tea cups!

I have been inspired by Liz Steel’s approach to sketching forever. But it was her charming video (a taste of what is to come in semester 2 of Sketchbook School) that propelled me to the back of the cupboard for my very small collection of tea cups. These two cups have connections in my family; the pink one was painted by my aunt when women of a certain age did such things for their hoped-for marriages. It was great to have a chance to use Potters Pink which has been neglected in my palette. And although I never drink from these cups–well, made an exception for the drawing–I really enjoyed sketching their shape and pattern. Here is a quote from Liz’s blog which captures my feelings about sketching too: …my sketchbook journal is the celebration of the little things in life – the everyday becomes special and worthy to record and it is a great way to realize how much we have to be thankful for – even in hard times.

Speaking of SBS, I watched the videos of week 2 last night and have already tried one self-portrait. This week’s assignment is various approaches to self-portraits, daily! Koosje Koene is so charming and encouraging, I almost think I can do it. I’ll be posting my attempts later this week, maybe.  black tc

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Here is another cottage sketch, not trees this time but fruit. The plate is vintage Hotel Quinte (now sadly a parking lot) and the fruit, you may recognize. I’m just playing with wet-on-wet and line or no-line, just having fun.Scan 279

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2 big thankyous

image I am sitting on the screened porch at the cottage, still marvelling at my access to the world from this little piece of granite. A message from Kenya popped up on my screen a few minutes ago. My mind boggles. Unlike my son who feels harrassed by his emails when he is here and is a bit compulsive about checking, I feel I can open this window to the world when it works for me and glance out. This morning the note from Kenya and the weekly message from Brainpickings.

But that’s not why I am writing this morning. I am writing to say belated thank yous. First, a big big thank you to Wendie Scott Davis, who during her wide-cut/primitives class at Trent Univeristy, sold loonie strips to support the rug hookers in Matangwe Kenya. The class raised  $63.00!! This will go to materials, used t-shirts etc. that I hope to buy in the markets of Nairobi this January. We are working to make the venture sustainable and to source the materials locally. That said, if you have burlap or hooks or fine cotton jersey t-shirts etc. please send me an email. You can find the info under contact on the right hand side of this post.

The second thank you goes to one of the blog readers. He sent me an email telling me that he had been inspired by the blog and my attempts at sketching and, as a result,  had signed up for Sketchbook Skool. It’s always wonderful to hear from blog readers and to know that something you said had an influence.  He writes: “Funny you talk about seeing things in a different way, on my way to work the last couple of weeks since I started sketching I see shapes and color everwhere, where before I only saw things and objects…SO exciting.”  Very exciting. And I am about to start Semester 2 which is called Seeing, and I’m pretty excited too. More on that later in the week.

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the lake

cottage wc june 29

Our cottage is on an island, a small island, on a big lake where the properties can only be accessed by boat. Even on a busy holiday weekend like this one, it is relatively quiet. A return to the cottage is a return to the past. Here the life jackets from our two and four year old sons (now well into their 30′s) still hang in the boathouse and New Yorkers from twenty years ago hide at the bottom of  the magazine rack. At a cottage you can ignore the terrifying changes in the world and in yourself. Because this one place, this one lump of granite with its wooden cabin, does seem to be as it always was.

Of course, that sense of permanence and security is illusory. This year we have cell service on the lake which brings the world in. The news is delivered to ‘our door’ just like home. But it also means I can connect with you. So here is a little tour of the cottage and some of the early pieces of hooking that I rediscover each year. The Maud Lewis was hooked by my mother and the fish, one of my first pieces, is a pattern from Christine Little of Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. The other two were doodles in wool, the one beside Maud, a record of each day in October 2007. Just looking at that piece, like my sketch above, evokes the feelings and the thoughts running through me as it came to be. This is  power of creativity, and that is something that doesn’t change.

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Innsbruck

We visited the magical old city of Innsbruck (meaning bridge on the Inn River) with its notable Golden Roof, Rococo architecture and trompe l’oeil church ceiling. In the afternoon we climbed to high Alpine terrain, 2256 m,  using the Hungerburg funicular and two cable cars. It was cold and barren up top with circling birds , a very few tenacious wild flowers and mountain goats for company. image

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visit to the Geiger outlet

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The church bells in Stans wake us each morning. Today is Thursday and looks like another day of sunshine. We have been very lucky for the whole holiday with sunny cycling weather.

Yesterday was a day off cycling and we took the hop-on bus for a tour around the area. While we were waiting for the bus, I sat on the curb and sketched the church in Stans with pencil and a waterbrush–pretty fast. Then the open air bus took us through Schwaz and Vomp and back around through Stans before we got off in search of the Geiger factory. I have loved Geiger woollens since I was in highschool and I was delighted to find the outlet store. We asked if they sold remnant pieces of their fabric and the wonderful staff there told us to come back at 2pm. They recommended a bakery for lunch–and even in this industrial area, the bakery was a delight both for the building and the food..  Canada could learn alot from the Austrians–this is a chain of bakeries, but well done. You can  see  our  lattes  on the outdoor  table. Of course it helps to have the scenery you see below on all sides! This was taken as we drank our lattes.image

imageBack at the Geiger factory, there was a big a pile of remnant pieces of wool in two weights waiting for us. We each loaded up with several pieces which they sold by the kilogram. Here is our combinded pile including the wool binding. And below that the sketch I did of our balcony after we got back.  I haven’t had much time to sketch on the trip and this too was a quick one. But it is great how sketching opens up conversations. The server, Tamas, even went to get his phone to show me his own art work. I love that about sketching.image

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Austria cycling day 2 and 3

The weather has been perfect for cycling. Our base is Stans at the Schwarzbrunn Hotel and each day we head out in a different direction. Monday we took the train to Mayerhofen and cycled 48k back to Stans along the Ziller River. Yesterday we cycled 50k along the Inn River to Rattenburg and Kufstein and took the train back. The scenery is breathtaking and the architecture and colours in the ancient towns are wonderful.image

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A well deserved break in Kufstein after 50k.image

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cycling in Austria

Day one. Sunshine! We started out after lunch and  cycled from Stans to Jenbach. From there we took a 100 year old steam train up a steep mountain to the Achensee and the resort town of Pertisau.  No wonder the Austrians love their mountains. The Achensee was turquoise and surrounded by more mountains. We cycled around a bit and then  back down a steep, twisting gravel roadway. A total of 42 km.

Below is the view from our room in Stans and scenes from the bike pathway to Jenbach including the Schloss Tratzberg nestled in the mountain.image

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 Here is our cycling guide, Nora, and part of the group posing before the steam engine, Georg, which pushed us up the mountain to Pertisau.image

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I am a retired educator and recovered administrator. I have always been interested in fibre, first as a weaver, now as a rug hooker and screen printer. Over the last few years I have become passionate about giving a new life to cast-off wool and leather. This is my journal where I muse about my creative life.

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