and the public into our working textile studio. We've got some finishing touches to do: set up a display area for our "sellables", get our little kitchen area tidied up, and I have to finish setting up my loom with a new project. If you're in the neighborhood, please pop in for a visit!

The weekend of the 17th-18th, Halifax Crafters is having our spring market here in Halifax, so I started postering around town today. And the weather is awesome and warm...spring is in the air!

Friday, April 2, 2010

easter growth

Most of my seedlings are doing really well. The onions are growing like crazy along with the tomatoes and cilantro. The swiss chard and some of the other herbs are still taking their time. All the warm sunshine we're going to get this long weekend should nudge things along nicely....

Thursday, April 1, 2010

new!

This week I completed my first batch of my newly designed scarves. Not quite sure what to call this line yet, but they have a lovely 6 thread striped herringbone pattern. Woven from cotton and raw silk and then dyed after being woven to colour just the silk, they are lightweight for spring, summer and fall. They measure about 6.5" wide and 60" long plus fringes. I think they're a great "gender neutral" style and this grey one in particular would be super classy on a man. I will have them for sale at North Pocket Studio's open house on April 10th (my new shared studio - we chose a name!) and at the Halifax Crafters' Spring Fling Market on April 17-18th. They should retail for $80 each, and I will hopefully list a few on my Etsy shop over the next week or two as I make more.