Thursday, December 15, 2011

home projects

Since finishing up the craft fairs for this year, I've been enjoying puttering around home. My first project was to come up with a solution to studio clutter. My studio is in what we've been calling the "anti-room" of our apartment: a strange rectangular room that accommodates our front entrance and three doorways (to our bedroom, Damien's studio, and the kitchen). Needless to say, my studio has often become a bit of a hallway depository, attracting clutter along the edges - not a very attractive workspace. So, I found an adjustable Ikea shelf on Kijiji. It holds all my studio odds and ends very nicely, and the room feels so much bigger and happier.

I also finally got around to putting up two wooden wall shelves above my loom for books, yarn, and weaving tools.

We started a batch of white Reisling wine - hopefully it will be ready and bottled by Christmas. The first batch of wine since we moved back to PEI in May.

And I've spent many hours spinning and then knitting dyed merino fleece I bought at Halifax Crafters a couple of weeks ago. It is now my new hat for winter...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Getting three custom orders out the door and into the mail in the last day or so. I'm enjoying the anticipation of working on my own custom project for our little home after the last scarf is woven in the next few days. I've been contemplating a rug for our front entrance/my studio.....maybe rag, maybe rep - definitely sturdy and cozy.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

home again home again

So, my craft fair season is finished for another year. Time to slow down, finish up a few custom orders (you can see the warp above), and get around to all the things I've been meaning to do. A lot of puttering, re-organizing, and art-making. Also a bit of re-evaluating of the role I want my production weaving business to play in my life. Next year, I think I will do fewer shows and choose shows that don't require flying and a huge output of expense. Working for Parks Canada allows me to step back from the unpredictable nature of the craft fair business a bit, as the financial necessity of doing as many shows as possible is diminishing.....I would like to do smaller productions runs and even let myself play a little more with one of a kind work, while expanding well beyond scarves. And make more time for my art practice. A good winter ahead.

A panaramic view of Halifax Crafters Yuletide Cheer Handmade Market in Halifax this past weekend. Thanks to everyone who came out!! It was a very fun and busy weekend. Wonderful to see so many crafty, happy faces....Halifax has an fantastic art/craft community.

While in Halifax, I also had the chance to visit my cousin Martha and her brand new baby girl, Freyja. She was born on Saturday, November 26th. It was a traumatic birth done by emergency caesarian section, but Freyja is doing great and Martha is healing. This is the first grandchild on my father's side of the family (there are only 5 of us cousins), so she feels very very special. I got to hold her (so tiny!!) and watch her sleep under the little cotton baby blanket I wove specially for her.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Yuletide Cheer

I'm heading to Halifax tomorrow for a weekend of Halifax Crafters. This will be my last show of the season, and it's a relaxing one to do - which is good, cause I'm fighting a bad chest cough. That's the toss up with doing shows: I can't predict how I'll be feeling health-wise. But lots of rest and tea will do me good.....and this show is always FANTASTIC.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

thank you!

A big thank you to everyone who visited my booth in St. John's and Halifax over the last two weeks!

I arrived home on Monday after two weeks on the road, and I'm settling back into the comfort of domesticity. Home sweet home. I'm gonna be taking it easy over the next week and a half: I've got a couple of scarf orders, and a batch of scarves to weave for Halifax Crafters' (Dec. 3-4), but other than that, I'm focusing on relaxing. Getting back into my morning yoga routine, going for good long walks, and making good meals with my sweetie.

I thought I would share some of my favourite photos from the two shows......

My little business cards and a baby blanket I wove on my 8-harness Cranbrook for my cousin Martha (who is due tomorrow!). I used the blanket to cover my small table in St. John's and then gave it to Martha when I got to Halifax. All cotton, hand-dyed warp. I'm really liking the lightness of the greys and whites.

One of my favourite scarves of the year, hands down. A new design, inspired by a custom scarf I made for my friend Dean last year. The colours in this are heaven to me: reds, blues, oranges, periwinkle. I love the way the eye mixes them all together to create a rich, deep purple.

