Here is another little mat done in the style inspired by Ton Schulten. I put a grid on the linen this time to help with the design. Hooking in this style is a great lesson in composition--lights/darks and brights/dulls. I didn't leave room for borders on the sides as I was hooking on a small piece of backing--a mistake. I also tried varying the sky in colour blocks, but it seemed in this small space that it overpowered the designs. Next steps: I think this style would work well for a pillow. I like the quirky geometric pattern and the pops of colour. Enough 'sketches' for now. I'm taking a fresh piece of linen and planning out a larger rectangular design. I'll show you when I have it on the backing.
We are dealing with the aftermath of a big ice storm in Southern Ontario--but in my studio, I'm thinking of spring. I'm working on new Keller bags in beautiful blue-green leathers. Here is the first one: it has a generous zipper pocket on the front and inside a large canvas pocket with birdbrain graphics and a large leather pocket for your phone. The lining is my favourite Kenyan cotton--layers of turquoise, green and black circles and triangles. The bag is a great size for everyday use: 11" tall, 12" wide and 4" deep. It has durable metal zippers and a double leather bottom so it is ready for all your carrying needs. This bag and others will be in the online shop next week.
Sometimes an idea for a project swirls around in my head for years before it comes to fruition. Here is the beginning--a small mat I've just finished, inspired by the work of Ton Schulten. I've been thinking about this for a long time. My wedding rug, completed in 2012 was a start. But for this one, I set out to understand his use of colour and value and to learn how I could take this into rug hooking. The impetus now for this piece is a project for a study group where I am to hook a larger piece inspired by his style. This is the first 'sketch'. But there is a sad note to all of this today. In the process of learning about Schulten's colour block style, I discovered the work of quilter Ineke Berlyn. Her book, Landscape in Contemporary Quilts, which I bought and read in 2009, describes her discovery of Schulten's work and her journey to creating landscape quilts based on the style of his paintings, "a bright picture-postcard centre...offset against shades getting darker towards the borders." (p.25) I loved the pieces Ineke created and followed her development of the style on her blog. It was with sadness that I saw today that Ineke died just yesterday. I encourage you to visit her blog and look at the many online images of her work. It's amazing how we form bonds with other textile artists online, and although we have never met them, feel so saddened by the passing of their creative light.
I made a little pouch to send in the mail as a thank you and I liked it so much I continued making a few more. These are made of great leather in either red or teal with corresponding hearts sewn on the front. Inside they are lined in 100% cotton. These make a great little case for your phone, cards or other essentials. In the online store today.
I was away last week in an idyllic place. It was a perfect spot to hide away from world events. While there I worked on the small hooking below of another favourite retreat, our small island cottage. These small hookings I have been doing lately are like sketches done in preparation for a larger piece, investigations of colour, texture, composition and materials. This cottage piece has loopy shiny yarn and small pieces of painted velvet which I cut into strips. Translucence. I am back home now in the grey, soggy, climate-changed January of my city. And I am retreating again, this time to my basement studio with my sewing machines and bins of leather. I know I can't hide from what is happening, that attention is required, but I also know that my sanity comes from these quiet places of creativity. And maybe some new creations.
I visited the Textile Museum last week to see the Sheila Hicks exhibit, Material Voices. This link will take you to Hicks' site with photos of the full range of her work. The large wrapped and coiled structures are exuberant, brightly coloured and impressive. The show in Toronto contains some of these and also excellent videos of the installation of her enormous architectural pieces. But it was the small framed pieces which intrigued me, her minimes. From the museum: "Working on a small scale provides her with the freedom to investigate colour, line and form; to test new techniques and to respond directly to her lived experiences. Indeed when she leaves her house or studio, Hicks often carries with her the small loom she build in the 1950's should inspiration arise." I loved the thought of carrying a small frame and weaving on the spot. Testing out ideas in small hooked pieces is something I've been doing in the last few months--although in the studio, not on location! I have two big projects in mind and I'm taking my time working things out in my small mats. By the way, I've updated both the Rug Hooking Gallery and the Leather Gallery to include all my work for the last year. It's good record of what I've tried and helps me see where I want to go next. Check these out by clicking the link under Navigation on the right hand side of the blog page.
Sunday mornings are the best for sketching. The city is quiet and I can park easily and sketch views otherwise unavailable. But this past Sunday was frigid and my feet were nearly frozen after I completed this sketch. I think the cold distorted my vision too--I've made the yellow building much taller than it really is. This sketch was completed at home the next day. Over the course of this year I am going to try to sketch as many of the historic buildings in the city as I can. Even though this one is on a city street, it has the feeling of a country setting. This was done without my usual ink outline, so seems softer. Lots to experiment with and work on this year--hope to do a sketch a day around the city, improving technique and composition. Goals. That's what the new year is about, right?