going around in circles

I have recovered my interest in my big rug with the Annie Dillard quotation at each end and have been hooking away on it. Of course we had a very rainy, cold weekend at the cottage and  sitting by the fire, listening to music and working on a rug is a great way to spend a wet day. I’m working through the design block I’ve had about this rug and soon I’ll show you what I am up to–but let me just say that my fellow rug hooker, Liz, made a casual comment about my hooking in circles–or did she say going around in circles??–and that was the germ of the rest of the design. Interesting how it goes.AD rug time

And here are a couple of sketches I managed to do when the rain held off and I could actually get out on the water. I’ve been using a Fabriano Venezia watercolour sketchbook (this book is happily available in my local art store). This is the second of these books I have tried and I really like the paper and size and weight of the book. I wish it opened up better–but now that I’ve read that review, I’m working on giving the book more ‘encouragement to lie flat’.

I am also back in the studio after several months away and have a new bag design almost ready to show you. I should have two new bags on the blog next week.5 sis



cycle and sketch 2

mapThis week my friend, MB, and I cycled and sketched in a corner of Prince Edward County. It was about 35 kms to North Beach and back and we followed up with a delicious lunch. Since I am doing Liz Steel’s class this week in SBS, I was delighted that they had run out of cappuccino saucers in the Tall Poppy café (which was full of cyclists) and instead gave MB and me a tea saucer. I could not resist doing the homework assignment on the spot. tptc

On the way home I did a few preliminary sketches of one of my favourite churches. I like it because it has lots of symmetrical architectural detail but it is not ornate or elaborate. It was built in 1878 and as I sketch I like to think of the people who designed and built it and those who attended it when it was new. So…I had to go back and have another coffee and finish the sketch. There is tons to learn sketching this building…and that is reason enough to go back for more delicious coffee and more sketches. (Did I say they make amazing lemon squares?)tplc



kilim keeners

Fifteen Moira Mat makers took a Kilim workshop with Anne Boissinot this past weekend. Anne provided us with an amazing array of examples, an overview of the history of Kilims, and a full package of templates to help us design our own Kilim patterns. It was a busy three days with lots of colour planning and problem solving. By Sunday, everyone had a design on their backing — each one with a story and each one different.

kil1Above is a portion of an award-winning Kilim designed and hooked by Anne and below are a few of the many Kilim examples she brought to inspire us.

kilim2Templates are carefully cut out, traced on the backing and then the hooking begins. Anne was there to support and inspire through every step. The Moira Mat Makers say a big thank you to a wonderful teacher. I am sure there will be some incredible Kilim rugs at the next annual!




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a cycle and a sketch

sklI often end the day with a cycle along the waterfront. It is a wonderful way to unwind and put things in perspective. We are having some perfect summer weather and so tonight I took along my water brush and paints and stopped to do a quick sketch of the city from my vantage point across the river. I will try this view a few times and take more time and add more detail. I will also be sure take my stool so I am not sitting on the grass! This first basic sketch is what Liz Steel calls ‘the overall configuration’, just getting a sense where everything is and how each building relates to the others. Liz’s class in SBS semester 2 btw was very inspiring!

I have spent the last three days in a great rug hooking workshop. I’ll write about it tomorrow.



5 sisters

We were at the lake for the past week and I had a chance to do some sketching. Our cottage is on an island about three miles from the marina and this means that wherever we want to go, we need to travel by boat. My favourite boat is my kayak which I have had for over 25 years. The kayak allows me to travel alone and in silence and soak in all the details of the lake. There are lots of remote bays and inlets and I haven’t explored them all yet. I can’t sketch from the kayak–sometimes I clamber on shore with my paints and sometimes I take a photo–it just depends what works.

On Sunday we went in to Bancroft for the afternoon (boat to the marina and then an hour’s drive). Here there is a great independent café, Mixin’ Mommas, right beside the art gallery. I sat on the patio under the umbrella, drank a good latte and sketched the church across the parking lot. Really, a Sunday afternoon in August doesn’t get much better than this. Four people stopped to look at my sketch and make friendly comments! And, speaking of comments…thank you all for the feedback on the blog and via email. It’s a curious adventure, blog writing, and it’s always good to connect with the outside world.

Before we headed back to the lake, I spent half and hour in the art gallery with an interesting juried show and stopped in at Ashlie’s Books for a new novel, The Light Between Oceans, a story of life on an island, somehow seemed the perfect choice. banc ch


the end of the trip — Montréal

jt latteWe spent the final couple of days of our trip staying at our son’s apartment in Montreal. His place is on the third floor of a brownstone and like much of Montreal has a steep exterior staircase and a twisting interior one–always a challenge when you are carrying a bicycle or three bags of groceries. Parking is also a headache, but that’s another story.  The important thing is we love Montreal and this location in the midst of the city, steps from the Jean Talon market, is wonderful. We enjoy walking  the aisles with all the local produce and they make the best lattes there as well. In this sketch I used a water soluble pen as suggested by Brenda Swenson in semester 2 of Sketchbook Skool. I really like the effect of the bleeding sepia ink and have been using it quite a lot lately.

I got that sepia Staedtler and a couple of sable travel brushes Avenue des Arts, an art store in Montreal I have been planning to visit for some time. It surpassed my expectations–they had everything I wanted and had trouble finding — and amazingly helpful staff. This is an independent art store, not part of a chain, and you could sense the knowledge and love of creativity in the people there.ave des artsAcross the street were some typical Montreal houses, each one more vibrant than its neighbour. I was sorry I didn’t have the time to sketch them.montreal street


a few more sketches from québec

One of our favourite places on the trip was L’Anse St. Jean on the Saguenay River. We stayed in a b&b at the end of the road and from our window we could see the sailboats and kayaks out on the fjord. I sat on the verandah one morning to sketch this, trying to capture the deep blue of the fjord and the wall of green rising up from it. The bright red roof of the yacht club was irresistible and I think I went a little overboard on the colour!  l'anse st jean

We also stayed a couple of days in Jonquière and one morning as we were waiting, I sketched this view of  the church from the window of the library. Below that is a pastel sketch from the museum in Jonquière which houses much of the material from the Price Brothers Pulp and Paper Company.  I found the pastel sketches of the workers in the pulp and paper industry, done over a period of years by Kathleen Shackleton and Francesco Iacurto, absolutely haunting. Kathleen Shackleton is the sister of the antarctic explorer, Ernest Shackleton, and also produced paintings for the Hudson’s Bay Company. Amazing to think of her travelling in the 1930′s through the northern lumber camps and outposts with her paints. She seems to have been an intelligent and independent woman whose criticisms of the residential schools for native children got her in trouble with the press and her employers. Read more here.jonquiere church

price bros pastel

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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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