Every year, I seem to forget something when it comes to traveling for craft fairs. Last year I forgot my sign, and this year I forgot my dowels for my rack display. I only realized as I was setting up for my first show in St. John's. I had to think quick and came up with stringing rope between my vertical supports, creating little clotheslines, the scarves looking like bunting banners. In this shot, there's a mix of River, Wave, Dean, and Echo scarves.

River and Waves scarves.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

last minute addition

I fly back to Halifax today from St. John's, Newfoundland. I've been here for a week for the Craft Cuncil of NL's Christmas Craft Fair. Thanks to everyone who came by my booth to say hello, buy a scarf, or chat. I've done this show since 2007, and past years have been very busy and successful. But, for whatever reasons (the beautiful weather, Rememberance Day falling on a Friday making it a perfect weekend to get away, market saturation), this year was much slower than previous years. This means my sales expectations weren't met and I made a last minute decision to do the Nova Scotia Designer Craft Council Christmas Show this coming weekend in Halifax as I'm on my way back to PEI. It runs from Friday November 18th- Sunday the 20th at the Cunard Centre at Pier 23. Even though I'm feeling tired (I've been going non-stop since I finished working full-time for Parks Canada two weeks ago), craft fair season only comes around once a year.....

Saturday, November 5, 2011

St. John's, here I come!

So, after finishing up work at Green Gables this past Monday, I head out on my journey to St. John's, Newfoundland a week later. This week has been a mad dash to get everything ready for the Craft Council of NL's Christmas Craft Fair: finishing up a last batch of scarves, dyeing, tagging and pricing, printing business cards, getting my booth set-up ready for plane travel, and generally getting around to a few things that were neglected while working full-time for the past four months.

I'm looking forward to this show - I always do. I like the routine of crisp November mornings, walking from my aunt and uncle's house (where I will be staying) to the Arts and Culture Centre, detouring to Georgetown bakery to pick up a coffee and croissant, and then settling in for a day of scarf-selling and crafty socializing. If you are in St. John's, please stop by and say hello!

Monday, October 24, 2011

on the loom....etc.

On the loom right now, just about the finish weaving the last scarf in a series of four. I've been using one single threading and tying on different warps (each long enough for a series of four scarves). This design above is based on a scarf I designed as a custom order for my friend Dean last Christmas, and I simply put it into production. The warp is made up of four colours of cotton: dark red and dark brown in the borders, and cayenne orange and cocoa in the center; and equal number of white raw silk, and white merino wool. The weft is blue cotton.

In two weeks, I will be finished work at Parks Canada and be on my way to St. John's, NL for the Christmas Craft Fair (November 9-13, Arts and Culture Centre), expertly put together by the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador. This is one of my favourite shows to do - I always look forward showing and selling my scarves there and visiting with family and friends in beautiful St. John's.

Damien's exhibition, Painted Space, opened at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery in Charlottetown this past Saturday evening. His work looks incredible (in my un-biased opinion) and you should go see it - it will be up until December 23rd. Lots and lots of people attended the opening for all 5 shows at the gallery, and I thought it was one of the best groupings of exhibitions I've seen.....
Damien learned how to use video game design software to create landscapes that the viewer can navigate explore by using an X-Box controller. He used images of his paintings as elements making up the landscape. And he doesn't even play video games at all....

Autumn, beautiful autumn. Damien and I house-sat for my parents while they went on their first trip to visit my brother and his wife in Cupertino, California. Logan has been living there for over two years, and it's so wonderful that mom and dad were able to to go for two weeks. My parents' new house on the Buffalo Road, in Rustico, is heaven and a whole new part of the island to explore. It was very wonderful to have time spent in the countryside. We had friends come to visit both weekends and explored the back fields, and and nearby shore....warm, sunny fall days with amazing colours and fresh air.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

gorgeous fall

Thanksgiving weekend walk on Crown Point, Alexandra, south shore of PEI. 22 degrees celsius and colour everywhere.

