Friday, January 24, 2014

winter nesting

 Woodstove burning...

 Rag rug weaving....

 Winter sun lounging....

 More rag rug weaving and ripping cotton flannel sheets into rag strips...

Baby hat knitting and winter twilight calm.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Sable Island revisited

For the last four or five years, after the busy urgency of fall craft fair season an Christmas, I have routinely devoted the winter months to my art practice.  Last year was a bit of a hiatus as I devoted my energies to renovating our school house home.  This winter, now that we are living in our school house, I am carving out some time for art over the next few months.  And a great motivator is deadlines.  The first weekend in February, I will be taking part in the Atlantic Craft Trade Show (ACTS) in the Gallery@ACTS.  The Gallery@ACTS showcases one-of-a-kind artwork from fine craft artists from the Atlantic provinces, inviting commercial galleries from across Canada and the US to check us out.  The weekend will be full of workshops, seminars and on-on-one meetings with the gallery owners - all with the goal of finding markets for my work. 

I will be showing three works in the Gallery@ACTS, all made in the last 3 years.  Over the last few days, I've been revisiting my Sable Island piece, woven in 2011.  Using hand embroidery, I overlaid the contour of an early map of Sable Island (Blunt, 1897) over the current shape of the island in woven inlay (taken from Google Earth).  My goal is to highlight the shifting sands of this giant sand dune over time.  I also embroidered a compass in the top right corner to emphasize the directionality of the island and its role in the shipwrecks of many sailing vessels over the centuries.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

rag rugs

 Since we moved into our school house home last June, I have wanted to weave rag rugs to keep feet warm and cozy on our floors.  My idea is to weave 3 foot wide rag rugs, and then stitch them together along the selvedges to make a larger area rug.  My warp colour choices were predicted by my stash of 4/8 cotton.

 Way back in June when I really had no time to weave these rugs, I started collecting cotton flannel sheets from Value Village with the intention of using of ripping them into strips for the rugs.  Four large bed sheets make a lot of rag strips...

This will be my first chance to work on my large Cranbrook loom since we moved in.  The Cranbrook is perfect for rugs:  a wide shed and treadles that lock into place so I can walk around.  There are eight harnesses, really unnecessary for a plain weave rag rug threading, so I still have to decide whether it is worth the hassle of taking four of them off and moving the heddles over to the other four harnesses left on the loom, or simply work with the full eight harnesses.

My idea for weaving rag rugs and stitching them together to create a large area rug is inspired by my time in Sweden in 2012.  Handwoven rag rugs are depicted everywhere in historic Swedish paintings and illustrations of domestic interiors.  I also saw many fine examples of contemporary handwoven rag rugs (similar to the one in the image below) - out of all the many handwoven objects I saw in Sweden, the rag rug was by far the most ubiquitous.

Monday, January 6, 2014


While I was in California for Chrstmas, staying with my brother and his family in the suburb of Cupertino, I went for lots of walks.  Sometimes two walks a day.  Wandering around the residential neighbourhoods in the warm (surreal) December sunshine, I was very taken with all the mysterious plants and trees that do not grow in the familiar North Atlantic climate of home.  Some trees had lost their leaves and were left with seedpods, some still had their leaves, some some leaves were bright yellow or red, some trees were giant succulents, and many were evergreens.  While taking my daily walks, I set my camera on the image of branches against clear blue sky, trying to document as many of the trees as I could.....

Friday, January 3, 2014

the season

 It has been a busy season leading up to Christmas this year.  Even though I only did three small-ish craft fairs, weaving and preparing kept me busy.  It was a season of tea towels:  this was the first year I really put a tea towel design into production for the shows and they did very well - in fact, I sold them all and even got some custom orders for them.  I stuck to bright, festive colours in cotton (as in the photo above) in a Norse Huck-a-Buck time in Sweden in 2012 is definitely palying itself out and influencing the type of functional handwovens I want to make.

 As fall turned into winter, I went for many walks in the rapidly chilling outdoors.

 ....and kept weaving...
 ...and kept the home fires burning as our first winter arrived at the school house.
 My last show of the season was Halifax Crafters.  A wonderful show, my best of the season and my best Halifax Crafters show to date.  Thank you to the organizers and everyone who came out and supported the show and purchased and Marshall Arts handwoven textile.

 After the last show, I decided it was time for me to adopt a bright yellow one for our own kitchen.

 And then came some custom orders....

With Christmas on the horizon, I flew to California with my parents to spend a week and a half with my brother, his wife and new baby girl (my niece, the first grandchild in our family).  My brother has been living outside of San Francisco in Silicon Valley since 2009 and this was my first trip to visit.  As this is our snowiest December on PEI for years, it was a huge contrast to California where there were palm trees and sunshine every day I was there.   My first Christmas ever away from the snow and cold of Canada...the trees and plants were amazing.  I took lots of photos during my walks around the suburbs of Cupertino and hope to do a little tree and blue sky photo essay on her in the coming days.