Monday, September 26, 2011

school house morning

I made my way out to the school house today to weave. It was so wonderful to weave on my Cranbrook loom at the school house on a beautiful sunny September day. I was able to just focus on building my image on the loom and wove a good five inches of cloth. I'm working (slowly) on a piece depicting a map of downtown Charlottetown which indicates which properties are vulnerable to flooding with potential sea-level rises (most vulnerable properties are in red).

Midday sunlight....
piece is almost 4 feet wide and has a cotton warp (hand-dyed); cotton tabby weft; wool, silk and merino pattern weft.

I adopted overshot technique (2 weft yarns: 1 tabby, 1 pattern) to weave a 8 harness pattern. The overshot weft (or pattern weft) is made up of many different yarns, each building up areas of colours as I weave the cloth horizontally. I keep each different colour of yarn on a little bobbin and control by hand the distance it travels under in each shed to build the imagery. Once it's off the loom, I'm going to go back in and embroider the grid of the streets and other details.

Map of Charlottetown with vulnerable areas in red that I've been using as a reference.

Using Jessica's beautiful bowls as yarn ball holders for re-filling pattern weft bobbins.

Friday, September 9, 2011

still weaving...and exploring this red red island

River scarves on my home loom..plugging away at them in my off hours for the two or three shows I'll be doing this fall. These will include the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador's Christmas Craft Fair in St. John's from November 9th - 13th at the Arts and Culture Centre, and Halifax Crafters' handmade market in early December in Halifax, NS.
Rice Point shore.
St. Peter's Island.

Red red sandstone.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

end of summer

My rope bridge installation, Suspended Access. Up for three days before Art in the Open (as seen in photo above), and then there was some confusion on the day of the art festival and the maintenance guys at the Confed Centre took it down and then put it back up incorrectly: big droop and upside down. I didn't find this out until I got home from work....I was a little heartbroken on the night of Art in the Open, but the whole evening was magical and transformative for our little city. And I take heart in the fact that people did get to see my piece for three days.

Last Friday, the night before Art in the Open, my dear friend Valerie and her husband Dave had their wedding part II. Part I was in London, UK in May and I was lucky enough to be there too. Part II was a fantastic dance party and bonfire and revelry in the woods on the Gairloch Road in south eastern PEI. At one point in the night, these incredibly long sparklers appeared (above). It was one of those perfect summer nights we dream about in the coldest days of winter.

Above is one of Damien's light drawings in Rochford Square for Art in the Open. We used glow necklaces and attached them end to end to create continuous contours of shadows and geometric shapes.

Valerie Salez's work in Connaught Square. She's a friend and artist living in Halifax, and spent the last month on PEI doing an artist-in-residency in preparation for Art in the Open. It's hard to tell from this photo above, but there are actually two tractors involved in this piece, one of them suspending this collection of hoops and stretched cloth hides.

Our neighbors have these incredibly big fires in their backyard. The fence is pretty high, but we can see sparks rising up into the darkness.

Today, Saturday, is my first Saturday off in two months. Since starting work at Green Gables, my weekends have been Tuesday and Wednesday. From now until the end of my contract, I will have Saturday and Sunday off and be in synch with all the weekend activities. Like going to the farmer's Damien and I bought seven pounds of string beans and pickled them. We used fresh dill and dill seed, fresh cayenne pepers, garlic and mustard seed. Our beans came in three colours: green, yellow and deep purple (eggplant colour). The purple faded when covered with boiling vinegar and water and salt....we now have 19 bottles of pickled beans to get us through the winter!

This is a short video I made after my rope bridge was first installed:
(I think the two voices are my mother and I)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

raising a bridge

Today was the day for installing my rope bridge from the roofs of the Confederation Centre of the Arts for Art in the Open which happens this Saturday, August 27th in Charlottetown PEI. My piece is called Suspended Access and I am so pleased with how it looks. With the help of Randy and Roger, the "how-to" guys at the Confederation Centre, everything came together and the installation was a breeze. The piece will be up until next Tuesday. I'm excited to see how it looks at night......

A big thank you to Damien, and my parents Janet and Geoff for helping me saw and drill the panels. I have many more ideas now that I've conquered my biggest installation many possibilities involving rope, drilled wood and suspension.